Football: Angleton denies Friendswood a playoff spot, 35-20
ANGLETON - In a season of near-misses, it wasn’t overly shocking that Friendswood’s last hurrah in trying to reach the playoffs would fall painfully short.
Needing to defeat talented Angleton in its regular season finale Friday night to qualify for the playoffs, the Mustangs didn’t have the offensive arsenal or the defensive staying power in a 35-20 setback in a District 10-5A football game.
The loss denied Friendswood (6-4) of reaching the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season. After a 5-0 start, the Mustangs had difficulty in a talent-laden district. A win would have slotted Friendswood in fourth place.
Its 3-4 district record featured losses to the top four teams - Shadow Creek, Angleton, Foster and Fort Bend Hightower. Friendswood played all four opponents close, but couldn’t produce the goods when needed.
“You’ve got to play well and make big plays against those four good teams, and we just didn’t do that,” Mustang head coach Robert Koopmann said. “In this district, it’s a battle every snap. We’re really disappointed for the seniors.
“We (coaches) let them down. We didn’t do a great enough job coaching those guys. Our effort was awesome tonight. We were onside kicking at the end and recovering them. These kids just didn’t give up.”
Friendswood was never out of the game, but never within true striking distance.
The Wildcats (9-1, 6-1) led 7-0 at 2:06 of the first quarter when Angleton quarterback Seth Cosme connected with Jason Williams on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
One possession later, the Wildcats, the runners-up in District 10-5A, marched 65 yards for a touchdown, taking a 14-0 edge on Kendel Archie’s 1-yard run with 6:32 left in the second quarter.
Passes of 18 and 10 yards from Cosme to Williams, along with a 17-yard run by Cosme to the 1-yard line, were the key installments in the march.
That 14-0 lead also served as the halftime score.
Friendswood cut into the Angleton advantage on its first possession of the third quarter, marching just 32 yards for a touchdown after a 10-yard Wildcat punt into a stiff wind.
The drive began inauspiciously as Friendswood received three consecutive five-yard penalties to push it back to the 47 yard line.
From there, Mustang quarterback Luke Grden removed Friendswood from a deep hole by connecting with Dawson Johnson on a 43-yard strike to the four-yard line.
Another five-yard penalty, followed by a 7-yard run from Christian Lee, put the ball at the two, and from there, 6-foot, 3-inch, 300-pound Michael Gibson ran the ball in for the Mustangs’ first touchdown.
However, the PAT kick sailed wide, leaving the score at 14-6 with 7:50 left in the third period.
Friendswood, though, couldn’t stop Angleton on its next possession as the Wildcats moved 75 yards in eight plays in opening a 21-6 advantage at 3:06 of the third quarter.
Cosme again hooked up with Williams, this time on a 16-yard scoring strike.
Friendswood had an opportunity to make it a one-score game on its next possession, but on fourth-and-goal at the four-yard line, Grden’s pass to Austin Alvarez only netted two yards.
Angleton then delivered a stunning blow, a 98-yard touchdown drive which consumed just three minutes, 35 seconds.
Doing most of the damage on that drive was junior Jordan Jones, who carried five times for 85 yards, including the last six yards for the TD as the Wildcat bulge reached 28-6.
Friendswood responded with touchdown passes of 14 and 43 yards from Grden to Lee, the last time with 3:10 left to make it 35-20.
The Mustangs recovered a fumble and an onside kick in the closing minutes, but Angleton intercepted passes on Friendswood’s final two drives to end the Mustangs’ comeback bid.
“This game has kind of been the story of what we’ve ball all year - hit-and-miss on offense and going through droughts,” Koopmann said. “We have to be so precise on offense and go on these eight-, nine-, 12- and 13-play drives. Against a defense like Angleton’s, it’s really hard to do.
“I’m disappointed for the kids. These seniors worked their tails off for four years.”