By: Tim Glaze
It certainly wasnâ€™t pretty, but Lake Dallas clinched the 6-5A title Thursday [November 6, 2014] with a 45-36 win over Dunbar at Clark Stadium.
The Wildcats scored 29 unanswered points in the second half to pull within two points of the Falcons before junior running back Courtenay Holder drove the ball down the field for a clock-eating, fourth-quarter touchdown drive, giving Lake Dallas their final nine-point cushion.
The Falcons (9-1, 6-0) will be the top seed in the Class 5A Division II playoffs and play Wichita Falls Friday [November 14, 2014] at Springtown. Dunbar, the second place Division II team from 6-5A, will travel to Saginaw Chisholm Trail to face the Azle Hornets.
After winning their first five district games by an average margin of victory of 32 points, Lake Dallas found themselves in unfamiliar territory with six minutes remaining in its game against the Wildcats.
Leading 38-28 and facing a fourth down from its own 20, punter Ben Williamson had the ball snapped over his head and into the Lake Dallas end zone. Williamson picked the ball up and attempted to run it out, but was tackled at the 2 yard line, giving the Wildcats the ball at the spot.
Two plays later, Dunbar sophomore quarterback Nakkia Cox found Elijah McCutheon in the back of the same end zone for a touchdown, and one two-point conversion later, Dunbar trailed by two points.
But the Falcons didnâ€™t blink.
With four minutes remaining, Lake Dallas lined up at its own 20-yard line and marched 80 yards behind runs by Holder and Josiah Tauaefa â€“ the latter scoring a 25-yard touchdown â€“ to push their lead to nine with just over one minute remaining.
What ended up as a nail-biting contest was anything but in the first two and a half quarters, as sloppy play overshadowed the impressive numbers but up by Holder, Cox, Falcon receiver Keegan Brewer and junior Dunbar running back Devonte Kinney.
The two teams combined for 17 penalties â€“ 11 of those by Dunbar for 113 yards, including an important personal foul by senior running back Taylor Martin in the second quarter.
Martin, a verbal commit to Kansas, got tangled up with Falcon defensive back Robert Jackson after a play, and the Wildcat shoved Jackson in the facemask. The act drew a flag from the officials and an automatic ejection.
Kinney filled in nicely, however: 14 rushes for 118 yards, two rushing touchdowns, and a touchdown catch of 46 yards in the fourth quarter.
Brewer scored two touchdowns and had an interception, and junior quarterback Dagan Haehn was 13-for-23 for 227 yards. Cox threw for only 65 yards, but ran for 118 yards.