Lone Star Gridiron

Allen Wins Class 5A DI Championship in Front of Record Crowd

Texas high school football championship playoffs

Allen Wins Texas high school football Class 5A Division I State Championship

The 3-day, 9-game UIL Texas State Championship marathon was brought to a close by the grand finale in the Class 5A DI State Championship Game between the Allen Eagles (14-1) and Houston Lamar Redskins (15-0). The match-up brought together two opposing fan bases from two major Texas areas for the 2nd consecutive game. In fact, the 48,379 people that were in attendance for the game was good enough for number 2 on the all-time attendance list, falling just short by roughly 1,600 people. Those on hand were lucky enough to see a great game filled with many spectacular performances. For Allen, the game was their second trip to the title game (won the championship in 2008), and Lamar its third trip (most recently won the 1953 championship). However, the Dallas-Houston rivalry in this game had had the stakes turned up a little higher. Lamar was playing for the pride of Houston, as no Houston ISD school has won a state championship for 27 years.

Houston’s bid for a sweep over Dallas in the two 5A State Championship games fell short however, as Allen’s 35-21 victory over Lamar allowed the regions to split bragging rights. Allen fell behind early in the first after a special teams miscue, continuing a trend that kept resurfacing throughout the last 3 days of botched snaps on punt attempts backed up in the team’s own end zone. A high snap soared over the Allen punter’s head and straight out the back of the end zone for a Lamar safety, as the Redskins took a 2-0 freebie with only 52 seconds burned off the clock. At that moment, fans had to have thought “Oh no… here we go again!” as the special teams blunders committed by teams in the previous 8 title games proved to be fatal to their championship hopes.  Allen did reverse that one trend.

UIL Offensive Player of the Game Kyler Murray showed off his speed and athleticism on two long runs late in the 1st quarter; first on a 55-yard TD with 3:50 left then adding another just 19 seconds before the 2nd quarter, this time from 68 yards out. When watching him run, it’s easy to forget that the sophomore quarterback for the Eagles only turned 15 years old just a few weeks ago. Murray, son of a former standout Texas A&M football player, showed maturity beyond his years all season long after replacing Senior Oliver Pierce at QB.  The fifteen year-old grew up a little with each game, and it finally culminated in a state championship for Allen as he finished 7 out of 16 for 49 yards, 1 TD passing and 143 yards on 16 carries and 2 TD’s on the ground.

The offensive performance was not a one-man show, however.  Allen running back Marcus Ward, having to carry a heavier load due to an injury to the starting running back, played a clutch role in the game’s outcome bycarrying the ball 16 times for 117 yards and 2 TD’s.  His touchdown runs included a 1 yard plunge with 26 seconds left in the 3rd quarter to break a 21-21 tie, and a 67 yard dash to the end zone that sealed the title with 6 minutes to play in the game.

Oliver Pierce, the man Murray replaced at quarterback earlier in the season, was also not left out of the important contributions. The “jack-of-all-trades” Pierce, who saw time at running back, receiver, and kick returner, made a crucial play.  After, the Redskins had fought back to tie the game 21 a piece on a 18 yard pass from QB Darrell Colbert with 2:04 remaining in the 3rd, Pierce returned the ensuing kickoff to the 15 yard line, just needing to outrun the reaches of one man to take it the entire distance. This set up Ward’s go-ahead touchdown a couple plays later.  The UIL Defensive Player of the Game was awarded to DB Cameron Hartsfield of Allen for scooping up a Lamar fumble and returning it 56 yards to set up an Allen passing TD that extended the lead to 21-8 late in the 2nd quarter.

Darrell Colbert, the Redskin’s quarterback, played an excellent game full of heart and guts. Colbert left it all on the field, took blow after blow, and fought through the excruciating pain in order to give his team and city a chance at a state title.  Unfortunately, after an injury timeout was called to treat Colbert, he was forced to sit out the 4th and goal play late in the 4th quarter. His replacement scrambled and fell just short of the goal line, turning over the ball to Allen on what was Lamar’s last offensive play.  Darrell Colbert’s performance concluded with 15 of 33 passing for 207 yards and 2 TD’s, and 126 yards and 1 TD on 19 rushes.

Allen completed a season in which they opened up a national headline making 59.6 million dollar stadium, disregarding the possible distraction, with a state championship, defeating area powers Southlake Carroll, Cedar Hill (2012 Class 5A DII Runner Up), Mesquite, Dallas Skyline, and Desoto along the way. It is worth noting that the Eagle’s supposed “state of the art” facility is now out of date; the 2008 State Champions sign will now have to have a “2012” added to it.  Though the crowd on hand to experience this might not have been good enough for the all time attendance record, the number was the largest amount of fans to ever watch a high school game at Cowboys Stadium. What a way to cap off the 2012 season and UIL Texas High School Football State Championships.

By Taylor Brasher
LSG Intern
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