Canadian Edges Coleman 21-19
Updated: November 28, 2016
photos: Michael Kerrigan
Wildcats Stay Alive Despite Challenge from Bluecats
History repeated itself in favor of the Canadian Wildcats as they met a very closely matched Coleman Bluecat team at Iowa Park’s Hawk Stadium Friday. The two teams met in the same playoff round in 2007 to see Canadian rally from behind to win with an almost identical 21-18 score. That season, in a move that would make the Texas UIL proud, Coleman fans showed up at Brownwood with their school flag to support Region 1 and the Canadian Wildcats playing Elysian Fields for their first ever State Championship.
The playoff teams in Region 1 this season in Class 3A DII probably offer more parity throughout with the exception of first round matchups. All across the Region 1 teams are playing at a high level not willing to give an inch. With some of the most competitive playoff football you can find in any class, it becomes apparent that survival comes at a premium. Even Canadian Head Coach Chris Koetting in a post-game interview stated “What was that saying of Jimmy Valvano’s, survive and advance?” Koetting continued, “That’s we did. It doesn’t matter how it looked, they just want to know did you win or did you lose? We survived one and I can’t say enough for our defense. They just battled. They just battled every snap.”
Koetting’s immediate reference to the Wildcat defense indicates the necessity to hold opposing offenses that have been successful against other good defenses. The prominent philosophy that ‘defenses win championships’ certainly comes to mind.
With the win of the coin toss Coleman chose to defer on Iowa Park’s East-West field, possibly causing some early headaches for Canadian heading West with the sun sometimes hindering receivers’ ability to find the ball. Wildcat QB Corbin Douthitt started the first drive with an incompletion intended for RB Chris Jones, followed by an interception by Bluecat DB Riley Harris of a pass intended for WR Cameron Copley. The troubling first drive INT began Coleman’s first drive on the Canadian 40 yard line. The advantage of having a short field eluded the Bluecats, however, and a 7-play drive was stopped on the Canadian 23 yard line with a failed fourth down conversion.
Canadian’s defense was rewarded for their effort by watching their fast paced offense drive 77 yards in 8-plays scoring on a 26 yard TD pass from Douthitt to WR Manny Ramsey with a leaping catch over Bluecat DB Darrian Hunter.
Both defenses went to work, Canadian forcing two three-and- outs, Coleman forcing one; when the Wildcats put together a 7-play drive that ended with a payback failed fourth down conversion. In two Canadian drives Coleman defensive linemen Trey Sartain and Walt Arnold knocked down three of Douthitt’s pass attempts.
The next Coleman drive proved that the Bluecats were “all-in” as the Canadian defense held to another apparent 3-and- out whenever the Bluecats pulled out a slick fake punt play with TE Jett Allen taking the long snap short, pitching to WR Terren Holloway finding a seam for the fourth down conversion. Nine plays later, one of the two O/D-linemen that were also assigned running chores, Trey Sartain scored from 4 yards out tying the game at 7-7.
The Wildcat’s next possession started on the Coleman 35 yard line setup by a 40 yard kickoff return by Cameron Copley. Six plays later from the 20 yard line, Douthitt’s pass to Ramsey on a jailbreak screen was batted down by Bluecat DL Trey Sartain, his third batted down pass of the first half. However, the next play Douthitt was able to hit Ramsey in the end zone on the post route. Douthitt’s PAT kick was good and Canadian would go in at the break leading 14-7.
As time was running out in the third quarter, Bryson Hammonds took his Bluecats offense on a 9-play scoring drive where he found an open Darrian Hunter in the end zone from the 11 yard line. When the Jett Allen PAT failed, it left Canadian still in the lead at 14-13. That proved to be a crucial point missed in the final minutes of the game.
The Wildcats just missed another possible score and handed Coleman a golden opportunity when RB Chris Jones rolled out and threw the halfback pass to a wide open Cameron Copley, who had separated himself from three Bluecat defenders. Jones’ pass didn’t have quite enough length to it and a leaping Bryson Hammonds collected the interception.
Canadian defense stiffened up yet again and forced two more 3-and- outs before driving down to the Bluecats 24 yard line looking at a third down and two. With their short yardage ‘jumbo’ packaged lined set to attack the line of scrimmage, the call went to RB Holton Hufstedler who slipped through Coleman pass rushers and received a Douthitt pass wide open in the flat. Hufstedler won the race to the end zone pylon and with Douthitt’s PAT the Wildcats went up 21-13.
With 5:36 left in the game, Coleman drove 70 yards in 11-plays ending with a TD pass from Hammonds to WR Terren Holloway to make the score 21-19. The missed extra-point would now force the Bluecats to go for the 2-point conversion for the tie with 1:38 on the clock. After taking two timeouts as Coleman studied the Canadian defensive sets, Hammonds rolled to his right, but was quickly turned back by Wildcat LB Cade Throgmorton. As Hammonds reversed his field, an alert DB Trae Dwyer-Krehbiel began his sprint to cut off Hammonds and prevent him from getting around the corner to the end zone pylon. Dwyer-Krehbiel met Hammonds at the 3 yard line forcing him out of bounds and the conversion failed.
The last chance for Coleman was executing an onside kick and gain possession for another opportunity to score with the 98 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately for the Bluecats, a member of the kickoff team inadvertently kicked the ball nine and one half yards from the kickoff and illegal touching was called, insuring the possession to Canadian. Douthitt took a knee from the victory formation three times to run out the clock end the game.
In a post-game interview, Bryson Hammonds reflected on the play to tie the game: “It was designed as a pass but I have the option to run, I like to have the game in my hands and take the blame. I didn’t want that on these other guys. I ran with it and tried to get there. Canadian played great defense. Those backside guys stopped me short and nothing else we could do about it. We practiced hard for this team and were really up for this. That was a great high school game.”
Trae Dwyer-Krehbiel was keying on the tight end and was ask how he reacted and made the tackle on Hammonds, “In the huddle we talked about whatever they were going to do we were going to find a way to stop them,” Dwyer-Krehbiel said. “I was all the way on the right. The quarterback came back my way and he was one of the best athletes we played against all year. I was watching him run and I just tried to take him out.”
The Wildcat defense will be tested by an explosive Bronco offense led by QB Kaden Cordell, RB Jarrett Jackson, and WR Liam Yourgalite, among others. The Canadian secondary will be preparing for a serious spread ’em out air raid offensive attack.
The game is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. Friday, at Lowery Field in Lubbock. The Sonora Broncos will be the home team, the Canadian Wildcats taking the visitor side.
by Jerry Brunson
Lone Star Gridiron
|1st Q||2nd Q||3rd Q||4th Q||Final|
Can – Manny Ramsey 26 pass from Corbin Douthitt (Douthitt PAT) 3:41, Q1
Col – Trey Sartain 4 run (Jett Allen PAT) 3:25, Q2
Can – Ramsey 20 pass from Douthitt (Douthitt PAT) 1:56, Q2
Col – Darrian Hunter 11 pass from Bryson Hammonds (Jett Allen PAT failed) 0:55, Q3
Can – Holton Hufstedler 24 pass from Douthitt (Douthitt PAT) 5:36, Q4
Col – Terren Holloway 11 pass from Hammonds (Hammonds run failed) 1:38, Q4
|14-23-2||C - A - I||6-15-1|