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Navasota Wins 4A Division I Championship In Double OT

The Navasota Rattlers beat the Argyle Eagles 42-35 in double overtime in the Class 4A Division I Championship game at Arlington Texas. This was Navasota's 2nd championship win after winning the 2012 title. They also played in the 1988 game. Argyle falls to 1-3 in championship games. The won in 2013 and lost in the 2005 & 2011 games.

Navasota started the game off fast with 2 touchdowns. Rattler quarterback Shelton Eppler first threw a touchdown pass to receiver Tren'Davian Dickson. That touchdown pass tied Eppler for the all-time record with his 68th touchdown pass on the season. Eppler ran it in from 1 yard out for the second touchdown. After that, it was all Argyle and their running back Nick Ralston. Ralston ran for two touchdowns and the score was tied 14-14 when we went into halftime. At half, Ralston had 22 carries for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eppler had 272 yards passing and the 1 touchdown. Rattler receivers Sammy Blair and Dickson combined for 9 catches and 184 yards.

The Rattlers scored first in the 3rd quarter when Eppler hit Dickson from 26 yards out. The touchdown pass broke the state record for touchdown passes in a season. Argyle then handed the ball to Ralston again but they were forced to try a field goal at the Rattler 3 yard line. The try was a fake and Argyle scored to tie the game up at 21. Argyle was able to recover a Rattler fumble and turn that into a score on a 4th down play to take a 28-21 lead.

The Eagles kept giving the ball to Ralston trying to run out the clock. The Rattlers were able to stop Ralston on 4th down with 5:36 left in the game. They moved into Eagle territory but Eppler was stopped 1 yard short on a scramble on 4th down with 3:13 remaining. Argyle tried to pass on 3rd down to make a first but the Rattler intercepted at the Argyle 37 with 1:39 left. Eppler then tied it all up with a 1 yard run with 59 seconds left.

In the first overtime, Ralston scored for Argyle and Eppler threw another touchdown pass to Dickson to force a second overtime. In the second overtime, Eppler found Dickson for the 4th time of the day in the end zone. Argyle took over and was forced into a 4th and 5 situation where Ralston was stopped short giving the Rattlers the championship.  When asked how he justified Nick Ralston's 54 carries and Argyle Head Coach Todd Rodgers replied, "When you have a good racehorse, you ride him to the very end."

Argyle linebacker Taylor Sweatt was awarded the Defensive Player Of The Game. Sweatt had 6 tackles and 4 sacks. Navasota's Dickson was the Offensive Player Of The Game. He finished with 12 catches for 177 yards and 4 touchdowns. Eagle running back Ralston finished with 54 carries for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rattler quarterback Eppler finished the night with 30 completions on 54 attempts for 493 yards and 4 touchdowns. Attendance for the game was 20,853.

This was one of those games that neither deserved to lose.  Argyle's coach Rodgers summarized the game like this, "I'm very proud of the kids, it has been an amazing season.  It's good stuff"

Navasota Head Coach Lee Fedora talked about the overtime situation and how the Rattler's prepaid for this all season, "We practiced OT for 15 weeks so it wouldn't be a surprise to us.  We knew it was going to be a game like this.  Let me tell you - they are a very well coached team.  We knew it was going to be a dogfight to the end. "

Navasota's offense has been a media focus all season, but Fedora stated, "Offense can win games but defense can win championships and that's what happened tonight."

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