STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
– COLLEGE STATION – It was a wounded Tiger early on Friday night at Tigerland.
A&M Consolidated suffered three interceptions and a fumble, which was returned for a touchdown, but overcame those turnovers against the Harker Heights Knights to push its record to 5-4 and 5-1 in District 12-5A.
Despite the turnovers in a game which also saw the first three extra-point kicks fail (two of the Harker Heights kicks were blocked by Consol, which missed one of its own), the Tigers clinched a playoff berth with the 30-23 overtime victory over the Knights.
That’s right! OT, and the Tigers excelled Friday night in that department, getting the ball first at the 25, scoring and then the Consolidated “D” played extremely tough while holding Harker Heights away from the goal on its lone opportunity from the 25.
Harker Heights dropped to 4-5 for the season, and 4-2 in the district race.
In the OT period, with the score knotted at 23-23, faced an illegal procedure call which pushed the Tigers back to the 30 before they could run a play. Not to worry. Jacob Bronowski, coming off a sore ankle and sustaining three earlier interceptions, produced a strike to Quinton White, who “out-quicked” the Heights secondary to the nine. On a third-and-goal, Bronowski hit wide receiver Justin Benden for the score. Dillon Moore, who earlier had hit an extra point and a field goal, booted true on this one to produce the final score of 30-23.
Much of the overtime drama took place when the Consol defense took over on the Knights’ possession. A lick on Rodriguez, the Heights QB, caused the ball to pop free, but the Knights recovered all the way back to the 38. Rodriguez led his team for a first down at the 15. The Consol “D” rose to the occasion when David Levias and Marshall Strain combined for a sack of the quarterback, followed by a delay penalty against the visitors. Then came an illegal procedure penalty against Harker Heights, moving the ball back to the 31 and bringing up fourth down with 26 needed for the first. Brad Haynes, on a run, was stopped at the 10, ending the game.
In addition to Strain and Levias, the Tiger defense proved too tough in the final analysis, with some key plays’ being made by Fredrick Goodman, J.J. Bynum and Christian LaCouture.
The Tigers racked up 22 first downs to 18 for Harker Heights, which did not have a turnover.
Consol scored on a Quinton White keeper, out of Wildcat formation. White faked to Darasis Nutall, then punctured the middle of the Knights’ defense from 15 yards out 44 seconds deep into the period. It completed an eight-play, 53-yard drive. Moore missed the extra point.
Rodriguez scored to tie it on a trick play after pitching to his running back, who threw it to his quarterback. Jake Harler’s first of two extra-point kicks was blocked.
Nashon Hughes, on the Tigers’ third interception, returned the pick 33 yards for a score, putting the Knights up 12-6. There were no extra points kicked in the first half, since Consol blocked the kick for the second time.
Harker Heights wasn’t through for the first half. Marcus Reo returned a Consol fumble 20 yards to make it 18-6 with 30 seconds remaining. Greg Haynes, holder for extra points, faked in the kicking setup, and pushed in for a two-point conversion, making the score 20-6 at halftime.
Consol began its comeback in the third quarter on an 18-yard run by Nutall after the Knights’ faked punt failed to produce a first on fourth-and-two at the 8:20 mark. Moore’s kick made it 20-13.
Moore nailed a 34-yard field goal with 4:53 to go in the quarter at the 4:53 mark, raising the score to 20-16.
Consol went ahead 22-20 on a one-yard run by Bronowski with 9:57 remaining in the game. Moore’s kick made it 23-20. The score was set up by a 12-yard punt by the Knights, giving Consol a fairly short field on which to work.
Harler tied it with a 37-yard field goal later in the period.
The 1991 team and its coaches, including head coach Ross Rogers, were introduced on field and honored for its State Championship run while in Class AAAA. That championship victory was produced in the Astrodome as Consol beat Carthage 35-16. The Tigers wore throwback jerseys in honor of that club.
Consolidated ends the regular season next Friday night with a road trip to face the Belton Tigers.