STORY BY BOB WRIGHT
CONROE – The A&M Consolidated Tigers, trailing by 10 early in the third quarter, roared back with some offensive fireworks in the second half while holding down a big comeback try by the Kingwood Mustangs of Humble to punch a ticket to next week’s Area matchup Friday night at 7:30 with the Westlake Chaparrals in Floyd Casey Stadium at Waco.
That trip is a result of last night’s Bi-District see-saw thriller in which the Tigers emerged victorious 55-45 at Conroe’s Buddy Moorhead Stadium.
The win pushed the A&M Consolidated record to 8-2, while Kingwood finished its season with a 7-4 record. The Mustangs galloped to a 5-3 mark in District 13-5A, while the Tigers have a 5-1 record in District 14-5A, losing only to The Woodlands.
For Coach David Raffield, in his third season with Consol, the matchup with Westlake could afford a big opportunity for his Tigers to get some revenge for a lopsided defeat by Westlake in the playoffs a year ago.
The Mustangs of Coach Barry Campbell, in his second season as head coach, came out with a game plan to neutralize the high-octane offense of Consol. The method was simple – play ball control to keep the Consol scoring machine off the field. The strategy seemed to work when the Mustangs, not known as a passing team, lofted 30 passes and completed 19. Also, the ‘Staing ground game worked pretty well behind quarterback Logan Clift and running backs Rex Langley and Isaiah Shepherd.
However, while the Tiger defense bent, the old cliché of “bending but never breaking,” held sway for Consolidated which made some key stops, particularly in the second half when the Mustangs appeared on their way to more time-consuming drives.
If the Tiger “D” was growing a bit tired, make no mistake about it- the second wind was about to kick in while the Tiger offense exploded just enough to secure the victory. In the first half, Kingwood had 320 yards while owning the ball for 16:59 of the first half. Conversely, Consol had the ball 7:01 while getting 224 yards of total offense in the first two periods. For the game, the Tigers had 17:41 in time of possession, while Kingwood owned it 30:19. Both clubs ended with identical offensive yards – 549.
Consol had 26 first downs, while Kingwood had 25. Quarterback Coby Miller of the Tigers triggered 32 passes, completed 24 and had one picked, by Ethan Powell. Reggie Davis intercepted one for the Tigers. Those were the only turnovers of Friday night.
Miller threw for five touchdowns, including three to Kerry Thomas, who continues to make beautiful catches, then uses his speed and wide receiver prowess to convert into points. Other scoring tosses found their way to Derrick Dick and Brandon Jackson. The latter also had three scoring runs, of 21, 11 and 22 yards. Daniel Zivney also had a scoring run, for 49 yards, as he tightroped down the north sideline.
After Nathan Walker put Kingwood in a first-quarter lead with a 26-yard field goal, the Tigers roared back to score on their second, third and fourth possessions to establish early command. Consol took its first lead in the first quarter on a 22-yard pass from Miller to Kerry Thomas with 2:51 remaining, ending a 63-yard drive in eight plays. Ryan Anderson booted the extra point for a 7-3 lead.
Brandon Jackson scooted for 11 yards to score, 38 seconds deep into the second quarter as the Tigers stretched the lead to 14-3. Anderson kicked the extra point.
With 7:01 to go in the opening period, Kingwood cut into the lead when Logan Clift passed seven yards to Ryan Dempster. Walker kicked the extra point; 14-10.
On Consol’s fourth possession, Kobe Miller made a great fake to Tyri Merchant, then kept for an 18-yard gainer to up Brandon Jackson’s second rushing TD, a 21-yard run with 5:42 to go in the half. Anderson’s kick made it 21-10.
Clift’s passed to Zach Carter for a Kingwood score in the second period at the 2:58 mark. It culminated a 75-yard drive in 10 plays. Walker’s kick brought the Mustangs to within 21-17 of Consol.
Kingwood took a halftime lead with 38 seconds left when Sewo Olonilua went in from the six. Walker’s kick made it 24-21, Mustangs.
Kingwood took a 31-21 lead with 7:53 left in the third period when Isaiah Shepherd zipped up the middle for score. That wrote finish to a 75-yard drive in eight plays.
Zivney then had that 49-yard run to start the Consol comeback with 6:04 remaining in the third quarter. Anderson’s kick left it at 31-28, Kingwood. It had been a six-play, 79-yard drive.
Subsequent scores by Consol included Derrick Dick’s 60 yard dash after catching a pass from Miller. That came on a four-play, 74-yard drive. Another touchdown came on a 35-yard aerial from Miller to Brandon Jackson which completed a four-play, 35-yard march with 1:04 to go in the third period. Anderson kicked the point. The score had been set up with the Reggie Davis interception with 2:18 to go in the third period. The touchdown had put Consol ahead 41-31.
Kingwood wouldn’t go quietly with some comeback genes in their makeup. The ‘Staings pulled to within 41-38 when Logan Clift hit Rex Langley for 14 yards and Walker booted the point. The score came with aq 75-yard march in five plays.
Consol had scored when Brandon Jackson exploded up the middle, writing finish to a 75-yard drive in seven plays with 8:30 to go in the game. Anderson’s kick put the lead at 48-38.
On Consol’s next drive, the Tigers pretty much had the upper hand. A horse-collar tackle on Derrick Dick pushed the Tigers 15 yards closer to scoring. Jackson ripped off seven yards, then nine more to the 18 before Dick’s run got it to the three. QB Kobe Miller kept for a three-yard run up the middle, pushing the lead to 54-38 with 3:23 to go. That meant Consol had scored on five possessions in the second half. Anderson’s kick made it 55-38. The scoring drive needed seven plays to cover 66 yards.
Kingwood had one last scoring gasp, which brought the final score to 55-45, after a 69-yard drive in only three plays. The touchdown, which came as time expired, was a pass play from Clift to Langley. The kick was made by Walker.