Corsicana — Editor's note: Two albums of photos from the game are available on the Daily Sun Sports Facebook page.
WACO — Former Mildred coach Patrick Harvell stood in the middle of the field at Floyd Casey Stadium late Saturday night and shouted to the heavens, “The streak is over! The streak is over!”
Indeed, it was.
On a night full of prayers and power plays and a game full of pancakes, pats-on-the-back and one weird, crazy injury, the Blue team beat the Red team, 35-21, in the fifth annual Super Centex Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl.
There was reason to celebrate.
The Red team had won the first four games and Harvell, who left Mildred after taking the Eagles to the state title game last fall, was happy for his kids. He said last week the Blue team was out to beat the streak — and his kids did just that.
“We made history,’’ said Corsicana defensive lineman D’Eriq Jordan, who started for the Blue team and made six tackles, including a big play early. “We talked about it this week, and talked about winning the game and making history. That’s what we were here for. And we did. When we first got here we didn’t talk to each other, but during the week we came together and we really got to know each other. We’re like brothers now. We came together and we wanted to win this game and make some history.’’
Jordan got the Blue team going early. On the Red team’s first offensive play from scrimmage, Belton quarterback Peter Shelburne hit Hico’s Colton Stegall with a quick screen pass. But Jordan was right there and slammed into Stegall and threw him for a three-yard loss.
The tone was set.
“It really felt great to open up the game with that play,’’ Jordan said. “It got the whole defense into it.’’
It was a see-saw game for a while but Corsicana’s Bobby Wallace scored the touchdown that broke up a one-point game and seemed to lift the Blue team for the rest of the night when he caught a fade route in the right corner of the end zone for a 27-yard TD just before halftime to lift the Blue team to a 21-13 lead.
Wallace was so excited he went leaping in the air in celebration and suffered a knee injury on the way down.
“I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t mean it,’’ said Lorena receiver Cooper Cox who hit Wallace in the celebration. “He jumps so much higher than me so instead of hitting him in the chest, I hit him in the knee. I didn’t mean it.’’
Cooper later caught a 28-yard TD pass from Robinson’s Carson Erp to give the Blue team a 35-13 lead with 6:12 left in the game.
Wallace spent the rest of the night on the sidelines.
He might have been the game’s MVP if he had played in the second half. He caught two passes for 50 yards in the second quarter and led all receivers in yardage. His TD catch was a thing of beauty, and helped him get through the game.
“I’ve got some pain,’’ Wallace said on the sideline. “And I can barely walk. But I got the touchdown. I’ve got nothing to worry about.’’
Jordan said watching his teammate Wallace make the TD catch felt like being back at home in Corsicana.
“It’s just natural to look up and see him make a touchdown catch,’’ Jordan said. “That’s what he does.’’
Wallace, who caught 11 touchdown passes for the Tigers last fall, was surprised when the coaches told him he would be a receiver.
“I thought I would be playing defense in the secondary,’’ said Wallace, who played both ways for the Tigers. “I was really surprised when one of the coaches told me I was one of the best receivers they had.’’
Wallace was just happy to get to play.
“I have to thank my Mama for getting me to this game,’’ he said. “I owe it to her. She’s my No. 1 fan. Everything I do on the field is for her.’’
For the record, that touchdown catch was dedicated to Wallace’s mother, Ree Thomas.
Wallace wasn’t the only kid who was surprised to be playing a different position.
Frost’s Danial Steels, who gained 1,878 yards and was the Daily Sun’s Golden Circle Mike Montfort Offensive MVP of the Year, didn’t carry the ball. Steels played cornerback for the Red team and also played on special teams.
“I was a little disappointed,’’ Steels said. “I was expecting to play running back, but when I got here they told me I would be playing on defense. As long as I’m doing my job I’m happy to be here. It was a great experience, getting to know everybody and playing with kids you played against. It was a great week.’’
Steels had a solid game and no one completed a pass in his area all night.
It was a big night for Mildred.
Mildred’s Noah Pennell had a monster night on the offensive line, where he had at least five pancake blocks and seemed to lead the way for LaVega running back Randy Gober every time they were on the field together. He not only blocked well all night, but was part of a big blocking scheme on Gober’s 2-yard TD run with 4:51 left in the third quarter that gave the Blue team a commanding, 28-13, lead. Gober gained 81 yards on 13 carries and Gober joked after the game about buying a meal for Pennell.
“I could take him to I-Hop for some pancakes,’’ Gober said. “He’s a pretty big guy. I bet he could eat a lot of pancakes.’’
Pennell, who was soaked in perspiration after the game, laughed about the pancakes.
“I was just doing my job. That’s all I need to be happy. I don’t want any glory, I’m a lineman,’’ Pennell said. “I just need food. I could eat a lot of pancakes right now.’’
Harvell joked about Pennell, who is one of those kids who just gives it everything he has and then some.
“Noah Pennell is always the key in any game he plays,’’ Harvell said.’’
Pennell was one of the loudest cheerleaders on the sideline, shouting and barking when he wasn’t in the game. The kids played two quarters each.
Pennell’s teammate Jeremy Ballard made the most of his time on the field, making several big tackles, including two plays inside the 10-yard line to keep the Red team out of the end zone and force a field goal in the second quarter. He made a big stop on second down and the 9-yard line and then shut own a screen play on third down, throwing the Red team for a two-yard loss on the play.
Instead of the Red team reaching the end zone and taking the lead, Ballard helped force Gatesville’s Sebastian Corrales to kick his second field goal of the game, which left the Blue team leading 14-13 with 3:02 left in the half.
Ballard also came up with a huge tackle on a kickoff return that might have saved a touchdown. The play came right after Wallace’s TD had given the Blue team a 21-13 lead. Bremond’s Corey Bienski took the kickoff and was headed for daylight down the right sideline before Ballard closed in on him and made the big hit stopping Bienski’s 46-yard kickoff return.
“I saw him cut back and thought for a minute he might go all the way,’’ Ballard said. “But then I saw my teammates kind of slow him down and I took the angle and made the play. It felt great to make the play. It was a great experience all week, and we ended the streak.’’
There were nine players from the Golden Circle area in the game and everyone took something from the game and the time together.
“It was a great religious experience the whole week,’’ said Hubbard’s Kez Williams, who played nose guard for the Red team and was in on several plays and forced a couple of hurries on the quarterback.
“It was great playing as a team,’’ he said. “It was a different from playing in 1A. There were a lot of people my size and my strength and it helped me play better and get me ready for college.’’
One of the leaders of the Blue defense was Kerens Michael Kline, a Golden Circle first-team linebacker who made 130 tackles including 16 for losses last fall. Kline played defensive end and had a solid game.
Blooming Grove quarterback Jayd Kirby, who threw for 1,414 yards and ran for 1,577 yards to earn first-team All-Golden Circle honors last fall, didn’t get to run or throw. He played in the Blue team’s secondary all night.
“I really didn’t know where I would play until I got here,’’ said Kirby, who made four tackles. “It was a great week, getting to come here and be in this game. The best part was coming here to hear about God. The religious part is what made the week great. I was really happy to be able to play in this game. I was really looking forward to it since the moment I heard about it.’’
Wortham’s Chris Lee, who played linebacker for the Red team and was in on five tackles, felt the same way.
“The game was a lot of fun,’’ he said. The best part was hearing about God and Christ and the pep rally where a lot of kids and coaches were saved. It was really a great week.’’
There were kids from the Golden Circle all over the field, including two cheerleaders — Hubbard’s Maggie McGee, who cheered for the Red team, and Kerens’ Brittany McClure, who cheered for the Blue team.
In the end, the Blues ended the streak and picked up both MVP award. Mexia’s running back Broderick Reeves was the Offensive MVP and Waco High defensive back Adrian Norwood won the Defensive MVP award.
“It was an awesome experience,’’ Harvell said. “This whole week has just been great. Just to hear so many of these kids speak this week about God and Jesus. It’s been a great week. The kids on the Blue team really got along well, and they did a great job. And the streak is over...