ALEDO – Patrick Harvell doesn’t know how many kids he’ll have healthy Saturday morning. But he’ll need his trainer to do a yoeman’s effort.
The Eagles have another football game to play.
Mildred and Nocona went toe-to-toe, but the Eagles scored three of the game’s final four touchdowns after falling behind and limped out of Aledo with a 45-35 Region II-2A Division II championship.
The Eagles (12-1) were the walking wounded afterward, Harvell said.
“That was one helluva dog fight,” said Harvell, whose Eagles are in the Class 2A Division II semifinals for the second straight season. They will face Sonora, a 42-21 winner over Colorado City, at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Marble Falls, Harvell said.
“We’re beat up and bruised up,” he said, “but that’s what Texas high school playoff football is about. You’ve got to overcome adversity and overcome injuries.”
The Eagles faced their share of both.
Nocona (12-1), which had its best season in school history, came out of the gates and went 76 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead. It was the first time Mildred had trailed since a 70-22 loss Sept. 7 at Centerville.
Mildred wasted little time responded, scoring in two plays. Nic Shimonek, who threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns, hit Mikey Muncy for 51 yards on the Eagles’ first play. Draylon Sterling scored the first of two rushing touchdowns from 18 yards out on the next play.
Midway through the second, the Eagles took a 24-7 lead on a 38-yard Shimonek-to-Jonathan Harrison pass in which Harrison got behind the secondary. After averaging 351 yards on the ground and only 102 through the air in two playoff games, Mildred found the picking good through the passing game in the first 19 minutes.
Shimonek was 5 of 6 for 166 yards at that point.
“We noticed on film their two safeties were their leading tacklers,” Harvell said. “We knew they were aggressive on play action. The pass to Mikey and the pass to Jonathan were both off play-action. They bit, and we hit them over the top.”