Oh so close.
That’s the way it looked.
That’s the way it felt when the ball just got past Danair Martin in the left corner of the end zone, skipping past his fingertips.
It was there and then it wasn’t. The pass was just that close.
Just like this season seems to be for Corsicana’s near miss Tigers, who just missed again Friday night in a 48-41 loss to Nacogdoches, which has emerged as one of the biggest surprises in all of Class 4A football in Texas.
The Tigers almost emerged Friday.
They climbed out of a 21-0 hole, knotted things at 21-21, and then had to come back again when Nacogdoches went up 34-21.
No problem. Corsicana can score with just about anyone and wouldn’t you know it, the Tigers tied it again at 41-41 with 8:24 left in the game when Donavan Fields ran for his fourth touchdown of the night, a 25-yarder that had the homecoming crowd on its feet.
But the Dragons, who came back from an 0-10 season a year ago to shock all of high school football with a 6-1 start, had one more drive in them.
And when Corsicana shoved them back to the Nacogdoches 34 and a third-and-18 play, quarterback Bryce Matthews, who ran for four TDs and threw three touchdown passes, hit Tae Thomas over he middle for a 25-yard gain to keep the drive alive. It ended with a 9-yard TD pass from Matthews to Thomas that lifted Nacogdoches to a 48-41 lead with 5:43 left.
The Tigers stormed back one more time and drove to the Dragon 26, but on a fourth-and-12, Devontay Bell’s would-be touchdown pass to Martin in the left corner of the end zone was just a bit too long -- just out of Martin’s reach .
Bell had a remarkable game, running for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He gave Corsicana the spark it needed early in the second quarter when he took off for a 40-yard run to the Nacogdoches 19 to set up Fields’ first TD of the night, a 2-yard payday into the end zone with 10:20 left in the half that seemed to serve notice.
The Dragons (6-1 and now 2-0 in District 16-4A) scored three quick TDs in the first quarter to go up 21-0 and it looked like it might be a rout.
But Corsicana, even without its sensational tailback Tray Owens, who is out with an ankle injury, knows how to move the football. The Tigers have been moving the ball and scoring all season.
They kept moving on Friday. Bell raced for an 11-yard run and then Fields scored on a 13-yard dash to tie it at 21 with 1:26 left in the half.
But Matthews, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 155 yards in the first half, hit Red Watson for a 31-yarder and then found Watson for 11 more to the 5-yard line, and then carried the ball twice, scoring on a 1-yard run with 0:08 left in the half to break the tie.
The Tigers were less than a yard short on a fourth-and-1 play at the Dragon 27 on their first series in the second half, and Matthews answered with a 53-yard TD run. Cana came back again, driving 65 yards in 11 pays and closed to 34-27 on Fields’ 3-yard TD run. Matthews ran for a 10-yard touchdown and Bell answered with an 18-yard TD run of his own and the two teams went to the fourth with Nacogdoches hanging to a 41-34 lead.
It stayed that way until Fields scored with 8:24 left, but Matthews had an answer, and when Corsicana came back again, but the ball slipped just past Martin -- just that close.
Nacogdoches 48, Corsicana 41
Nacogdoches 21 0 20 7 48
Corsicana 0 21 13 7 41
N -- Bryce Matthews 1 run (Rudy Fuentes kick) 9:30
N -- Tae Thomas 9 pass from Matthews (Fuentes kick) 6:07
N -- Reed Watson 23 pass from Matthews (Fuentes kick) 1:36
C - Donavan Fields 2 run (Ryan Condley kick) 10:20
C -- Devontay Bell 11 run (Condley kick) 6:30
C -- Fields 13 run (Condley kick) 1:26
N -- Matthews 1 run (run fails) 0:08
N -- Matthews 53 run (Fuentes kick) 8:23
C-- Fields 12 run (run fails) 5:40
N -- Matthews 10 run (Fuentes kick) 2:26
C -- Fields 25 run (Condley kick) 8:24
N -- Thomas 9 pass from Matthews (Fuentes kick) 5:43
FD 23 24
Rushing-yards. 41-240 44-285
Passing-yards 202 152
C-A-I 15-25-0 13-23-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-average 4-23 3-36
Penalties-yards 5-50 3-35
Rushing -- N: Coronado Colbert 27-144, Bryce Matthews 10-82, Ronnie Roberts 4-15. C: Devontay Bell 26-190, Donavan Fields 18-95.
Passing: N: Matthews 15-25-202. C: Bell 13-23-152
Recieving: N: Reed Watson 5-85, L.J. Barnes 3-63, Tae Thomas 4-53, Sam Morgan 3-18. C: Ty Shefield 6-63, Hector Calvillo 3-61, Lakeem Christmas 1-15, Danair Martin 1-7.