By Raymond Linex II
Corsicana Daily Sun
WHITE SETTLEMENT —
Billy Dan Chambliess didn’t hesitate Wednesday when pressed about the key to his team’s success in the playoffs. Eliminate the turnovers, he harked.
It was easier said than done.
Mildred had six turnovers and watched another team celebrate a first-round win for the first time since 2009 after Henrietta surprised the Eagles, 25-21, at Bear Stadium on the campus of Fort Worth Brewer High School.
Five minutes into the second quarter, Mildred led 21-6 and looked every part the team that had played 11 playoff games the previous three years. But it unraveled behind a myriad of penalties, mistakes and the legs of Henrietta quarterback Riley Watson, who had 241 yards of offense and two touchdown passes to virtually will the Bearcats to victory.
Jameson Dowell added four field goals as Henrietta (7-4) moves on to face the winner of Cooper and Whiteright.
Mildred ended its season 7-4, leaving Chambliess one win short of moving into second all-time in school history for wins by a coach in his first season.
Draylon Sterling had his best game since early in the season, rushing for 158 yards on 25 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run that put Mildred up, 7-0. It was the 93rd and final TD of his stellar four-year career. He topped the 1,000 yard mark in the first half.
Devin O’Sullivan kicked three extra points, giving him 269 in his state record-breaking career. He own the state’s PAT mark.
It was also the final game for a number of seniors who played big parts in the school’s greatest run on the football field.
Mikey Muncy played his finest down the stretch this year, and Friday he ran 10 times for 64 yards and a touchdown, and had six catches for 94 yards and another score. On Mildred’s two of Mildred’s final three drives, when they had a chance to go ahead in the final seven minutes each time, he carried seven times for 55 yards. One drive resulted in a turnover on downs, another a fumble at the goal line, and the last an interception inside the 20.
Three-year starting center Jasper Marshall and lineman Nic Stone bid adieu, and defensive end Joe Carrizales tacked on a few sacks on his final night.
The Eagles just couldn’t overcome the turnovers, or the 11 penalties for 95 yards.
Henrietta took its first lead, 22-21, with four minutes to go in the third on a 32-yard Dustin Calabrese touchdown pass. The Bearcats made it 25-21 a drive later on Dowell’s 28-yard field goal on drive aided by two 15-yard Mildred penalties.
The Eagles dominated the first half, but led only 21-13 at the break. Henrietta scored 10 points off Mildred’s two turnovers, and scored on a 25-yard Cody Fletcher touchdown catch with two seconds left. Henrietta lined up for a field goal before the play, but after a Mildred timeout, sent the offense back out.
The Eagles held the Bearcats to 96 yards, only 23 on the ground, and had 14 first downs to Henrietta’s seven. Two of the Bearcats’ first downs came on penalties.
Mildred looked like the team of old after the opening kickoff, one returned 41 yards by Muncy to the Henrietta 31. After a shot gain on first, Sterling went for 16 yards, then 11, then capped off a quick drive wih a 1-yard plunge to make it 7-0.
Henrietta kept it close on the right leg of Dowell, who booted 37- and 32-yard field goals – into the wind, the second of which came after a Mildred fumble. Will Burnham almost made a nifty play out of a busted play, getting flushed from the pocket and pitching back to Sterling. But Sterling couldn’t handle the pitch, and Henrietta’s Hayden West recovered at the Mildred 21.
Mildred put an impressive drive together to go up 14-6, fashioning an 11-play drive to go 52 yards. Russell Holden had a first down catch on third-and-7 on a ball he tipped, then had tipped back to him.
The Eagles overcame a hold, and Muncy made a brilliant catch turning away from his running direction for 15 yards on fourth-and-9.
On third-and-10 from the 23, Muncy made another great catch, making an adjustment while the ball was in the air to shed the defender for a touchdown.
Muncy added a 1-yard run from the wildcat formation later, capping a 10-play, 91-yard drive. It put the Eagles up 21-6 as Sterling carried four times for 47 yards on the drive, and Burnham carried four times for 28 yards.
Henrietta 25, Mildred 21
Mildred 7 14 0 0 — 21
Henrietta 6 7 9 3 — 25
M — Draylon Sterling 1 run (Devin O’Sullivan kick),10:52
H — Jameson Dowell 37 FG
H — Dowell 32 FG
M — Mikey Muncy 23 pass from Will Burnham (O’Sullivan kick), 11:29
M — Muncy 1 run (O’Sullivan kick), 7:06
H — Cody Fletcher 25 pass from Riley Watson (Dowell kick), :02
H — Dowell 23 FG, 7:30
H — Dustin Calabrese 32 pass from Watson (pass failed), 4:09
H — Dowell 28 FG, 10:28
First downs 23 17
Rush-yards 47-275 38-111
Passing yards 140 136
C-A-I 12-24-3 12-20-0
Fumbles-lost 3-3 2-1
Punts-avg. 1-37 5-38
Penalties-yards 11-95 6-35
Rushing — M: Draylon Sterling 25-158, Mikey Muncy 10-63, Will Burnham 10-57, Russell Holden 2-(-3). H: Hayden West 1-2, Riley Watson 22-105, Cody Fletcher 12-10, Dustin Calabrese 1-9, Team 3-(-15).
Passing — M: Burnham 12-24-3-140. H: Watson 12-19-0-136, Cody Fletcher 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — M: Muncy 6-94, Sterling 1-9, Holden 5-50. H: Conner Fletcher 3-47, Calabrese 4-45, Cody Fletcher 3-26, Tylor Brown 1-11, Myles Marcham 1-7.