Navarro QB Parker McNeil threw for 476 yards and four touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker 45-44 to Trinity Valley in their regular season finale Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
The Dawgs were driving in the final minutes, but McNeil was hit and fumbled the ball away on a second-and-eight play at the TVCC 13-yard line with 1:56 left in the game.
McNeil completed 31-of-56 passes for 476 yards as the Bulldogs produced 528 yards of offense in the loss that saw the two teams combine for 1,056 offensive yards and a combined 89 points.
TVCC's Nate Davis ran for a 38-yard TD with 5:11 left to knot the score at 44, and Eddie Godina nailed the PAT to give the Cardinals (5-2 in the conference) their final lead of the game.
The Bulldogs, who finished 3-4 in the conference, had to wait for all the results from Saturday's games to find out if they made the playoffs. It's a logjam in the eight-team Southwest Junior College Football Conference, where the top four teams advance to next week's playoffs.
Kilgore (6-1) beat Tyler (3-4)
NEO (3-4) beat Cisco (3-4)
New Mexico Military (3-4) scored with 19 seconds left to beat Blinn (2-5)
Five teams, including Navarro, finished with 3-4 records in the conference behind Kilgore (6-1) and TVCC (5-2), and coaches were scheduled to meet Sunday to decide which two teams in the pack advance to the playoffs.
McNeil went to halftime with 238 yards in the air and touchdown passes to Troy Edwards (16 yards) and Shaheed Ahmed (31), but TVCC led 24-17 at the break.
Navarro took over the game in the third quarter, scoring 20 points in a span of six minutes and 23 seconds and took a 37-24 lead with 4:35 left in the third when McNeil connected with Ahmed for a 25-yard TD pass.
Will McDaniel started the 20-point run with a pair of field goals (27 and 31) to close the gap to 24-23 and Tray Bishop gave the Bulldogs a 30-24 lead when he returned his third interception of the year 45 yards for a touchdown before McNeil's TD pass to Ahmed lifted the Dawgs to their biggest lead of the game.
TVCC entered the fourth trailing 37-31, and then McNeil answered with his longest play of the day -- a 70-yard TD pass to Tru Edwards for a 44-31 lead with 13:16 left.
But TVCC quarterback Jeremy Hunt, who threw for 259 yards, hit Keonta Flakpui with a five-yard TD pass to close the gap to six points at 44-38 with 11:30 left in the game.
It appeared Navarro got a huge break when TVCC muffed a punt and the Bulldogs recovered the ball with a little under eight minutes left, but a late flag on Navarro for an illegal formation wiped out the turnover and after the Dawgs punted again, the Cardinals drove 80 yards in six plays and scored on Davis' 38-yard run to retake the lead at 45-44.
Navarro, which started the season at 0-3, including an 0-2 record in the conference, had to come back all year, and staged one final comeback drive that just fell short on an unfortunate fumble.