The Atascocita Eagles are making school history once again. The Eagles advanced to their second straight regional finals by squeaking out a one-point win over the Texans of Lamar Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.
In the first half, the two teams duked it out in a defensive stronghold, but it was Atascocita who struck first. The Eagles opened scoring with a 58-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daveon Boyd to Alerick Soularie. In an attempt to counter the Eagles touchdown and even the score at seven, Lamar running back Ta’Zhawn Henry broke open a huge run, a run that looked promising for Texan fans. However, Atascocita junior linebacker Alex Morris caught Henry near the goal line and knocked the ball into the back of the end zone. Morris’ strip gave Atascocita a touchback, giving them the ball at their own 25-yard line and preventing Lamar from scoring.
Unfortunately, the Eagles were not able to capitalize on the turnover as Lamar took over with great field position. Quarterback Owen Holt lead Lamar down the field and into field goal range, but the Eagles defense stepped up big once again. An Atascocita lineman broke through the line and got a hand on the ball, disrupting the kick and knocking it into the backfield where the Eagles recovered.
The two offenses exchanged multiple drives in the second quarter, but both seemed to come up empty. The two sides seemed to be caught in a stalemate before Al'Vonte Woodard’s 10-yard touchdown reception from Owen Holt. Ten ticks of the clock remained on the board at the time of the score, but the teams entered their respective locker rooms at half with the game knotted at seven all.
Lamar came out of the gate firing on all cylinders in the second half, scoring 14 unanswered points on a 2-yard run from Henry and a 38-yard reception from Holt to Denzel Davis. Atascocita did not go down without a fight however. Twenty seconds after Davis’ score for Lamar, Boyd connected with Atascocita senior Lujuan Winningham for a 74-yard touchdown to bring the Eagles within seven.
The Texans responded to Winningham’s big reception as Henry found the end zone for the second time, a missed PAT putting Lamar up 13, 27-14. With 10 minutes remaining in the ball game, Atascocita knew that it had no chance to slip up, the Eagles had to play perfectly from that moment on. They did just that.
After marching down field in less than three minutes, it was running back Decarlos Demmeritte who found the end zone for the Eagles, bringing them within six with David Heaton’s successful point after. Lamar had seven minutes of clock to burn before advancing to the Region IV Finals, clinging to a six-point lead.
However, with three and a half minutes to go, disaster struck Lamar. Morris, the Atascocita linebacker who managed to force a touchdown saving fumble in the first half, picked off Owen Holt. Morris got a few big blocks from teammates and the junior took the interception to the house for a 46-yard pick six.
As Heaton’s kick sailed through the upright, the Atascocita faithful cheered and screamed in excitement as their Eagles had just taken its first lead since 7-0. Shock and disbelief showed on the faces of the Lamar faithful fans. With three minutes remaining, the score was 28-27; it would not change.
For the second consecutive year, the Atascocita Eagles advance to the regional final, marking the furthest a team from ‘The A’ has ever gone in the football state playoffs. The Region III Finals will consist of two teams from District 21-6A as North Shore punched its ticket in with a 20-17 win over Katy.
The two teams met previously in the year, a match-up in which the Mustangs took, 31-21. The rematch is slated for 7 p.m. kick-off at NRG Stadium on Friday, Dec. 2.