December 14, 2018
Malakoff 23, Brock 21
Despite having about a 90-year head start on Brock, in terms of late season playoff pedigree, Malakoff was a consensus underdog heading into its Class 3A Division I state semifinal game at the Ford Center. Brock, who had only been playing football since 2014, already had a state title under its belt, a state runner-up finish and two other regional final appearances. While Malakoff, who had been playing football since 1925, only had a semifinal appearance in 2016 to its name. Yet, in crunch time down the stretch, it was the Malakoff Tigers who made enough plays to advance to their first state game in school history.
The Tigers came out strong jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead early in the second quarter on the strength of a first quarter Hector Romero field goal and a one-yard run from Keevie Rose. On the field goal drive, Malakoff dropped what looked to be a wide-open touchdown pass and the Tigers were forced to settle for three.
After Malakoff’s first touchdown, Brock found its footing and for the next nine minutes totally dominated the game. The Eagles benefitted from a Brock penalty on a fourth down that kept a drive alive, culminating in a Zakk Young three-yard run that cut the Malakoff lead to 10-7. After recovering a MHS fumble near midfield, Brock quickly took a 14-10 lead with 1:58 left in the second quarter on a two yard run from Takota Taylor. The Malakoff fumble came after a sensational 30-yard run from R.J. Carr, who was just a little careless with the ball trying to gain extra yards and Brock pounced on the mistake.
The final two minutes of the half were wild as Malakoff grabbed the lead right back as sophomore quarterback Darion Peace hooked up with Kaderrius Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown and a 17-14 Malakoff lead. Brock would answer back as Zakk Young’s 63 yard kickoff return set Brock up to take the lead back with less than ten seconds left in the half as Tripp Jones found Texas A&M commit TE Baylor Cupp for a five yard touchdown and a 21-17 Brock lead. Malakoff after recovering the squib kickoff had one chance to throw a Hail Mary into the end zone and Peace lofted a perfect pass into the end zone, but the Malakoff receiver who had the ball for a split second was unable to come down with the pass and the Tigers went into the locker room trailing 21-17.
The second half would prove to be an absolute defensive war, with neither offense able to get much done. Malakoff’s defense stood tall, time after time holding the potent Brock offense to just 77 yards in the second half and after a missed Brock field goal midway through the fourth quarter, Malakoff showed championship grit with a game winning drive that was eight plays and 80 yards.
The drive got going with R.J. Carr atoning for his second quarter fumble with a 30-yard screen pass from Peace to get Malakoff out to midfield. Peace then hooked up with Andreas Garrett for a 34-yard pass play that got the Tigers into the red zone. Facing a 4th and 7 from the Brock 11, Malakoff benefitted from a Brock pass interference call in the end zone, which set up Keevie Rose’s second touchdown run, this one, the game winner from two yards out to put MHS up 23-21.
Malakoff’s defense needed one more stop to seal the win and the speedy Tiger defense was up to the task with LB Colby Rush sacking the Brock signal caller on fourth down to seal the win for the Tigers.
The Tigers would go on to lose in the state title game the next week to Grandview, but with a young batch of skill players, don’t be surprised if Malakoff is on the short list of contenders in Region II, while Brock has gained enough statewide respect where we don’t expect the Eagles to be in a rebuild mode anytime soon. This is a team that will likely again be the favorite in 3A Division I Region I in 2019.