Business as usual.
That’s how Tuscola Jim Ned (13-1) responded to a 21-point deficit in the state championship game. The Indians rallied back from three scores to win their first-ever 3A DI state championship against Hallettsville, 29-28 in overtime, Thursday night inside AT&T Stadium.
It was the first state championship game to go into overtime since the 6A DII game in 2018 between Westlake and Galena Park North Shore.
After Hallettsville star Jonathon Brooks put the Brahmas (13-2) up on the first possession in extra time, Jim Ned’s own work horse, Xavier Wishert, plowed his way to the endzone from 17 yards out. Head coach Matt Fanning went for two looking to end it.
He called a hard-count play that caused Hallettsville to jump offsides and gave quarterback Tate Yardley a free play where he connected with Zach Henderson, who beat Brooks in the back of the endzone.
“We’re just elated, it’s amazing,” Fanning said. “This community’s been awesome to me and my family and just to be able to bring a title to Jim Ned, for all the people who supported this year and this time when everything’s been negative, it’s awesome.”
After getting outscored 21-0 midway through the second quarter, the Indians held Brooks and Hallettsville scoreless until overtime, slowly nicking away at the lead with their grinding power running game.
“From the very first quarter we knew (Brooks) was going to come out and make a couple of big plays and honestly, we would have to play at his speed, and we would have to get that done,” Wishert said.
Brooks finished with a 3A DI state record 299 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The senior put on a punishing first-half performance that put state rushing record in jeopardy almost immediately with runs of 56, 25 and 40 yards within the team’s first four possessions.
“We just wanted to stop the kid (Brooks) I guess,” Jim Ned linebacker Austin Martin laughed. “We just wanted to win the football game.”
Even when trailing, Jim Ned never abandoned the run and more specifically, Wishert, who finished with 186 rushing. Yardley’s two touchdown passes to Zach Henderson (both 35 yards) in the second and third quarter were set up by Wishert runs the play before.
Fanning said his team had to get back to what got them there.
“At that point, my motor has to run more than theirs does,” Wishert said. “My fifth gear has to be stronger than theirs and my will has to be stronger than theirs.”
The game was a rematch of a regular season clash between both teams in which Jim Ned also won. The Indians also knocked off preseason No. 1 Brock en route to the state title game.
“We wanted it for the kids and the community, but I’m still happy with what our kids have accomplished this year,” Hallettsville head coach Tommy Pscencik said.
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||OT||||Score|
|Tuscola Jim Ned||0||7||7||7||8||||29|
|1st||06:42||HALLETTS||Jonathon Brooks 56 yd run (Chase Janak kick)|
|6 plays, 85 yards, TOP 3:44||7 - 0|
|01:07||HALLETTS||Ty Gerke 20 yd pass from Trace Patek (Chase Janak kick)|
|8 plays, 65 yards, TOP 4:09||14 - 0|
|2nd||05:19||HALLETTS||Jonathon Brooks 2 yd run (Chase Janak kick)|
|5 plays, 52 yards, TOP 2:16||21 - 0|
|00:59||JIMNED||Zach Henderson 35 yd pass from Tate Yardley (Hayden Humphries kick)|
|5 plays, 66 yards, TOP 1:29||21 - 7|
|3rd||01:21||JIMNED||Zach Henderson 35 yd pass from Tate Yardley (Hayden Humphries kick)|
|7 plays, 73 yards, TOP 2:50||21 - 14|
|4th||04:07||JIMNED||Braden Lewis 4 yd pass from Tate Yardley (Hayden Humphries kick)|
|11 plays, 44 yards, TOP 5:47||21 - 21|
|OT||12:00||HALLETTS||Jonathon Brooks 4 yd run (Chase Janak kick)|
|4 plays, 25 yards, TOP 0:00||28 - 21|
|12:00||JIMNED||Xavier Wishert 17 yd run (Zach Henderson pass from T. Yadley)|
|3 plays, 25 yards, TOP 0:00||28 - 29|
|NET YARDS RUSHING||309||170|
|Average Per Rush||6.7||4.2|
|Yards Gained Rushing||332||201|
|Yards Lost Rushing||23||31|
|NET YARDS PASSING||83||137|
|Average Per Attempt||5.2||8.6|
|Average Per Completion||13.8||22.8|
|TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS||392||307|
|Total offense plays||62||56|
|Average Gain Per Play||6.3||5.5|
|Average Yards Per Punt||40.6||40.4|
|Net Yards Per Punt||37.6||40.4|
|Average Yards Per Kickoff||37.2||41.5|
|Net Yards Per Kickoff||27.0||29.2|
|Fair Catch Yards||0||0|
|Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD||0-0-0||2-15-0|
|Average Per Return||0.0||7.5|
|Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD||2-24-0||4-41-0|
|Average Per Return||12.0||10.2|
|Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD||0-0-0||1-8-0|
|Third-Down Conversions||5 of 11||7 of 13|
|Fourth-Down Conversions||1 of 1||0 of 1|
|Sacks By: Number-Yards||1-9||1-11|
|Points off turnovers||0||7|
Tuscola Jim Ned
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