Tuscola Jim Ned 29, Hallettsville 28 OT
December 17, 2020
Class 3A Division I State Championship
In the rare regular season rematch in the state championship game, the 3A Division I title game lived up to all the hype and then some as Jim Ned rallied to knock off Hallettsville for the second time this season for a 29-28 overtime win.
Hallettsville, led by Texas commit Jonathon Brooks, took charge of the game early on and it appeared the title game could be a blowout as the Brahmas raced out to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The tone was set early on as Jim Ned went three and out on their opening drive, while Hallettsville would need just six plays to take an early 7-0 lead as Brooks would rip off a 56-yard touchdown run to cap an 85-yard drive.
After another three-and-out by Jim Ned, Hallettsville would march right down the field needing eight plays to move 65-yards to jump out to a 14-0 lead as QB Trace Patek hooked up with Ty Gerke for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
After an exchange of punts, Jim Ned would finally get a little offense going, moving into Hallettsville territory, but the Indians drive stalled and they would turn the ball over on downs at the Hallettsville 48-yard line as QB Tate Yardley was sacked for a nine-yard loss on fourth down.
Hallettsville would quickly take advantage of the good field position as the Brahmas appeared to have total control of the game as Brooks would tote the mail five straight times and gaining all 52-yards on the drive, scoring from two-yards out to give Hallettsville a commanding 21-0 with 5:19 left in the second quarter.
The two teams would exchange punts on the next series and Jim Ned would take over after a Hallettsville punt on their own 34 with just over two minutes left in the half. After a first down run from Xavier Wishert and a defensive pass interference penalty, Jim Ned would move into Hallettsville territory when the Indians landed their first big play as Yardley hooked up with Braeden Lewis for a 34-yard pass to the Hallettsville five-yard line.
Apparent disaster would strike Jim Ned as a first and goal from the five turned into a first and goal from the 35 after back to back personal foul penalties. It was no issue for Jim Ned as with 59 seconds left in the half Yardley connected with Zach Henderson for a 35-yard touchdown pass to completely turn the momentum of the game around as Jim Ned cut the lead to 21-7 and went into the halftime locker room feeling pretty good after the huge touchdown.
Hallettsville would open the second half with the ball and would drive to midfield before the Brahmas drive would stall and HHS would punt. Jim Ned’s offense picked up where they left off on their final drive of the first half moving to the Hallettsville 47, but on a 3rd and 8 play, Yardley was picked off by Hallettsville DB Deven Wood. It was clear after the turnover that the Jim Ned defense had made some key adjustments to slow the Hallettsville offense as the Indians forced a HHS three and out. After the Hallettsville punt, Jim Ned would take over on their own 27 and march 73-yards in seven plays to cut the Hallettsville lead to 21-14 as Yardley and Henderson again hooked up for a 35-yard touchdown pass and momentum was squarely with the squad from the Big Country.
Jim Ned’s defense early in the fourth quarter would come up with a massive turnover as the Indians defense would force a Brooks fumble with Hunter Wilson recovering the loose ball and returning it to the Hallettsville 44. Jim Ned would need eleven plays to move 44-yards as the intensity and physicality of the game had ramped up to a different level, but Jim Ned had seized control of the game. Yardley would connect with Lewis for a four-yard touchdown pass and with just over four minutes left the game was all tied up at 21-21.
The two teams would exchange punts as neither could muster a serious threat for a winning score, Hallettsville in their last drive of regulation did move to the Jim Ned 41-yard line, but time in regulation had expired on the Brahmas.
Hallettsville would get the ball to start overtime, and for the first time since the second quarter the Brahmas found the end zone as Brooks would top the 300-yard mark rushing finding the end zone from four-yards out to give Hallettsville the lead back at 28-21.
Jim Ned would need just three plays to answer with Wishert ripping off a 17-yard touchdown run on 3rd and 2 to cut the lead to 28-27.
Jim Ned would show no hesitation as the Indians decided to go for the win; Hallettsville jumped offsides on the play and it appeared the defense froze for a split second, Jim Ned snapped the ball right on time and Yardley delivered a perfect throw to Henderson in the end zone for the two-point conversion and the first state title in school history for Tuscola Jim Ned with a 29-28 win.
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