Excitement, drama & heartbreak for Hawks, Jackets at AT&T Stadium

(ROCKWALL/HEATH, TX – September 12, 2015) Last night’s Southwest Showcase presented by Oxbow at AT&T Stadium in Arlington saw plenty of hand-sweating, blood-pumping, edge-of-your-seat excitement, drama and ultimately heartbreak for the Rockwall-Heath and Rockwall high school football teams and their fans.

Parents, faculty and students donned not only their school colors but those of the U.S.A. as well, in remembrance of the lives lost during the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers 14 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, during the games pitting the Rockwall-Heath Hawks(2-1) against the Garland Owls (2-1) and the Rockwall Yellowjackets (0-3) versus the Mesquite Horn Jaguars (2-1).

Rockwall-Heath junior quarterback Caanan Smith got things going in the night’s first matchup with a 7-yard TD run to put the Hawks up 6-0 (a two point conversion pass attempt failed) roughly two minutes into the second quarter.

Late in the quarter Owls quarterback Jacoby Williams snuck into the endzone on a one-yard run, and the extra point attempt was no good to tie it up at 6. The Hawks drove the ball well on the ensuing drive with four completions and an 11-yard scramble from Smith to set up a 20-yard field goal by Jared Baine, putting Rockwall-Heath up 9-6 at the half.

After a third quarter stalemate, Garland running back Michael Turman got loose for a 53-yard run with a successful extra point attempt to put the Owls up 13-9 with 10:47 left to play in regulation.

With just under three minutes to play and the Hawks driving, Smith saw his pass intercepted in the endzone. However, Garland was unable to make the Hawks pay for that mistake, and a big run by running back Tyler McAlister set up a go ahead nine yard TD from Smith to Jackson Sally. The extra point was good to put the Hawks up 16-13 at the 1:20 mark.

An efficient drive for the Owls saw them with the ball just 10 yards out from the endzone and nine seconds left in the game. And then came the heartbreaking moment for the Hawks, as Williams connected with Coree Compton in the endzone to give Rockwall-Heath its first loss of the season.

Fans were treated to another exciting nail-biter in the Showcase’s final game on Friday night between the Rockwall Yellowjackets and the Mesquite Horn Jaguars.

The Jackets began things with a six and a half minute opening drive that resulted in a four yard run by senior quarterback Will Reed to put Rockwall ahead 7-0. The Jaguars responded with a 15 yard strike from Chris Robison to Cassian Foreman. A missed extra point saw Rockwall still in the lead 7-6 after one quarter of play.

Halfway through the second, Rockwall’s Cameron Ast recovered a muffed attempt to field a punt to put the Jackets just inside the redzone with a chance to add to its slim lead. But just two plays later Reed’s pass was intercepted, resulting in a Mesquite Horn 27-yard field goal, and the Jackets went into the half trailing 9-7.

The second half saw an explosion of offense from both teams, including a 71-yard TD pass from Reed to Cameron Crayton in the middle of the third quarter and a 38-yard TD scamper by Rockwall running back Caleb Broach early in the fourth.

With the teams knotted at 23, Reed connected with Sam Crawford for a 40 yard pass that put the Jackets up by seven about midway through the final quarter. A 90-yard return on the ensuing kickoff put the Jaguars on the 10 yard line, but then the Jackets’ Jacob Mirelez came through with a big time seven yard sack to force the Jags to settle for a field goal.

Rockwall kicker Jacob Viquez knocked in a 40-yard try three minutes later to put the Jackets up 33-26 with 2:04 to play.

The Jaguars answered back with a 29-yard TD toss with 1:07 to go, but Rockwall DB James Taylor made an unbelievable play to block the extra point and keep Rockwall in the lead 33-32.

And then the drama continued…

Mesquite Horn was able to successfully recover its onside kick inside Jackets territory at the 48 yard line. Two completions from Robison and a late hit foul put the Jags at the 8 yard line with 20 seconds left. The Jackets stuffed a run the following play, but Mesquite Horn hit the game winning 27-yard field goal to hand Rockwall its third loss of the season.

Next Friday, Sept. 18, will see Rockwall-Heath (2-1) hit the road to face Mesquite Poteet (1-2) while Rockwall (0-3) heads home to take on North Garland (2-1).

Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News staff writer and reporter.

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