(ROCKWALL/HEATH, TX – September 28, 2015) The Rockwall-Heath Hawks (2-3) saw a valiant comeback effort fall short in another heartbreaking loss 21-14 against the Terrell Tigers (4-1) on Friday night at Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium.
Defenses from both sides held strong in the opening quarter and the first points of the game didn’t come until about halfway through the second, when the Tigers were able to capitalize on punt return error by the Hawks. A Hawks player had the punt touch him and Terrell recovered the ball, and quarterback Klayton Henderson connected with Jarvis Walker with the extra point good to put the Tigers ahead by seven with 7:44 to go in the opening half.
The Hawks responded by capitalizing off a turnover of their own when Moh-Julien Ntchobo picked off a pass and took it inside Tigers territory. Heath quarterback Ben Mays later found Tanner McCalister in the end zone, who wrestled the ball away from the opposing defender for a 20-yard touchdown with the extra point good as the Hawks tied it up with 1:16 left.
The second half saw many struggles on defense for the hawks, especially when it came to defending the run. Terrell’s Ja Daveon Williams found room up the middle for a 20 yard touchdown run with the extra point good to put the Tigers up 14-7 at the 6:44 mark of the third quarter.
With about four minutes left in the quarter the Hawks pinned Terrell down at its own 2 yard line with a great punt. But the terrible field position didn’t seem to matter for the Tigers, who ended up with a 98-yard scoring drive capped off by a 31-yard run down the right sideline by Williams with the extra point good to go up by two scores, 21-7.
All was not lost for the Hawks, however. A fortunate pass interference call and an ensuing 15-yard completion from Caanan Smith to Jackson Salley put the ball on the Tigers 4 yard line for Heath nearly halfway in the final quarter, and Tyler McCalister ran it in for a score with the extra point good to pull the Hawks within a touchdown.
The defense tightened up for the Hawks and they were able to hold Terrell to a punt on the following drive, as Heath took over at their own 28 yard line with 3:16 to go in the game. A 13-yard pass from Smith converted a 4th and 10 near midfield to keep the drive and the comeback attempt alive with 1:49 left.
A downfield pass from Smith was intercepted but fumbled on the return and the Hawks recovered in a very fortunate turn of events for Heath to keep them in the ballgame. However, the Hawks would be unable to take advantage of the play as a long pass from Smith was then picked in the end zone with 1:21 remaining. The Hawks burned its final timeouts to hold Terrell to a third and three on Heath’s 45 yard line with 0:52 on the clock, but the Tigers converted to give the Hawks their third loss of the season.
Rockwall-Heath looks to rebound on the road in an away conference game against the North Forney Falcons (1-4) next Friday, Oct. 9. Kickoff begins at 7:30.
Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News staff writer.