Nov. 14, 2009

KINGSVILLE, TEXAS - In one of the most exciting, entertaining and thrilling games a person could ever watch, the Texas A&M-Kingsville football team fell six inches short against visiting Tarleton State University in the first round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs on Saturday at Javelina Stadium, 57-56.

The winning play came when Texan (10-2) quarterback Scott Grantham called his own number on a two-point conversion in double overtime. Grantham rushed wide right and just broke the plane of the end zone to give his team the winning points necessary to advance to play #1 Central Washington next Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash.

The game was one for the record books as both teams exhausted all energy in search of the elusive victory. The lead changed hands seven times and featured too many game-changing plays to count including an NCAA Division II Playoff record 64-yard field goal by TSU's Garrett Lindholm to send the game into overtime. In the end, it was Grantham who would not be denied. He scored on a 20-yard run in the second overtime in which he broke five tackles to get into the end zone. He also passed for 296 yards and three scores in the game.

The Texans opened the game looking like they would run away with it. They scored on their first offensive play, a 51-yard strike from Grantham to Jahmeel Hobson, forced a quick turnover and scored again to take a 14-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game.

The Javelinas (9-3) finally settled down and put together a great stretch of football. First, Fred "Hollywood" Winborn (N. Hollywood, CA/Grant HS) capped off an 80-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard plunge. Secondly, Arlen Childress (Humble/Humble HS) forced a fumble and DeIra Glover (Hempstead/Hempstead HS) picked up the ball and ran 26 yards to tie the game at 14-14. Then, Winborn scored on a beautiful 36-yard run and finally, Glover snared a pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Hoggies a 28-14 lead with 3:14 left in the first half.

The Texans quickly narrowed the gap on a 23-yard run by Roderick Smith and then a 62-yard scoring pass to Hobson with 1:54 left in the half.

The Hogs tacked on three more points before the end of the half when Christian Brom (McAllen/McAllen HS) drilled a 45-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Texan offense ground the Hoggie defense down. They had possession of the ball for 10:58 of the period and scored twice; first on an Evan Robertson 30-yard scamper and then on a Grantham 3-yard pass to Devin Guinn.

In between the two Texan scores, Winborn added his third touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge. Heading into the fourth quarter the Javelinas led 39-36, but the Texans were driving. TSU took the lead on Smith's 11-yard score with 8:22 left in regulation. His run capped a 14-play, 77-yard drive that ate up 6:59.

Things looked dim for the Javelinas when they were forced to punt on their next possession. However, Mardrick Johnson (Lafayette, LA/East Texas Baptist) intercepted a Grantham pass with 4:56 on the clock.

The Javelinas drove down the field and were helped out by four Texan penalties. Billy Garza (Brownsville/Porter HS) gave the Hoggies the lead when he ran untouched into the end zone from one yard out with 49 seconds left.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Javelinas forced a fumble, but TSU's Jacob Rowe recovered to maintain possession. The Texans were down to their last gasp facing a fourth-and-18 at their own 18-yard when Grantham scrambled around and found Arthur Buckingham for a sliding 35-yard gain, his only catch of the game with 15 seconds left. After two incompletions, the Texans were forced to try a field goal and Lindholm drilled the 64-yarder with room to spare to send the game to extra time.

In the first overtime, Lindholm kicked a 27-yard field goal for the Texans. The Javelinas drove down to the 2-yard line, but were stopped on third down and decided to go for the tying field goal. Brom calmly kicked the 19-yard try.

In the second overtime, the Javelinas got the ball first and scored in five plays. Winborn bulled his way into the end zone for a career high fourth touchdown.

The Texans were facing a fourth-and-5 at the 20-yard line when Grantham performed his magic and scored on a weaving, spinning run to set the stage for his game-winning two-point conversion.

The two teams combined for 932 yards of offense and a Javelina Stadium record 113 points.

The Javelinas were led offensively by Hollywood Winborn who capped off an outstanding season with a 223-yard, 4-touchdown performance. Garza added 16 yards rushing while going 20-of-31 for 164 and two first quarter interceptions in his final collegiate game. Garza finished his career with a school record 434 completions in just two seasons.

Senior defensive tackle Jimmy Saddler-McQueen (Houston/Forest Brook HS) had his best game of the season for the Hoggie defense with eight tackles, including a half tackle for loss. Glover added seven tackles and his two touchdown returns, giving him four defensive scores on the season. Johnson and Childress each added seven tackles.

The Texans gained 530 yards of total offense, but were also penalized 19 times for 160 yards. Grantham finished 20-of-40 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He rushed for 35 yards on five carries. Robertson led the team with 131 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Hobson was the receiving star of the game with 10 catches for 188 yards and two scores.

Matt Knicky and Brandon Johnson each had interceptions for the Texans while McNeal Uwajeh led the team with eight tackles. Neither team recorded a sack in the game.

Lindholm finished the game with two field goals and five extra points while his counterpart Brom had two field goals, six extra points and a two-point conversion.

The Javelinas finished the season with their most wins and first playoff appearance since 2004. The Hoggies are now 18-5 all-time and 1-1 in the playoffs against the Texans. The Texans will play Central Washington next Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash.