RED OAK — A late flag preceded a late touchdown in a game that proceeded to end in heartbreak. Corsicana narrowly escaped Red Oak via an overtime win, 13-7, in a matchup some penciled in as a four-touchdown blowout.
The Hawks simply ran out of bullets.
It was Red Oak that faltered first on a night where the Hawk defense bowed its neck time and again. Tiger quarterback, Kishawn Kelley (10-of-23 for 118 yards) efficiently marched his offense down the field to open the scoring on the first drive of the ballgame.
An 18-yard John Woods scamper capped the seven-play, 53-yard drive that spanned the first 2:38 of game action. Woods finished the game with 18 yards on three carries.
That was it for the Tigers’ offense. Over the next three-plus quarters of regulation, the Corsicana amassed 137 total yards.
Unfortunately, it was the 25 yards that came after the first 48 minutes that counted the most.
Red Oak opened the overtime period headed in the wrong direction. Chris Bugg (12-of-19 for 128 yards, TD, INT) then spun a 29-yard rope to 6-foot-3-inch wide receiver Brock Houston that put the Hawks on the two-yard line of Corsicana.
The ensuing play sounded the Red Oak touchdown horn but was negated by a late flag for a false start.
Red Oak sophomore Dee Johnson, the team’s leading rusher with 72 yards on 19 carries (3.8 YPC), was hit behind the line of scrimmage and the ball jarred loose. Tiger linebacker Desmond Hawkins recovered the fumble, along with the collective breaths of all of those inside Billy Goodloe Stadium.
Kelley needed just two plays — runs of 15 and 10 yards — to dash Red Oak’s hope of snapping its now 21-game skid.
“You don’t get a lot of chances in a game like this,” Red Oak Head Coach Brian Brown said. “We jumped and you just don’t get a lot of chances. Some people think you can just run the same play, but those guys on the other sideline are smart enough to figure that out.
“There were a few things offensively that we could have done or executed better, but that is just one of those chess match things. That stuff at the end, it just comes down to who is going to run out of bullets first. We had a couple of kids [on the sidelines] and that’s tough. That’s not an excuse, but it is what happens sometimes. Our kids played hard, and I’m proud of them.
“[…] Overall, I’m not happy to lose, because I’m tired of it, but the kids played as hard as we could have asked them to play.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Hawks outgained the Tigers 236 to 215 in total yards. Bugg accounted for 128 of those Red Oak yards on 12-of-19 passing with a touchdown and interception.
The lone Hawk score came with one second remaining in the first half.
Red Oak’s defense sniffed out a quarterback keeper to force a Tiger turnover on downs, which gave the ball back to its offense with only one timeout remaining and 68 yards to pay dirt.
Bugg found Johnson for a 15-yard screen that put the Hawks on their 48-yard line. The quarterback then used his feet to pick up four yards, but it was the late hit out of bounds that served as the catalyst for the drive. The personal foul penalty put the ball on the Corsicana 34-yard line with under 30 seconds to play.
Blake Sonnier then picked up seven yards on a zone read off the left tackle to force Brown into calling his team’s final timeout with 19 ticks to play in the half and the ball on the Tigers’ 27-yard line.
Out of the timeout, Bugg found Jordan Munoz (2 rec, 38 yards) across the middle and down to the three-yard line.
Thompson dropped a potential touchdown pass on a quick slant two steps inside the goal line with five seconds left but redeemed himself with a catch over a defender on a carbon-copy play four ticks later.
The Hawks carried the momentum into the half tied at seven.
That energy moved from the offensive to the defensive side of the field for Red Oak in the second half. Red Oak Defensive Coordinator Matt Cochran attributed his team’s play to executing the game plan and solid tackling in the open field.
“We missed a couple of tackles on the first drive, but we knew we had a good plan. The kids played hard and executed that plan well,” Cochran said. “We play in a real tough district and have returned a lot of depth and experience. We played exceptionally well, and that was probably the key – how hard we played.”
The Hawk defense held Kelley to 14 total rushing yards through four quarters and the Tigers as a whole to 72 yards on 27 carries (2.67 YPC). The stout defensive effort started with the Red Oak front seven, according to Cochran.
“I think what we did up front kind of gave us an advantage in the secondary because it limited Corsicana to the passes that we were willing to give them, essentially,” he said. “We tried to limit the big play for the most part in the passing game, but their quarterback is good enough that we just had to decide that we were going to try to make them throw the ball and see if we could hold up and we did.
“I have two of the best secondary coaches in the state, and that makes a big difference. They put all of the kids in positions where they weren’t going to fail or get exploited, so they did a good job there, too.”
On the stat sheet, the only blemish for the Hawks was their 10 penalties for 88 yards — more than double the 6-for-41 committed by the Tigers.
Red Oak (0-1) will look to snap its current losing streak when it returns to the gridiron Friday, Sept. 2 on the road against (1-0) Arlington Heights. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Tigers 13, Hawks 7
Corsicana 7 0 0 0 6 — 13
Red Oak 0 7 0 0 0 — 7
C — John Woods 18 run (Victor Calvillo kick)
R — Reonquez Thompson 8 pass from Chris Bugg (Kick good)
C — Kishawn Kelley 10 run (no kick)
First downs 13 12
Rushes-yards 31-108 29-97
Passing yards 128 118
Passes 12-19-0-1 10-23-0-0
Punts-avg. 3-39.7 4-32.3
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 10-88 6-41
Red Oak — Dee Johnson 19-72, Blake Sonnier 6-15, Chris Bugg 3-8, Reonquez Thompson 2-4, Jordan Munoz 1-9
Corsicana — Kishawn Kelley 10-39, Jamicah Polk 15-34, John Woods 3-18, Henderson 2-6
Red Oak — Bugg 12-19, 128 yards
Corsicana — Kelley 10-23, 118 yards
Red Oak — Brock Houston 4-57, Jordan Munoz 2-38, Johnson 2-14, Thompson 2-13, Sonnier 1-4, Latimer 1-2
Corsicana — Hargraves 6-49, DJ Sheffield 4-47, Trevor Denbow 1-13, Blair 1-9
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith