Out of reach: Red Oak’s deepest playoff run ends in loss
Hawks’ hopes dashed by last-minute Summit TD; kickoff returns prove costly
ARLINGTON — Even with Jalon Rock’s numerous contributions to the Mansfield Summit cause, all he could do on his team’s winning drive was watch and hope from the sideline.
“I put my trust in those offensive guys,” said the senior cornerback, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, intercepted a pass and deflected another that turned into an interception.
His trust was well-placed.
Quarterback David Hopkins’ three-yard touchdown dive with 38 seconds remaining was the decisive blow in Summit’s 41-38 victory in the Class 5A Division I Region I state quarterfinal Friday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
Summit (8-4), playing in the fourth playoff round for the first time in the program’s two decades of existence, advances deeper into uncharted territory — a state semifinal against Denton Ryan.
Red Oak (9-3) saw its deepest postseason run come to a sudden end despite a slight edge in total yardage.
Down by 10 points with six minutes remaining, Rock breathed life into the Jaguars with his second kickoff return for a touchdown, this one from 72 yards.
Red Oak, which had scored on each of its first four possessions in the second half, was forced to punt on its fifth try with a 38-34 lead and 4:30 remaining.
The winning Summit drive covered 57 yards in nine plays, helped by a fourth-down pass interference penalty at the Red Oak 29.
“We fought when we were ahead and fought when we were behind," said Summit coach Channon Hall. “We are playing our best football right now."
Rock began the second half with a 76-yard kickoff return, acting on a suggestion of a coach to get to the outside faster.
But Red Oak quarterback Joshua Ervin was unfazed, leading his team on third-quarter touchdown drives of 71, 68 and 85 yards. Ervin (11 of 23, 250 yards) capped two of the drives with touchdown tosses including a five-yarder to La’Kelsey Johnson Jr. for Red Oak’s first lead, 35-28. The drive was set in motion by the second forced fumble of the game by Red Oak’s Carter Lincoln and a recovery by Brock Lincks.
When the two District 4-5A (Division I) members met in the regular season, a 37-16 Red Oak victory, Oklahoma State signee Raymond Gay Jr. had 12 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns. The Red Oak senior was limited to two catches for 39 yards in the rematch.
Red Oak rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the final five minutes of the half to pull even, 14-14, at intermission.
Ervin’s six-yard slant to Jace Wyatt capped a 61-yard drive for Red Oak’s first score. Cameron Green’s fumble recovery set up a 20-yard scoring run by Iverson Young (25 carries, 147 yards).
Summit marched 94 yards in 13 plays for the opening score. On fourth down, Hopkins connected with D’szarion Brown on a six-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
After a high snap over the Red Oak punter’s head, Summit had to go only two yards for its second touchdown with Jaydon Lott doing the honors.
“The kickoff returns really hurt us," said Red Oak first-year head coach Michael Quintero. “This is tough for our seniors, but it shouldn’t be lost what they have done to put Red Oak back on the map."
Hopkins, in addition to the winning touchdown run, was 13 of 21 passing for 196 yards and two scores.
Summit defensive end Kamren Washington, bound for Sam Houston State, finished with five tackles for loss including three sacks.
Auburn signee Hal Presley was Summit’s top receiving target with five catches for 92 yards. Junior Keon Hobbs led Summit rushers with 110 yards on 14 attempts.