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Facing defeat, Clear Creek steals victory from Friendswood with a kick in the wind

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  • Facing defeat, Clear Creek steals victory from Friendswood with a kick in the wind



    (Nick DeHoyos tries to get to Erik Baughman's game winning field goal but is simply too far away to reach)

    (Stats provided by Chron.com and credit to YHN's Ted Dunham for the Hightower scenario)

    Pictures of the game: https://flic.kr/s/aHsknur1d9

    or https://www.flickr.com/photos/rockla...57660005990216

    This game was a track meet and of all the scoring that came from touchdowns, it took a long FG against the wind to win it as time expired. Turnovers in the end of the contest also were numerous and critical and all this within 4 minutes of the end of the game.

    Two teams who were undefeated in district play had one of the most exciting games of the season and one of the most improbable endings. Even how the game played out before the madness, could leave someone scratching their head in confusion.

    In the beginning of the game, The Clear Creek Wildcats defense was halting any movement from Friendswood. The Mustangs went down 14-0 thanks to two Da'von Smith touchdowns. The Wildcats were in control of the game.

    Then the Mustangs found their groove on offense. Fueled by a big run by Mustangs RB Mason Barnes, Friendswood got inside the 2 yd line and Mustangs QB Tyler Page snuck in to score.

    Still, the Mustangs needed to get the stop on Clear Creek to get back in this game. The high speed and quick no huddle offense of the Wildcats kept the Mustangs off guard. The Wildcats were in business once again thans to another fantastic run by Da'von Smith, who scored on a sweep from 3 yds out.

    Friendswood answered back with a drive that took over 4 minutes and had key 3rd down conversions. In the first series, the Creek defense sacked Tyler Page and thwared a Barnes run and it was 3rd and 15. Tyler Page found an open receiver and got his first down. Mason Barnes went to work and the OL started to open holes for their elusive back. The drive ended with a quick pitch and Tyler Page went down the sideline to catch the pass from backup QB Ryan Eperson. Page caught it and took it in for the score.

    Halftime was 21-14.

    A big key was Friendswood getting the ball back to start the 2nd half and the momentum they gained before the half, carried over to the 2nd half on their first drive.

    Friendswood moved down the field with ease and with just over 10 minutes left in the 3rd, Page found Dylan Friske running down the left sideline wide open for the tying score (after the XP of course).

    A game that seemed to be dominated by Creek was now a pure even fight. Clear Creek needed to respond and respond they did. Chase Hildreth, the Creek quarterback was having a solid day but he had to shake off an eariler interception in the 1st quarter. A big play on this drive was Hildreth's pass to Landon Ezel. The big pass play led them all the way to the Friendswood 24. The drive was capped of by Da'Von Smith going in for the 1 yd run.

    It was Smith's fourth touchdown of the day! It gave Creek back the lead at 28-21.

    If you can score, I can score too, said Friendswood. It wasn't so simple as once again the Creek defense sacked Page for a loss and Mason Barnes could not escape the Creek players when he tried to run to the edges. It was third and long again. Page was clutch once more, getting a 1st down and getting to the Creek 10. Reed Roher was the WR to catch the second TD pass from Tyler Page as he caught the ball inside the pylon and over the goal line, before getting pushed back. Tied again!

    The big break that Friendswood needed on defense, finally came. A huge rush from the Friendswood's defensive front collapsed on Chase Hildreth and he lofted the ball up in the air over the middle. Linebacker for the Mustangs, Matthew Russo snagged the ball and got it near the Creek 10. Friendswood was in business to now take the lead late in the 3rd quarter. They did so with a great scramble by Tyler Page on two plays. The XP was good and Friendswood was up 35-28.

    Clear Creek could have panicked but didn't and a flea flicker play was called. Chase Hildreth made a great pass to Jack Kelly for a 45 yd score and the game was tied again. All this just before the 3rd quarter ended!

    Friendswood and Clear Creek each had chances to expand their lead with drives in the red zone and ended with no points. Clear Creek though got 0 points midway in the 4th and Friendswood took full advantage. Tyler Page was just in the zone. Cliche but true and Page scrambled from 31 yds to get the score and the game was under 5 minutes to play. Friendswood was up 42-35.

    Clear Creek tried to respond back but this time the Friendswood defense rose to the occasion once again and more pressure on Hildreth forced him to make a bad throw and it was picked off. Friendswood had full control of the game now. All they needed to do was ice the game.

    The Mustangs plan was being executed well and Friendswood marched all the way to the 5 of Clear Creek with a minute and a half. Tyler Page scramble to bring the ball back in between the hashes but was met by a few Creek defenders. He was going down and might---might have had his knee hit the ground but the pile up made it hard to see and the ball squirted loose! The ball went into the end zone and Creek recovered!

    No way! From certainly being down by 10 at least and now Creek has a chance to tie this game. There wasn't much time left. Did Creek have enough to get down there? Hildreth made a great pass to Brandon Hower and he got down to Friendswood territory. Jaiden Woodson had a great run to get another 1st down and Hower caught another pass to stop the clock and keep the chains moving. The drive was stalling though and Creek faced a 3rd and long. Pass interference was called on Tyler Paige who was covering Hower in the end zone. It was questionable to many but the call stood. Then Hildreth found his WR Jack Kelly for the score and the critical XP was good! Tie game with 18 seconds left.

    42-42 and Erik Baughman squibbed kicked the ball. Not gonna lie, I was a little puzzled by it because the squid didn't go too far and Friendswood could move down the field quickly too. However, it worked out better than Creek could have planned. The return man bobbled the ball and when he went down to recover the ball, the football laid just on the left side of him, underneath his shoulder pads, leaving it open to be recovered. Joey Abatacola saw it and snagged it away just as the Friendswood player was trying to shift his body and arms to secure the ball. It was too late and Creek got it!

    So what to do now? A FG try would be tough against the wind and Creek needed to get closer. Andrew Weisen found space along the sideline, caught a great pass from Hildreth and the ball was at the Friendswood 26. Just a few seconds left. Erik Baughman had missed a closer FG and now was called on to make a 43 yd FG against the wind. The snap was good, the blocking was good and Baughman put his full leg into that kick but the wind was pushing his kick back as it sailed going in between the goal posts. The ball landed over the crossbar and cleared it.

    The kick was good!!! Baugman was rushed by his teammates and Clear Creek was able to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat. Dejected Friendswood players couldn't believe what just happened. The fans of Friendswood just stared at the field, hands over their heads or on their hips. Stunned to see how this all unfolded. Creek fans were delirious and Creek players celebrated the huge win over a big district opponent.

    This was a crucial victory for Creek. As pointed out by Your Houston News writer, Ted Dunham, the loser of this contest will likely face undefeated Fort Bend Hightower in Round 1 of the playoffs. Friendswood has defeated Hightower in the playoffs last year (in overtime no less) but it will be a tougher draw this time with Hightower playing great overall this year and hosting the game this time.

    A thrilling contest between two of 24-6A's best teams. The district still likely will go to Division I bound, Dickinson but these teams will represent 24-6A in the postseason and will be a tough opponent in the playoffs for a team to face.
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