Frisco Independence rallies past upset-minded Tigers, 45-30

Contact us:

3446 Summerhill Road
Texarkana TX 75503

Texas High quarterback Rian Cellers (5) passes Friday night at Tiger Stadium against Frisco Independence. The Knights rallied in the second half to beat the Tigers, 40-35.
By Johnny Green
A change in momentum just before halftime was evidently a wake-up call for Frisco Independence in its Class 5A, Division I area playoff game with Texas High at Tiger Field Friday.

Soundly outplayed for the majority of the first and second quarters, the Knights took advantage of crucial penalties to score with 34.4 seconds remaining on a 22-yard pass from Braylon Braxton to Zhighlil McMillan to cut Texas High’s lead to 17-14 at halftime, eventually leading to a 45-30 win over the Tigers.
“Really, I thought that was a big drive for them,” said Tigers coach Gerry Stanford. “We had three pass interference calls against us, and they ended up scoring to make it a one-possession game instead of two.”
The Knights (10-2), who will play No. 8 Lancaster in the Region II quarterfinals next week, used the momentum to take control in the second half, scoring on their first four possessions to open a 45-23 lead.
Backup quarterback Zane Dodson drove the Tigers 61 yards in four plays, finishing it with a 23-yard scoring strike to Kobe Webster with 4:20 left in the game.
Stanford said the difference in the halves had nothing to do with adjustments.
“They really didn’t do anything different in the second half and neither did we,” he said. “We just missed a couple of things here and there and put ourselves in the hole with penalties. They just made more plays than we did.”


Independence regains lead in third quarter

An example of that came after the Knights regained the lead they lost on Tyrell Miller’s 4-yard run, his third touchdown of the game, with 6:29 left in the third quarter. A 7-play, 75-yard drive was capped on Braxton’s 16-yard scoring pass to Jackson Rhodes following the kickoff.
But Texas High reached the FI 32 on its next possession before committing three false starts on fourth and three. That forced a punt, which Khi’yon Wafer took back 72 yards to set up Braxton’s 13-yard TD run on first down with only 57.6 seconds left in the third quarter.
A 65-yard run by Dwayne Orr and a 21-yard field goal by Reggie Bush, the latter with 5:38 remaining, put the game out of reach.
“I thought the game went how it would go in the first half for the most part,” said Stanford, whose 7-4 Tigers missed a shot at the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2006. “Even starting the second half I felt it was going to be a track meet type of game when we both scored on our first possessions. But the just missed some plays in the third quarter that hurt us.”

Miller shines in place of injured Cooper

Miller, starting for the injured Tracy Cooper (ankle) rushed 28 times for 138 yards, including scoring runs of 10 and 7 yards in the first half. But Dodson’s 13-yard run was the only other positive gain for the Tigers.
Quarterback Rian Cellers, struggling on an injured leg in the second half, had minus 25 yards on nine carries, including a 28-yard fumble loss in the first half.
“Miller had a really good game, but we would have liked to have Cooper in there,” Stanford said. “ He’s a difference-maker.”
Oscar Hernandez’s 22-yard field goal on the first THS possession completed the scoring.
Cellers was 10 of 21 for 153 yards, while Dodson finished 3 of 3 for 48. Webster closed out an outstanding Tiger career with 84 yards on five catches, while Caden Miller had five for 66.
Braxton rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries and passed for 111 yards and two scores. Orr had 148 yards on 16 carries as the Knights ran for 328 yards.
Stanford praised his players after the game.
“I’m proud of the effort and what they’ve done, especially the seniors,” he said. “They’ve put us on the map to continue great things.”
Independence 7 7 21 10 — 45
Texas High 10 7 6 7 — 30
TH-Oscar Hernandez 22 FG, 7:49
TH-Tyrell Miller 10 run (Hernandez kick), 5:23
FI-Braylon Braxton 23 run (Reggie Bush kick), 2:24
TH-Miller 7 run (Hernandez kick), 2:24
FI-Zhighlil McMillan 22 pass from Braxton (Bush kick), 0:34.4
FI-Braxton 7 run (Bush kick), 9:11
TH-Miller 4 run (kick failed), 6:29
FI-Jackson Rhodes 16 pass from Braxton (Bush kick), 3:38
FI-Braxton 13 run (Bush kick), 0:57.6
FI-Dwayne Orr 65 run (Bush kick), 11:24
FI-Bush 21 FG, 5:38
TH-Kobe Webster 23 pass from Zane Dodson (Hernandez kick), 4:20