By SHAWN YORKS
The Guymon Daily Herald
TEXHOMA, Okla. - Moises Garay held on to a tipped pass in the end zone and scored a touchdown with 50 seconds left Friday night to lift the Texhoma Red Devils to a 15-12 win over Hooker in a District A-1 contest at Wheatbowl Stadium.
The late scoring rally came just in time for the playoff-bound Red Devils (5-5) as Hooker (2-7) was controlling the ball late in the game after putting together a rally of its own at the tail-end of the third quarter.
To say the win was ugly for Texhoma would be a disservice to the Bulldogs, who played perhaps one of their best games of the year.
“A win’s a win, but ugly is really not the word to say because that just downgrades Hooker and they played well, those kids played hard, real hard,” said Texhoma head coach Aaron Witten. “They wanted this game as bad as we did, we made one extra play that they didn’t make.”
The Bulldogs drew first blood on its second possession of the game, scoring on a quick 5-play, 44-yard drive. Sophomore quarterback Dayton Metcalf did the honors with a 14-yard scoring run at the 7:20 mark of the first quarter.
The drive featured three different rushers - Metcalf, Jesus Garcia and Hunter Brown.
But down 6-0, the Red Devils would settle down and keep the Bulldogs in check, and would eventually score their first touchdown of the night early in the second quarter.
Junior quarterback Jacob Test capped an 8-play, 50-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring pass to Taylor Folsom. Test added the extra point for an 8-6 lead, which the score would remain at the half.
“Offensively, we just dropped balls, missed assignments, just an ugly night on offense,” Witten said. “When that happens, somebody’s got to step up. Defense stepped up, played great. We were lucky enough to get some plays, and win the thing.”
Both teams had missed opportunities thanks to turnovers. The Red Devils recovered a fumble, and Hooker’s Hunter Brown intercepted two passes in the first half to stop promising Red Devil drives.
Hooker regained the lead with 14 seconds left in the third quarter with an eight-play drive that spanned 70 yards.
The key play was a pass from Metcalf to Brown that took the ball from the Hooker 31 to the Texhoma 39. Runs by Garcia, Metcalf and Taylor McBee brought it to the 4, where McBee scooted in for the score and a 12-8 Hooker advantage.
The Red Devils began to move the ball after Nathaniel Watson intercepted Metcalf at the Texhoma 28, driving across midfield before Metcalf recovered a Texhoma fumble.
But the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize and punted, setting the Devils up for the game-winning drive.
From its own 32, Texhoma used some trickery when Test lateralled to Garay, who launched a bomb to Nathan Knitig to the Hooker 40. Test passed 13 yards to Folsom, then scrambled to the Hooker 23.
Test then rolled right and threw a hail-Mary to Garay, who caught the tipped pass in the end zone for the winning score.
“We made a play, finally,” Witten said. “We’ve lost so many close ones.”
Texhoma out-gained Hooker 307-205 in total offense, with Test passing for 164 yards and leading Texhoma in rushing with 85 yards.
Will Gaillard had 63 total yards and 10 tackles, while Knitig had two catches for 64 yards and Folsom five catches for 45 yards.
Metcalf was 7-for-22 passing for 79 yards, while Garcia rushed 18 times for 65 yards, McBee added 17 yards on six carries and Metcalf added 52 yards on the ground.
Texhoma will open the playoffs next Friday night at Thomas-Fay-Custer, which finished second in District A-2 behind Hollis.