Cimarron-Memorial football coach Rod Vollan was happy to see Legacy’s potential game-tying extra point sail wide left, but he knew it was too soon to celebrate.
“We were pretty excited,” he said. “But the thing is we checked around for a flag this time.”
There wasn’t one to be found Friday night as the fifth-ranked Spartans earned a 21-20 road win over No. 2 Legacy in the Sunset Region semifinals.
The ending was eerily similar to the regular-season meeting between the teams on Oct. 1. In that contest, Andres Ortiz missed what would have been a game-tying extra point in overtime, but a penalty for running into the kicker gave the Longhorns (11-1) a chance to try again, and they instead made a 2-point conversion for the win.
Ortiz again had a chance to tie the game with an extra point Friday, this time with 2:34 left in regulation. He had made his first two extra points in the game, but the pivotal try missed its mark.
Still, Vollan knew the game wasn’t over.
“In the excitement of having the lead, we had to try to stay mentally focused,” he said. “They were going to try an onside kick, which fortunately went out of bounds. Then it was up to our offensive line to get us two first downs.”
The line, along with the Spartans’ running backs, were up to the challenge.
James Poole ran for 20 yards on Cimarron’s first play after the failed onside kick and then picked up 6 yards on a third-and-5 to ice it. Poole ran for a game-high 121 yards for the Spartans (9-2).
“It was a relief, but I didn’t get too happy because the game was far from over,” Poole said of the missed kick. “I went over and (told) the offensive line that we had to get ready to play, and they did.”
Poole opened the scoring with a 53-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Stephen Nixon added two long scores as the Spartans took a 21-14 halftime lead.
Nixon had an 82-yard run and an 85-yard reception for TDs in the first half. He finished with two catches for 131 yards and 99 rushing yards on five carries.
“Our offensive line played great,” he said. “They did big work in practice, and it (carried over).”
Legacy answered each of Cimarron’s two first-quarter touchdowns.
Devin Wiedemann ran for a 5-yard touchdown and then threw a 40-yard TD pass to Marcus McCollum to tie the score at 14 after the first quarter.
Nixon’s catch accounted for the only points of the second quarter, however, and the score held up until Legacy’s touchdown in the final minutes.
“I just think that early on both teams took some big punches and made big plays, and then in the second half it settled into more of the game we expected,” Vollan said. “Just tough, tough plays on each side of the ball.”
Martell Crockett set up the Longhorns’ fourth-quarter scoring drive with a 33-yard punt return and then carried the bulk of the workload on the methodical six-minute possession that was capped by Wiedemann’s second rushing TD.
Deshae Edwards had 112 yards on 17 carries to lead Legacy.