Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Ennis defense returns 3 interceptions to reach 4A semis in frigid, icy regionals
Freezing temperatures and a steady, light rain left a thin layer of ice on the field at Kincaide Stadium.
But sure-footed Ennis didn’t seem to mind.
Ennis returned three interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal a 43-21 victory against Mesquite Poteet in a Class 4A Division II Region II final Thursday.
“The secondary had a little pick party tonight,” coach Jack Alvarez said. “And they invited everybody in Ennis.”
Taylor Thompson returned two interceptions for scores, and Terrell Hearne added another, all inside a five-minute window during the fourth quarter.
Thompson had returns of 54 and 53 yards, and Hearne went for 62 to seal the win with 3:50 remaining.
Undefeated Ennis (14-0) advances to face the winner between Aledo and Wichita Falls in the state semifinals.
It will be Ennis’ first trip to the semifinals since 2004.
“We’re bringing it back,” Thompson said of the program’s return to the semis. “This is bringing the community and the fans together, everybody in our little town.”
For the second week in a row, Ennis saved its best for the second half. Ennis scored 30 straight points to open the second half, a week after scoring 28 points in the third quarter to beat Frisco.
Standout running backs Terence Williams and Nick Gabriel moved the chains on offense, collecting a combined 175 yards and a touchdown apiece.
The biggest impact came on defense, though. Poteet (12-2) gained only 96 yards in the second half — and 63 of those came during its final drive.
Thompson’s first interception, with 8:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, gave Ennis a 31-14 lead. His second, four minutes later, put Ennis up, 37-14.
“We were in a zone,” Thompson said. “The quarterback never saw me. I just went and got it.”
Hearne grabbed his interception on the first play of Poteet’s next series, putting the game out of reach with 3:50 to go.
Poteet built its first-half lead behind running back Jaylon Smith, who rushed for 157 yards and a score.
The more Poteet fell behind, the tougher it was to come back. The weather wreaked havoc with Poteet’s passing game, and quarterback Lane Novy was 3-of-16 for 14 yards. He threw for 433 yards and six touchdowns in Poteet’s regional semifinal victory against Whitehouse.