Written by Corbett Smith
Mansfield Timberview tops Abilene Cooper with TD with 16 seconds left
ABILENE — When Mansfield Timberview quarterback Charles Taylor turned the corner, he said all he saw was the end zone — never mind the three or four Abilene Cooper players who stood in his way.
“I saw it opening up from the start,” Taylor said. “When I saw them all spread out, I knew I had to cut it up and get in there.”
Taylor’s 25-yard option keeper with 16 seconds left gave Timberview a 29-25 win in the Class 5A Division II regional round, beating Abilene Cooper on their home field.
Taylor — who rushed for 147 yards and three scores — broke three tackles en route to the final score, putting Timberview in next week’s Division II regional final against Abilene.
“Golly, he broke a great arm tackle,” Timberview coach Mark Walker said. “I thought he was going down. But that’s just what he does. The good Lord blessed him with some talent, and we’re very blessed.”
Timberview (11-2) battled back from a 16-0 first-quarter deficit, caused by two Taylor pitches off of the option.
Taylor scored with 5:22 remaining in the game to give Timberview its first lead, 22-19. It looked as if Timberview recovered a pop-up kickoff on the ensuing kickoff.
The officials, however, ruled that an Abilene Cooper player had called for a fair catch, a call that Walker hotly disputed.
“We have every right for that ball; it’s a free ball on the kickoff,” Walker said. “In that case, we’d fair catch it every time. ‘You hit us, it’s our ball.’ ”
Cooper (9-4) scored on the subsequent drive, with Matt Watson retaking the lead on a 6-yard run with 2:21 remaining.
Taylor, running back Josh Smith and wide receiver Khalid Connor smartly moved Timberview back down the field, setting up the final play.
“We had to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands,” Walker said.