Written by Matt Wixon
Skyline's season ends in double-OT heart-breaker as penalties kill gutsy comeback attempt
GEORGETOWN — When it was finally over Saturday, after a three-hour game that featured two overtimes and 15 touchdowns, Skyline coach Reginald Samples gave one more instruction to his players.
“Hold your heads up!” he yelled to them on the field at Georgetown ISD Stadium.
The Skyline players had reason to hold their heads high, but it was tough after an inspired fourth-quarter comeback ended with a gut-wrenching 55-48 loss to Spring Westfield. The loss ended the season for Skyline (11-2) and sent Spring Westfield (13-0) into the Class 5A Division I Region II final against Allen at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin.
“The guys fought hard. I’m proud of them,” Samples said. “We just made some mistakes that you can’t make in those situations.”
The biggest one came after Westfield quarterback Cortland Greenwood scored on a 5-yard run in the second overtime.
First, Skyline was flagged for a personal foul on the tackle of Greenwood, so the Raiders had to start their second overtime possession from the Westfield 40 rather than the 25. And then, on Skyline’s first play, quarterback Sederian Copeland threw a touchdown pass to Jordan Neely that was wiped out by a chop block.
Instead of needing a point-after kick to tie the score, Skyline faced a first-and-25 from its own 45. It got worse when Copeland was sacked for a 7-yard loss on first down, and after a short pass on second down, Skyline faced third-and-26 at its 44. A deep incomplete pass brought up fourth down.
Copeland, who threw six touchdown passes in the game, couldn’t get off a pass on Skyline’s last play of the season. He was sacked, and Westfield players — who a year ago lost to Skyline on the same field in the same round of the playoffs — stormed on to the field.
Skyline players fell to the turf in disappointment.
“Penalties,” Samples said. “That’s what killed us.”
So did some mistakes in the first half. Midway through the second quarter, a low snap bounced through the legs of Skyline punter Derrick Dixon and Westfield’s Dekwan Dukes recovered it in the end zone to give Westfield a 27-13 lead.
Skyline battled back to cut Westfield’s lead to 34-27 early in the third quarter, but it looked like Skyline might be buried in the fourth. Westfield completed a 13-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that gave it a 41-27 lead with 10:46 left.
Dixon, a safety who also punts, turned the emotion, and momentum, with an interception that he returned 57 yards. Five plays later, Copeland passed to Neely for a 29-yard touchdown that made it 41-34 with 4:14 left.
Skyline then forced a three-and-out by Westfield’s offense, and the Raiders needed only two plays to tie the score: a 33-yard completion to William Sanders and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Harris.
“We just needed to get the ball back,” Samples said. “We knew we had a chance.”
Unfortunately for Skyline, it ran out of chances in the second overtime.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.