Written by Tommy Cummings
Kimball scores twice in last 4 minutes to edge rival South Oak Cliff, 20-19
As Kimball celebrated its 20-19 come-from-behind victory over South Oak Cliff, quarterback Traveon Thibodeaux joined the rest of the team in a chant heard throughout Kincaide Stadium.
“Never give up! Never give up!”
Kimball certainly didn’t Friday night, rallying with two touchdowns in the game’s final four minutes to hand South Oak Cliff its first loss in 10 games.
Both teams have secured playoff spots. Kimball (8-2, 6-1 in District 11-4A) has a Division I berth while South Oak Cliff (9-1, 6-1) also has clinched a spot.
In the end, Kimball had plenty of heroes.
Kimball’s Teriyon Gipson scored on a 16-yard run with 1:15 remaining, Thibodeaux completed six passes on the clinching 71-yard drive and 6-3, 280-pound defensive lineman Justin Manning returned a fumble 43 yards for a score.
“Justin is a big player on the team for us, a team leader, but it was a team effort,” said Kimball coach Carlton Nelson.
Thibodeaux, who completed 16 of 22 passes for 168 yards, left the game with an injury with 5:39 remaining and South Oak Cliff leading 19-6.
His understudy, Leandre Robert, came in but was unable to finish what appeared to be a promising drive. But on South Oak Cliff’s next possession, Manning broke into the backfield and scooped up the ball and outran the pursuit to make it 19-13 after Ricardo Zuniga’s extra-point kick with 3:51 left.
The Kimball defense forced a three-and-out and took over at its 29-yard line. From there, Thibodeaux was 6-for-6 and got Kimball to South Oak Cliff’s 16.
On the next play, Gipson slashed up the middle, cut to his left and scored with 1:15 showing. Zuniga’s extra-point kick gave Kimball the lead for the first time.
The defense held, and Gerald Warren clinched it with a midfield interception with 56 seconds left in the game.
“We needed something to wake us up,’ said South Oak Cliff coach Emmett Jones. “We’ve been getting by lately making a lot of mistakes and mental errors. We needed something to let us know we’re not invincible.”
South Oak Cliff gained its 19-6 lead on touchdown passes from quarterback Kenneth Arthur II in the first and third quarter and a 72-yard punt return by Michael Blanco with 9:53 remaining.
But Manning’s return seemed to ignite Kimball. Manning, who is being recruited by TCU and Oklahoma, said it was “a matter of who wanted it the most.”
Follow Tommy Cummings on Twitter at @tommycummings.