Written by Corbett Smith
Cedar Hill survives 21-point Copperas Cove rally in fourth quarter, advances to area round of playoffs
Failure on late onside kick prevents Copperas Cove from coming back
HEWITT — It went from celebratory to serious pretty quick.
After building a 28-point lead with little over 14 minutes remaining in its Class 5A Division II bi-district game against Copperas Cove, Cedar Hill watched its lead dribble away.
After Copperas Cove scored 21 consecutive fourth-quarter points, senior wide receiver Brandon Harris recovered an onside kick with 1:36 remaining, securing the 35-28 win and helping Cedar Hill advance to face Denton Ryan game in the area round at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dragon Stadium in Southlake.
“It got tight, real tight,” Harris said about the game’s closing minutes.
Cedar Hill (7-4) held a commanding 28-7 halftime lead; Copperas Cove (7-4) had little answer for Texas A&M pledge Laquvionte Gonzalez or Cedar Hill’s stifling defense.
Gonzalez rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns, leaving the game early in the third quarter because of dehydration.
Xavier Washington and Doevon Dillard provided enough pressure for Cedar Hill’s defensive front — Washington had three sacks — that the defense could double-cover Copperas Cove’s Rashaun Gibson while keeping Cove’s running game in check.
That plan worked, until the start of the fourth quarter.
Copperas Cove quarterback Robbie Seybold started finding his other receivers, most notably Phillip Baptiste, and its offense started to move the ball.
Vondareaz King scored on a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter to close the deficit to 35-14. Cedar Hill’s special teams followed the score with a blunder on an onsides kick, attempting to field the ball before it crossed 10 yards.
“We put ourselves in a bad situation, not handling that onsides kick, and giving them momentum,” Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said.
Copperas Cove scored twice in the next 10 minutes, including a 7-yard pass to Gibson with 1:36 remaining, to turn a blowout into a one-touchdown game.
“They picked up the pace, and we didn’t get stuff checked all the way across,” McGuire said. “It’s something we’ve got to fix, but we get to fix it.”
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN