Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Broncos head to playoffs
THE COLONY -- Over the course of the year, the Denton Broncos have lived on the edge. Friday night was no different.
For the fifth time this season, a Broncos game came down to the last play, and for the fourth time, they came out victorious.
The 28-25 victory over The Colony was the biggest of the four. Entering the game as heavy underdogs, the Broncos stunned The Colony to grab the fourth and final playoff berth out of District 4-4A.
Denton (4-6, 2-4) will enter the playoffs for the first time since 2002, where it will meet Hereford in a bi-district game set for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater.
"I'm kind of numb right now. I'm just so proud of all these kids and coaches who have worked so hard," said Denton head coach Randy Patzkowski. "These kids have fought all year and overcome so much. We have improved so much as a program, but we still aren't where we want to be just yet."
The Broncos got something they had been missing over the past three weeks -- strong play from their offensive line -- as they ran for 270 yards and added another 190 through the air. Dentton Hudspeth led the way, carrying 26 times for 142 yards and one score and completing six of eight passes for 190 yards and a score.
"Our offensive line did a great job up front of handling their kids," Patzkowski said. "They have been beleaguered all year, but when we needed them tonight, they stepped up. I just can't say enough about them."
Denton had a chance to wrap up the game with just over five minutes to go. The Broncos had a 21-18 lead and had a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line. Denzell King burst through the line down to the 2-yard line, where the ball popped loose and The Colony recovered. A personal foul on Denton set up the Colony at the 18-yard line.
Six plays and 82 yards later, The Colony was on the board to grab a 25-21 lead with 3:38 to play. The Broncos, as they had done all year, battled back by taking just 1:40 to regain the lead 28-25 on Hudspeth's 5-yard burst.
Denton then recovered a fumble by The Colony on the ensuing kickoff and appeared to have the game wrapped up on a Hudspeth run. But a penalty -- the Broncos' 11th of the game for 122 yards -- forced them to punt.
The Colony (4-6, 1-5) got the ball and methodically moved the ball down the field, getting it to the 31-yard line with 10 seconds to go. Denton then picked off a pass to seal the victory.
"We've just got to learn to protect the ball when we get in key situations," Patzkoswksi said. "If we get a touchdown there and don't fumble the ball or make the penalty, the game is over. That is just something we've got to learn."
The Colony grabbed the 18-14 lead on its first drive of the third quarter, getting a 7-yard run from Mark Ashmead, but Denton answered back with a 44-yard pass from Hudspeth to Manny Mendoza.
Garrett Simpson threw for three scores and 281 yards in the loss. He completed 13 passes for 176 yards and three scores to Gerald Thomas.
In a game that was scoreless after one quarter, Denton took a 14-12 lead into the locker room. It was a lead that could have been much bigger for the Broncos if not for mistakes. They turned the ball over once, failed to score on one turnover, missed a field goal and committed five penalties for 62 yards.
Denton took a 14-6 lead with 6:37 left in the half when Hudspeth found Matthew Perry over the middle for a 79-yard catch and run. The Bronco defense did its part by forcing The Colony to punt, but on third down Denton failed to pick up a loose ball and the Cougars recovered it.
Six plays later, they got an 8-yard pass from Simpson to Thomas to make it 14-12. The two-point conversion try was no good.
The Broncos struck first in the contest when Darren Smith scored from 1 yard out to finish off a seven-play, 45-yard drive that was set up by a Luis Vega fumble recovery.
Denton 28, The Colony 25
Denton 7 7 7 7 - 28
The Colony 0 12 6 7 - 25
D - Darren Smith 1 run (Michael Husbands kick)
TC - Gerald Thomas 2 pass from Garrett Simpson (kick failed)
D - Matthew Perry 79 pass from Dentton Hudspeth (Michael Husbands kick)
TC - Gerald Thomas 8 pass from Garrett Simpson (pass failed)
TC - Mark Ashmead 7 run (kick blocked)
D - Manny Mendoza 44 pass from Dentton Hudspeth (Michael Husbands kick)
TC - Gerald Thomas 31 pass from Garrett Simpson (Nate Fox kick)
D - Dentton Hudspeth 5 run (Michael Husbands kick)
First Downs 19 17
Rushing Yards 54-270 20-56
Passing Yards 190 281
Passing 6-8-0 27-42-1
Punts-Avg 4-31.5 3-32.3333
Penalties 11-122 6-45
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 4-3
Rushing - D: Dentton Hudspeth 26-142, Denzell King 12-57, Darren Smith 13-42, Jerome Emory 2-30, Matthew Perry 1--1, TC: Mark Ashmead 11-32, Nathan Alvarez 3-19, Garrett Simpson 5-3, Terren Carter 1-2.
Passing - D: Dentton Hudspeth 6-8-0-190, TC: Garrett Simpson 27-42-1-281.
Receiving - D: Matthew Perry 5-146, Manny Mendoza 1-44, TC: Gerald Thomas 13-179, Terren Carter 7-77, Cole Frizzell 5-38, Nate Jones 1-14, Gage Sharp 1-11.