Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Cedar Hill storms back vs. Hurst Bell, earns rematch with Denton Guyer
IRVING - Cedar Hill's Jude Akupunku intercepted a pass inside the 1-yard line on fourth-and-goal with 36 seconds left to turn back Hurst L.D. Bell and preserve a 29-23 come-from-behind victory Friday night in a Class 5A Region I Division I bi-district playoff game at Irving Schools Stadium.
"That goal-line stand looked an awful lot like 2006," said Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire, referring to a stop his team made late against Garland in the 2006 Class 5A Division II state semifinals.
Cedar Hill (8-3) will face Denton Guyer, a 35-28 winner over Flower Mound Marcus, in next week's area round.
Bell (6-5), which led 23-7 at halftime, surrendered the lead on a 6-yard touchdown run by Cedar Hill quarterback Driphus Jackson with 5:53 remaining in the game. But on its last drive, Bell reached the Cedar Hill 1-yard line in the game's final minute.
Cedar Hill's defense knocked Bell back on three straight running plays before Bell tried a pass on fourth down. Akupunku, in the middle of a pile of players, jumped up, grabbed the interception and fell down at the 1.
Bell backup quarterback Kyle Romano started and split time with James Mauro. Romano rushed for 121 yards in the first half but was mostly contained in the second half.
Cedar Hill got off to a poor start on the opening kickoff, when a late decision to return the kick out of the end zone set the District 5-5A co-champion up at its 2-yard-line.
Four plays later, Bell's defense smothered Cedar Hill punter Ryan Sparkman in the end zone for a safety 1:25 into the game.
Bell's defense dominated Cedar Hill throughout the first half, holding one of the most prolific offenses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to 17 yards rushing on 16 carries and 47 yards passing.
Cedar Hill turned the tables on Bell in the second half, avenging the first-half safety by blocking a punt to get a safety of its own to tie the score, 23-23, at the end of the third quarter.