The Northwest Texans stormed the field when the clock ran out Thursday, but the victory celebration was premature.
There were actually a few seconds left – enough for one more Keller Central play, and the Chargers’ last chance to rally and defeat Northwest.
But Northwest’s Sam Jennings leapt high to intercept a pass toward the end zone from Chargers quarterback Jake McClurg, cementing the Texan’s 26-22 victory Thursday night.
It was a sweet ending to the Texans’ final district game, which started out rough when a fumbled kickoff quickly led to a Keller Central touchdown.
The Keller squad scored again in the second quarter with a short run around the right side by Justin Manuatu.
Northwest came to life late in the second with a series of rushes by Quentin Thorpe. A failed kick would end the half 14-6 in Keller Central’s favor.
“We played bad in the first half,” said Bill Patterson, Northwest’s head coach. “But in the second we started cruising along, and then we kind of bogged down again.”
The Texans exploded out of the gate in the third, shutting down The Chargers’ opening series. Northwest’s Jesse Drummer nailed Chase Morrison with a 26-yard pass to bring them within two points at 14-12.
Then later in the third, Drummer completed a 20-yard pass to Brady Bird to put the Texans in the red zone again. A 5-yard penalty against the Chargers, plus a 6-yard run by Morrison gave Northwest the lead at 19-14 to end the third.
The Chargers would fight back hard and take the lead again late in the fourth. Keller Central’s Jake McClurg tossed Jake Nichols a 4-yard pass to put the Chargers back up, 20-19. A pass from McClurg to Corey Beahm made for a successful 2-point conversion, denying Northwest the opportunity to pass the Chargers with a field goal.
Keller Centrals’ lead was short-lived as Drummer found Emmanuel Moore for a 71-yard touchdown catch-and-run. The Chargers attempted to steal away the victory with a final series, but fell short.
Thorpe led Texan rushers with 84 yards, and Moore led in receiving with 100 yards. Northwest threw for 201 yards and ran for 115.
Northwest’s first-round playoff game is thenatively set for Friday at Birdville ISD Stadium against either Arlington Lamar or Arlington High.
NORTHWEST 26, KELLER CENTRAL 22
Keller … 7 … 7 … 0 … … 8 … – … 22
Northwest … 0 … 6 … 13 … … 7 … – … 26
Keller 10:20 – K.T. Smeby 3-yard run. Hunter Morrow kick.
Keller 7:23 – Justin Manuatu 2-yard run. Hunter Morrow kick.
Northwest :57 – Quentin Thorpe 2-yard run. Kick failed.
Northwest 9:41 – Chase Morrison 26-yard pass from Jesse Drummer. PAT failed.
Northwest :31 – Chase Morrison 6-yard run. Chris Hamilton kick.
Keller 1:42 – Jaxon Nichols 4-yard pass from Jake McClurg. 2-point conversion, Corey Beahm from Jake McClurg.
Northwest 1:21 – Emmanuel Moore 71-yard pass from Jesse Drummer. Chris Hamilton kick.
NORTHWEST … KELLER
First Downs … 12 … 10
Rushes-Yards … 38-115 … 4–151
Passing Yards … 201 … 57
Total Yards … 316 … 208
Comp-Att-Int … 12-26-2 … 8-16-2
Punt Avg. … 5-30 … 9-30
Fumbles-lost … 0-0 … 0-0
Penalties … 3-35 … 6-34
Rushing – Northwest,Quentin Thorpe 28-84. Keller, K.T. Smeby 16-58.
Receiving – Northwest, Emmanuel Moore 3-100. Keller, 3-24.
Passing – Northwest, Jesse Drummer 12-26-46-2. Keller Jake McClurg 8-16-50-1.