By DR. DAVID DAVIS
Last year, Manvel’s season came to a screeching halt as they fell to the Temple Wildcats 24-23 in the 5A Region III Div. I finals ending their quest to win a first-ever state title.
It is now 2017 and the Mavs found themselves in a re-match against the Wildcats in the same round with the winner advancing to the state semifinals and keeping their dreams alive for a state championship.
But this time, the results were reversed as Manvel avenged their loss to Temple last season 49-34 and now will face Angleton, another Wildcat team, at NRG on Friday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
“We didn’t talk to the kids at all about avenging the loss last year,” Manvel head coach Kirk Martin said. “We played a great team that happen to knock us out last year. In my experience that revenge deal rarely works out. With that being said, I’m sure it was in the back of the kids minds.”
This is only the second time since 2011 that the Mavs have advanced to a state semifinal contest. A win over Angleton would put them in the championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, Dec. 22 to face the winner of the Highland Park vs Denton Ryan semifinal match.
Highland Park, who won the 5A Div. I title last year, beat Lake Ridge 37-35 while Ryan beat Coronado 69-49 to advance to the other semifinal contest.
It is obvious this season that Manvel is focused and are playing together as a team.
“Every year is different but these seniors are really on a mission,” Martin said. “They really are. I’m proud of them. They’re a really tight-knit group and you got a lot of guys that are going places and all that stuff. But their feet are where they’re at.”
Manvel found the pay station first when Jalen Preston scored on a 3-yard run to complete a nine-play, 72-yard drive on their second possession of the game for a 7-0 lead with 5:48 left in the first quarter.
The big play of the game was pass from quarterback Kason Martin to Terrance Norman to the Temple 12 yard line.
Temple quickly answered in only a minute as they scored on a 56-yard scoring pass with 4:57 left in the first period to knot up the game at 7-7.
With 1:35 left in the first frame, Manvel went 64-yards in eight plays. The touchdown was highlighted by an almost sack of Martin when at the last second he tossed a short shuttle pass to Deneric Prince who took it 27-yards down the left side line to the end zone to a surprised Temple defense who thought they had sacked Martin.
Manvel missed the PAT leaving the score 13-7.
The Mavs increased the lead on their next possession after Trent Gordon intercepted Temple quarterback T.J. Rumfield giving the Manvel the ball at their own 49.
It took only five plays as Martin hit Kam Scott on a 33-yard scoring strike. The two-point conversion was good and the Mavs were up 21-7 at the 10:27 mark of the second quarter.
Temple set up at their own 20 following the ensuing kickoff, but fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Mavs at the 18.
Garrison Johnson capped off a short five-play drive with a 3-yard power run giving the Mavs a 27-7 lead following a missed two-point conversion with 8:41 left before halftime.
With 2:02 left before intermission, Temple got the ball on their own 49 and the Wildcats cut the lead to 27-14 with 1:18 left on a 31-yard scoring pass from Rumfield to D’Yonte Heckstall.
Temple received the second half kickoff, but Manvel’s Cecori Tolds picked off Rumfield giving the Mavs the ball at the Wildcats 21.
It only took seven-plays for running back Garrison Johnson to punch the ball across the goal line on a 1-yard run for a 34-14 advantage.
But the Wildcats were not going away as they scored on a 4-yard run by De’Jon Overton with 3:56 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 34-20.
Manvel answered with a 50-yard, nine-play drive capped off by a 1-yard run by Martin to make the score 40-20 after the two-point conversion came up short.
The Wildcats answered once again with an nine-play, 85-yard scoring drive as Rumfield hit Xavier Johnson on a 20-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 40-26.
But the Mavs blocked the PAT and Tolds picked up the ball and returned it for two-points to make the score 42-26 at the 11:01 mark of the fourth quarter.
After forcing Manvel to punt after three plays, the Wildcats scored again on a 2-yard pass from Rumfield to Heckstall to cut the margin to 42-34 with 7:02 left in the game.
Manvel wasn’t going to let the Wildcats back in the game as they put the nail in the coffin with a 65-yard, 12-play scoring drive that took 5:14 off the game clock.
On second-and-goal, Martin called his own number and scrambled across the goal line on an 8-yard scoring run to put the final score 49-34 on board with only 1:45 left in the game.
There was a lot offense by both teams, but the Manvel defense came up with some game-changing turnovers that was the difference in this year’s outcome.
Rumfield hit 36-of-58 passing for 394 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Manvel held the Wildcats to only 36 rushing yards.
Martin was 15-of-22 passing for 242 yards and touchdowns while also scoring a pair touchdowns rushing.
Ladarius Owens was the leading ball carrier for the Mavs with nine carries for 56 yards.
Scott had four catches for 101 yards and one TD.