CORINTH – Lake Dallas was going for the kill.
The Falcon defense had stopped Prosper Rock Hill junior running back Donovan Shannon 3 yards short of the line to gain on a fourth-down play, giving Lake Dallas possession at the Blue Hawks’ 32-yard line and the opportunity to build on a 14-point lead.
That’s where things fell apart for Lake Dallas.
Rock Hill junior Joseph McGinnis II recovered a Falcon fumble on the very next play and that set the stage for a wild finish.
Junior wide receiver Jayden Hall caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Brenner Cox with 15 seconds remaining and Rock Hill held on to earn a 34-28 win at Falcon Stadium for its first win in program history.
Cox, a Texas commit for baseball, finished 12-of-20 through the air for 155 yards and also rushed 15 times for 87 yards with three touchdowns. Shannon was the workhorse for Rock Hill’s running game, carrying 17 times for 96 yards.
The Blue Hawks’ (1-6 overall, 1-5 District 7-5A Division II) sideline jumped up and down in celebration after a pass by Falcon junior quarterback Brendan Sorsby sailed out of bounds as time expired.
“Rock Hill football is set up to be something special,” said Mark Humble, Rock Hill head coach. “All we’ve done is get better every week. You’re talking about kids that didn’t play any varsity football with a new staff, and all we’ve done is got better every week. We’ve been in every football game. Coming out and winning this was huge for our program.”
The timeline for Rock Hill to get to this moment started in January. Humble, the former offensive coordinator at Frisco Lone Star, was hired just after the new year, but his program was met by numerous setbacks, including the cancellation of spring practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rock Hill started the season with six straight losses, but progress was being made every week. The Blue Hawks lost 24-17 to Princeton on Oct. 19 and last week held a fourth-quarter lead before falling to Frisco Memorial, 35-33.
On Friday, Rock Hill remained steadfast despite a slew of mistakes that allowed Lake Dallas (1-7, 0-6) to take a two-touchdown lead.
Trailing 14-13 with less than a minute remaining in the first half, the Blue Hawks were driving deep inside Falcon territory. However, Lake Dallas sophomore defensive back Xinjin Gomez got one foot down inbounds in the back of the end zone for an interception.
Even though just 19 seconds remained in the first half, Lake Dallas kept its foot on the gas. Starting at their own 20, the Falcons needed three plays and a little trickery to reach the end zone.
Sorsby threw a pass to sophomore Evan Weinberg at the 40-yard line. Weinberg handed off the ball to sophomore Micaiah Brooks on a hook-and-ladder play and Brooks ran the remaining 40 yards for a touchdown and a 20-14 Falcons lead.
Sorby had a big night both on the ground and through the air. He threw for 170 yards and carried 16 times for 128 yards with two total touchdowns. Sophomore Aundre Minnifield was the workhorse for the Falcons, carrying 21 times for 65 yards.
Lake Dallas gained more momentum after a 56-yard run by Sorsby midway through the third quarter. That set up the Falcons at the Rock Hill 20. Five plays later, Sorsby capped off the drive with a 2-yard keeper to give Lake Dallas a 28-14 lead.
Rock Hill appeared in deep trouble after Shannon was stopped short of the line to gain on a fake punt at its own 32, but Lake Dallas fumbled on the very next play.
It was one of several mistakes on the night for the Falcons. Rock Hill ran back a muffed punt for a touchdown, recovered an onside kick and blocked a 24-yard field goal attempt by Lake Dallas.
Blue Hawks senior running back Sylis Ivy ran five yards for a touchdown with three seconds remaining in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 28-21.
Rock Hill sophomore Keyoni Morrison recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Lake Dallas 41.
Cox scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 11:24 left in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 28.
Lake Dallas had a go-ahead 24-yard field goal attempt with 5:34 remaining in the game blocked, and that proved to be the start of a wild comeback for Rock Hill.
For the Falcons, it was their seventh consecutive loss after they began the season with a win over Denton. Lake Dallas will look to finish the season on a positive note at 1 p.m. Friday against Frisco Memorial. Rock Hill hosts Frisco that same day at 7 p.m.
“I can’t stress how proud I am of these kids, this program, our school district to do these things with all of the stuff that is going on in our world,” Humble said. “The community support, the buy-in, but more importantly, things like this don’t happen with a first-year program. To come back after having some adversity in the first half and find a way to win at the end, that’s what Rock Hill football is about, and I’m proud of these kids.”