DALLAS – Sachse was a two-point conversion shy of potentially walking away from the 2019 Cotton Bowl Stadium Prep Showcase 2-0.
Instead, with the Mustangs down, 21-19, to Euless Trinity with a minute and change remaining, sophomore Jordan Nabors was stuffed out of the wildcat to put the finishing touches on a Trojan win by the same count.
The narrow setback couldn’t have been predicted by the teams’ performance in the first half of action. Though the stats through two quarters of play inside the Cotton Bowl weren’t overwhelming lopsided, as Sachse had eight first downs and 113 yards of offense to Trinity’s eight and 185 yards, the score told a different story.
The Trojans rode a punishing drive late in the second quarter, first-half rushing touchdowns from Ollie Gordon and AJ Barnett and a 119-13 advantage in total yards in the second frame to a 14-3 lead at the break.
Still, the Mustangs fought back to win the second half of play, which Sachse head coach Mark “Red” Behrens said was his program’s only focus.
“I told them at halftime – I said, ‘Hey, guys, we’re going to go out and win the second half,’” he said. “‘That’s our goal. Win the second half.’”
The Mustangs again utilized more than one signal-caller in the matchup, as junior Parker Wells got the starting nod but split time with Nabors. Senior Xavier Forman, who Behrens said was dealing with illness throughout the week, was essentially held out.
Behrens said the multi-pronged look under center will likely fade in favor of a heavier workload for Wells moving forward, though both Nabors and Forman will still see plenty of action.
“That’s why we stuck (Wells) back in in the second half,” he said. “They’re all good, quality kids. … We’re just trying to get better and get ready for district. I’m hoping that (the quarterback situation) gets a little more solid, but we’re going to keep throwing those other guys in. They both have something special.”
The Mustangs got out to a 3-0 lead with just over four minutes to play in the first quarter, breaking a combined two-drive drought that ate up most of the period. After another pair of dueling punts, of which Sachse’s was an 11-yarder from deep within the Mustangs’ end that set up the Trojans at the Sachse 19, Gordon broke loose outside on the first play of the ensuing drive to put Trinity on top, 7-0.
Sachse had a chance to respond early in the second frame, when the Mustangs faced a short fourth down from the Trojans’ 16. Instead, though, back-to-back false starts pushed the Mustangs back, where an attempt from Wells on fourth-and-long fell incomplete.
Late in the quarter, Trinity extended its halftime lead to an 11-point margin with an emphatic, six-play, 88-yard drive of only rushes capped by Barnett’s 9-yard scamper.
“We knew that they kind of smash-mouthed us there in the second quarter, and we didn’t respond,” Behrens said. “We made some adjustments, and (the defense) came out in the second half and played better. I told them we’ve got to get to the point where we can rotate people. If you’re a backup guy, you’ve got to come in and do your job.”
Wells finished the night 13-for-25 passing for 151 yards and a pair of scores against one interception, while Nabors had 77 receiving yards and a late score on a 21-yard strike from Wells that set up the do-or-die conversion attempt.
The Mustangs appeared to snatch the momentum away from the Trojans early in the second half, when a stop on fourth down was eventually converted into a lengthy Sachse drive and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wells to junior J’Shon Henderson.
However, a long keeper from Trinity’s Marcus Ervin on the ensuing drive set up an eventual 2-yard score from Gordon, and an apparent touchdown for the Mustangs on the following kickoff was waived off for taunting. Two plays later, Wells was intercepted by Trinity’s Sateki Wolfgramm in the red zone, ending the Mustang threat.
A 24-yard field goal near the start of the final frame from Sachse sophomore Alex Diaz would get the Mustangs to within a score at 21-13, which helped get the program within striking distance. After a stop from the Mustang defense, which bowed up throughout the second half to hold Trinity to the lone score, Wells hit Nabors for the last-gasp touchdown.
Sachse will test its 1-1 mark against Plano East next week, a program that suited up behind the Mustangs at the Cotton Bowl Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Kimbrough Stadium in Plano.
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