Cameron Yoe Rallies for 24-21 Semifinal Win, Ends White Oak’s Bid for State Title Game
ALLEN -- White Oak couldn't have asked for a better first half on Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
But Cameron Yoe couldn't have asked for a better second half, which was just enough to send the Roughnecks home a week short of reaching the state championship for the first time since 1957.
Yoe spoiled several White Oak opportunities after halftime and Michael Evan's 36-yard field goal with 6:44 left proved to be the game-winner in the Yoemen's 24-21 win over White Oak in the Class 2A Division I state semifinals.
Yoe (14-1), the defending state champ, will return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the second consecutive year to face either New Boston or Wall, which play at 6 p.m. Saturday at Waco Midway.
White Oak's Mojo magic ran out after beating then-No. 2 Newton and shutting out unbeaten Franklin in consecutive weeks. The Roughnecks (13-2) completely dominated the first half against Yoe and looked to be well on their way to another big win over a top-tier team.
But Yoe had other plans. As the fog in the air thickened in the second half, Yoe forgot about being outgained 305-21 in the first half, stiffened on defense and used enough offense to make it count.
Traion Smith, Yoe's 2,000-yard rusher, was held to 67 yards on 17 carries, but his longest carry of the game was a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21-21 with 10:27 left in the fourth quarter.
After a White Oak three-and-out, Yoe started from the Roughnecks' 46 and used seven plays to get to the 19-yard line. Michael Evan drilled a 36-yard field goal to give the Yoemen their first and only needed lead of the game.
"These guys need to hang their heads high for what they’ve done," White Oak coach Gerry Stanford said. "There’s nothing I can say to make them feel better right now, but all year long they’ve been doing what’s been asked of them, they’ve done a great job and we just came up three points short."
White Oak had two drives to respond after Evan's field goal. The first ended on the Yoe 28 after a Gale pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-7.
Yoe took over with 2:32 left in the game, and White Oak forced a punt to retake possession at its own 33 with 1:16 remaining and no timeouts.
Back-to-back completions to Jansen McCurdy and Cass Carr gave White Oak a first down at the Yoe 33, but Michael Gelner picked off a Dylan Gale pass -- his third interception of the game -- to end the Roughnecks' Cinderella run.
"Cameron Yoe fought back and capitalized on opportunities that we missed, so my hat's off to them. They earned it," Stanford said. "All year long (my players have) just fought and fought. They stayed the course and didn’t waiver. They didn’t waiver tonight either, but just fell short."
Gale matched his 2013 interception total (two) in the first half, but his three touchdown passes and a stifling White Oak defense were enough to take a 21-7 lead into halftime.
Yoe more than tripled its first-half offensive yardage on one play early in the second half. Smith took a screen pass on third-and-27, broke half a dozen tackles and trekked 68 yards to the White Oak 3-yard line. Jason Kopriva found Myles Brooks for a 1-yard touchdown two plays later to cut White Oak's lead to 21-14 with 9:38 left in the third quarter.
White Oak almost had an incredible answer.
The Roughnecks went for the end zone on fourth-and-18 at the Yoe 36, but Gale's pass to a diving McCurdy was ruled to hit the ground before he came up with it in the end zone, giving the ball back to Yoe.
White Oak had two more possessions start in Yoe territory, including one late in the third quarter after Smith lost a fumble on his own 32. But Riley Lakin, who rushed for a game-high 138 yards on 28 carries, lost the ball on the first play on the Roughnecks' ensuing drive.
"We knew there were some things we would struggle with against their defense, and we got a little tight in the second half," Stanford said. "We had some opportunities in the end zone, and (McCurdy's) touchdown called back really hurt. We knew we would have troubles at times and hoped we would be able to overcome it. We did a lot but just couldn’t in the end."
Yoe held the Roughnecks to 99 yards and six first downs in the second half. The Yoemen sacked Gale four times in the second half compared to one in the first, in which Gale rushed for 82 yards on 10 carries. He finished with 73 yards rushing and 193 passing on 15 of 33 with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Gale connected with Gabe Michael for touchdowns in each of the first two quarters, and his 2-yard touchdown pass with Lakin with no time remaining put the Roughnecks up 21-7 at the half.
No. 8 Cameron Yoe 24, White Oak 21
Class 2A Division I State Semifinal
At Eagle Stadium, Allen
White Oak 7 14 0 0 -- 21
Cameron Yoe 0 7 7 10 -- 24
WO -- Gabe Michael 2 pass from Dylan Gale (Jack Rogers kick), 7:36
CY -- Traion Smith 1 run (Michael Evan kick), 7:01
WO -- Michael 38 pass from Gale (Rogers kick), 2:20
WO -- Riley Lakin 2 pass from Gale (Rogers kick), 0:00
CY -- Myles Brooks 1 pass from Jason Kopriva (Evan kick), 9:38
CY -- Smith 20 run (Evan kick), 10:27
CY -- Evan 36 FG, 6:44
First Downs 23 11
Total Yards 404 182
Rushes-Yards 43-211 26-66
Passing Yards 193 116
Comp.-Att.-Int. 15-34-3 10-18-1
Punts-Avg. 4-32.0 6-41.2
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-40 7-66
RUSHING -- White Oak, Riley Lakin 28-138, Dylan Gale 15-73. Cameron Yoe, Traion Smith 17-67, Aaron Sims 2-9, Jalen White 1-1, Jason Kopriva 6-(-11).
PASSING -- White Oak, Gale 15-33-3--193, Gabe Michael 0-1-0--0. Cameron Yoe, Kopriva 10-18-1--116.
RECEIVING -- White Oak, Michael 6-82, Jansen McCurdy 3-56, Cass Carr 3-19, Hayden Nichols 2-34, Lakin 1-2. Cameron Yoe, Sims 4-22, Justin Pratt 2-14, John Washington 2-11, Smith 1-68, Myles Brooks 1-1.