Carthage Outlasts Midlothian Heritage in OT Classic, 50-49
FRISCO -- Once the game went into overtime, Scott Surratt's decision was made.
When Carthage scored, it would go for two.
The moment came and Surratt sent his team on the field with a call for Kelvontay Dixon. He had little anxiety about whether Dixon would score.
“It’s gonna be there," Surratt told Dixon. "You’re gonna have to break a tackle or two, but we’re gonna get it in your hands. Let’s go score.’”
Dixon took the handoff and went to his left. Defenders were closing in, close to stopping him short. He dove for the final yard, breaking the plane just before rolling out of bounds to find himself at the bottom of a dog pile.
Carthage didn't lead the entire game, but Dixon's two-point conversion gave the Bulldogs a 50-49 victory against Midlothian Heritage in a 4A Division I Region III semifinal game Friday. They also improve their winning streak to 39 games, the longest active streak in the state.
“We made enough plays to win obviously," Surratt said. "It wasn’t perfect. We knew they were very talented. They presented us with matchup problems against our defense. The big wideouts, the running game, screens. The quarterback was phenomenal. We made enough to win at the end."
Carthage (13-0) trailed by a touchdown with one second to play. With its season on the line, Surratt called for a throw to senior Kaden Holcomb. With only 3 yards to gain, Holcomb caught the ball and reached for the end zone, barely breaking the plane before being shoved to the ground.
"It hadn’t worked too well the previous two times that we ran it," Holcomb said. "When we called it, I was a little skeptical, but you’ve got to trust coach Surratt. He’s the best coach in the state of Texas.”
The Jaguars (11-2) scored first in overtime on a 23-yard pass from Landon Ledbetter to Haydon Wiginton. Carthage followed that with a 4-yard run from Mason Courtney for its overtime touchdown before Dixon sealed the game.
The Bulldogs converted three of their five fourth down attempts, including twice for touchdowns. Dixon converted the third, a 30-yard catch that set up the tying score as regulation ended. Its the reason why Surratt said he didn't go for two at the end of regulation. Dixon was gassed after the big play to set up the touchdown.
Carthage trailed by two touchdowns with 7:01 remaining in the third quarter. The Bulldogs responded by scoring twice before the quarter was over to tie the game. First, Gunner Capps hit Baylor Colle for a 35-yard touchdown on fourth down.
With less than 30 seconds in the quarter, Carthage tied the game on another pass, this time from Capps to Tucker Smith.
“We’re the hardest working team there is," Holcomb said. "When we get knocked down, we’re gonna get back up and play until the end of the whistle. That’s what it takes.”
Heritage got off to a quick start, leading 21-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Jaguars started by capitalizing on a fumbled snap. Ledbetter was a perfect 3-for-3 on the Jaguars' opening drive, but it was a trick play that allowed them to score. Ledbetter threw a swing pass to running back Dre Washington, who passed to an open Haydon Wiginton for a 12-yard score.
That got things going, as Washington capped off the following drive with a 25-yard touchdown. Heritage scored on its first three drives, finishing with first quarter with a surprising 21-6 lead.
Carthage, however, rallied in the second quarter.
After being stopped once on fourth-and-goal already, the Bulldogs converted a second chance. Capps hit Roshabrius Garrett on a slant for a 6-yard touchdown and Kelvontay Dixon scored the two-point conversion to make it a one-possession game.
Carthage forced two turnovers in the second quarter, the biggest of which came from De'Aundrey Bowman. Not even two minutes after Garrett's touchdown, Bowman evened the score at 21, returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown. But the Jaguars weren't finished.
Heritage's offense found its stride again, marching downfield and milking the clock. With just 20 seconds remaining before halftime, Ledbetter passed to the back corner of the end zone to Jay Wilkerson for an 11-yard touchdown.
The Jaguars entered halftime with a 28-21 advantage.
Capps led the Bulldogs with 405 yards and five touchdown passes. Dixon had 11 catches for 140 yards.
Heritage's receiving duo of Langston Anderson and Jay Wilkerson combined for 18 catches and 298 yards.
Carthage will face Henderson in the 4A Division I Region III final at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lobo Stadium in Longview. It is a rematch not only of district rivals, but also of last season's regional final game, which the Bulldogs won, 35-0.
“It’ll be four times in two years," Surratt said. "They’ve got a great team. We were lucky to get after them the first game, but we know it’s going to be a lot tougher this game.”
Carthage 50, Midlothian Heritage 49
Class 4A Division I, Region III Semifinal
At Ford Center, Frisco
Midlothian Heritage 21 7 7 7 7 – 49
Carthage 6 15 14 7 8 – 50
MH – Hayden Wiginton 12 pass from Dre Washington (Matt Stanton kick), 8:16.
MH – Washington 25 run (Stanton kick), 6:17.
CAR – Kel Williams 46 pass from Gunner Capps (kick blocked), 4:19.
MH – Langston Anderson 3 run (Stanton kick), 0:46.
CAR – Roshabrius Garrett 6 pass from Capps (Kelvontay Dixon two-point), 5:18.
CAR – De'Aundrey Bowman 45 interception return (Luis Piedra kick), 3:53.
MH – Jay Wilkerson 11 pass from Landon Ledbetter (Stanton kick), 0:20.
MH—Washington 37 run (Stanton kick), 7:01.
CAR—Baylor Colle 35 pass from Capps (Piedra kick), 3:47.
CAR – Tucker Smith 34 pass from Capps (Piedra kick), 0:23.
MH—Wilkerson 8 pass from Ledbetter (Stanton kick), 4:10.
CAR—Kaden Holcomb 3 pass from Capps (Piedra kick), 0:00.
MH—Wiginton 23 pass from Ledbetter (Stanton kick).
CAR—Mason Courtney 4 run (Dixon two-point).
First Downs 24 17
Total Yards 583 537
Rushes-Yards 29-214 22-132
Passing Yards 369 405
Comp.-Att.-Int. 27-40-1 24-37-0
Punts-Avg. 1-37.0 2-34.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 1-1
Penalties-Yards 11-98 8-60
RUSHING—Midlothian Heritage, Dre Washington 12-106, Landon Ledbetter 8-72, Brody Greeson 5-30, Langston Anderson 4-6. Carthage, Mason Courtney 13-77, Tucker Smith 3-35, Kelvontay Dixon 4-14, Gunner Capps 1-11, Team 1-(-5).
PASSING—Midlothian Heritage, Ledbetter 25-38-1--326, Washington 2-2-0--43. Carthage, Capps 24-36-0--405, Dixon 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING—Midlothian Heritage, Anderson 9-171, Jay Wilkerson 9-127, Haydon Wiginton 2-35, Washington 6-30, Cullen Stone 1-6. Carthage, Dixon 11-140, Baylor Colle 2-79, Kel Williams 2-54, Kaden Holcomb 5-50, Tucker Smith 2-50, Courtney 1-26, Roshabrius Garrett 1-6.