Chad McKinney’s Blocked PAT In Overtime Sends Hughes Springs to State Quarterfinals
WHITEHOUSE — The game began and ended with Chad McKinney.
The Hughes Springs kicker blocked a Centerville extra point in overtime that gave the Mustangs a 28-27 win over the Tigers in a Class 2A Division II Region III semifinal at Wildcat Stadium on Friday.
Hughes Springs (12-0) moves on to play the winner between Elysian Fields and Arp in the regional final next weekend.
“I don’t know what to say, to be honest with you, I’m kind of flustered, ” said Hughes Springs coach Chris Edwards. “Keep playing is what I told the guys when (Centerville) came back and sent it into overtime. That’s what high school football is all about. Hate to see someone lose, but sure am glad it wasn’t us.”
Down 21-7 with less than nine minutes remaining, Centerville (11-1) running back Jamal High scored on a 5-yard touchdown run at the 3:45 mark, completing a 14-play drive to get within seven of the Mustangs, 21-14.
When Hughes Springs couldn’t convert a fourth down on its next possession to seal the victory, Centerville got the ball back with 1:47 remaining. Tigers quarterback Garrett Chase took his team 65 yards, hitting Cort Harris with a 5-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Hughes Springs got on the board first, thanks to a Trenton Shelton 11-yard touchdown strike to Dustin Garamillo. McKinney’s extra point made it 28-21. And when High punched it in from one yard out, it looked like double overtime was imminent. But McKinney blocked the Centerville extra point and it sent the Hughes Springs’ side into a frenzy.
Hughes Springs looked in complete control for most of the game, especially on the defensive side. The Mustangs only rendered three first-half first downs, and limited Centerville to 93 yards through the first three quarters.
Right before the end of the first quarter, Hughes Springs’ Eric Berryhill scooped up teammate Michael Martinez’s fumble at the 4-yard line and rumbled in for an early, 7-0 lead. Martinez, who was injured in the fourth quarter and did not return, finished with a game-high 143 yards and a touchdown.
Centerville would tie it 7-7 when Chase hit Tully Pickens for a 65-yard scoring bomb at the 6:43 mark in the second quarter. Hughes Springs took the ensuing kickoff and drove 61 yards on five plays, culminating in a Martinez 5-yard touchdown run. It gave Hughes Springs the 14-7 advantage going into halftime.
Chase was 8 of 17 for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Pickens had 107 yards and a touchdown on six catches.
Hughes Springs broke out a little trickery early in the fourth. On fourth down, the Mustangs ran the “swinging gate” play where the ball was directly snapped to wide receiver Garamillo, who then took it around the edge for 32 yards and the score. With only the offensive center on the line, Centerville was clearly confused.
Hughes Springs’ 13-play drive that started with 2:38 left in the third and ended at 9:34 in the fourth gave the Mustangs a 21-7 margin and all the momentum.
“I told the guys to keep their heads up and believe in what we do,” said Centerville coach Kyle Hardee. “We’ve been a second-half team all year, and we’ve got some playmakers. We just came up one short. It was a classic high school football, and it’s just a shame anybody had to lose a ballgame like this.”
High and punter Ryan Payne were bright spots. High led the Tigers in rushing with 62 yards and one touchdown, while Payne had seven punts for a 40-yard average, including three pinned inside the 10-yard line.