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Damien Haskins Scores Game-Winning TD to Lift New Boston Past Pottsboro, 20-14

New Boston players take a picture with their trophy after beating Pottsboro 20-14 on Friday night. (Photo Courtesy Rich Hilliard for ETSN.fm)

[By Johnny Green, Special to ETSN.fm]

PARIS — For three quarters of Friday night’s Class 2A Region II semifinal at Wildcat Stadium, Pottsboro was able to keep New Boston’s record-setting running back Damien Haskins out of the end zone, something no other team has been able to do this season.

But, with the game tied, an interception by Lions linebacker Wes Teague gave Haskins another chance, and the Oregon State commit took advantage, ripping off a 33-yard TD run over the left side with 6:50 left in the game to give New Boston a 20-14 victory.

Then, after the Lions defense held Pottsboro, Haskins ran off the final 2:43 of the game, running the ball nine times. On his final carry, the 200-pounder converted fourth-and-4 by inches, and  the Lions simply had to take a knee on the next play.

Haskins finished with 228 yards on 40 carries to put him over the 3,000-yard rushing mark for the season. East Texas’ leading rusher now has 3,073 yards and 51 touchdowns through 13 games.

Haskins’ touchdown came on a fourth-and-10 play. The only other offensive score, a 24-yard pass from Aaron Conkleton to Jeff Gladney, also came on fourth down and long on the Lions’ first possession of the game.

Pottsboro (11-1) tied the game just before halftime on a 1-yard run by Thaddeus Finn, set up by a blocked punt. Then the Cardinals took the lead with 9:28 left in the game when Tanner Frye hit SMU-bound tight end Justin Lawler with a 42-yard bomb.

But then the Cardinals’ strategy of kicking short on the kickoff backfired when Gladney fielded the ball at the 35 and picked his way down the sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. Cole Pace’s first extra point kick bounced off the upright, but Pottsboro was offsides on the play, and his second kick tied the game at the 9:20 mark.

The win was the unbeaten Lions’ 12th straight win, giving them the school record. New Boston’s 1984 team won 11 straight, finishing 11-1-1.

New Boston and Daingerfield meet in a rematch of district rivals for the regional title next Friday in Mount Pleasant.

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