FRISCO – The Malakoff Tigers had to earn their first appearance in the state championship game.

Malakoff drove 82 yards and scored with three minutes remaining, then came up with a stop on defense to preserve its 23-21 win over Brock in Friday’s Class 3A Division I semifinal at the Ford Center.

The Tigers (12-2) will play either Grandview (12-2) or Yoakum (12-2) at 7 p.m. next Thursday night from AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the title.

“The kids fought so hard,” said Malakoff coach Jamie Driskell. “Brock, obviously they set the bar. And to come back and beat them the way we did, our kids are showing great heart and great resilience. They’re fighters.”

Keevie Rose scored on a 2-yard run, which capped the eight-play drive. The score was set up by a pair of 30-plus yard completions from sophomore quarterback Dorian Peace.

“The coaches just told us to stay calm, we’ve got one more half,” said Peace, whose team trailed 21-17 at halftime. “I had to get the receivers calm on the sideline. I told them, ‘I’m gonna put it there. Just catch it.’”

A 30-yard completion to running back RJ Carr on a screen set the tone, and got Malakoff into Brock (13-2) territory. Carr gained 15 extra yards after contact along the far sideline.

“They were bringing so much heat that we were hoping the screen would work,” Driskell said. “RJ caught it, got all he could. I thought he went out of bounds, but he kept fighting. That particular run shows how this team fights. He could’ve gone out of bounds but chose not to.”

Peace then hit Andres Garrett for a 34-yard completion, which got Malakoff inside the Brock 15.

A pass interference penalty on Brock on fourth-and-7 from the 11 immediately preceded the Rose’s game-winning touchdown run.

Peace completed 9 of 15 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s a war horse, man,” Driskell said of Peace. “He’s such a competitor, he knows his limitations, he knows what to do in certain situations. We put the ball in his hands and he made plays.”

Brock got the ball back at its own 27, but junior linebacker Colby Rush sacked Eagles quarterback Takota Taylor on fourth down, giving Malakoff possession at the Brock 28 with 1:41 to play.

“I just lined up, did my thing,” Rush said of his sack. “I did all I could do, man. (Brock tight end Baylor Cupp) is great player, he’s going to Texas A&M. From experience I knew (Taktota Taylor) was gonna roll out. I just came under and he was there.”

Prior to Malakoff’s game-winning drive, the Tigers stopped Brock on third down, and Eagles kicker Tatum Saathoff missed a 28-yard field goal.

Brock finished with just 235 yards of offense, and only 77 in the second half.

“Hats off to (defensive coordinator Brent Watkins),” Driskell said. “He coaches so hard and the kids respond to him, and they executed whatever we called. Brock was hammering us, those guys are really good at what they do. And our kids found a way.”

Malakoff controlled the game early, taking a 10-0 lead on Hector Romero’s 27-yard field goal and Rose’s 1-yard touchdown with 9:22 to play in the second quarter.

Brock got on the board with a 16-play drive that ended with Zakk Young’s 3-yard touchdown run. The Eagles recovered a Carr fumble near midfield, and took their first lead at 14-10 on Taylor’s 2-yard run with 1:58 until halftime.

Peace connected with Kaderrius Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown moments later, but a 63-yard kickoff return by Taylor set up a Tripp Jones 5-yard scoring pass to Cupp, which gave Brock a 21-17 lead with four seconds to play in the half.

The second half belonged to Malakoff.

“I just feel like we deserve it,” Rush said. “We’ve been through everything this year, it’s been rough. But we came together at the right time.”

Malakoff 23, No. 3 Brock 21

Class 3A Division I Semifinal
At Ford Center, Frisco

Brock               0    21      0      0    --    21
Malakoff           3    14      0      6    –    23

First Quarter
MAL—FG Hector Romero 27, 5:23.
Second Quarter
MAL—Keevie Rose 1 run (Romero kick), 10:22.
BRO—Zakk Young 3 run (Tatum Saathoff kick), 4:09.
BRO—Takota Taylor 2 run (Saathoff kick), 1:58.
MAL—Kaderrius Thomas 38 pass from Darion Peace (Romero kick), :37.
BRO—Baylor Cupp 5 pass from Tripp Jones (Saathoff kick), :04.
Fourth Quarter
MAL—Rose 2 run (kick failed), 3:00.

                                          BRO                  MAL
First Downs                             12                     14
Total Yards                             235                   356
Rushes-Yards                    44-136             32-185
Passing Yards                          99                   171
Comp.-Att.-Int.                  6-11-0              9-15-0
Punts-Avg.                        5-29.2              2-43.5
Fumbles-Lost                          1-0                   2-1
Penalties-Yards                      6-39                 4-30

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING—Brock, Toby Morrison 20-90, Zakk Young 8-28, Jake Teskey 4-15, Kutter Wilson 1-7, Jesse Hallmark 1-4, Takota Taylor 7-(-2), Tripp Jones 3-(-4). Malakoff, Keevie Rose 9-100, RJ Carr 9-66, Darion Peace 12-27, Team 1-(-2), Andreas Garrett 1-(-6).
PASSING—Brock, Taylor 2-4-0—50, Jones 4-7-0—49. Malakoff, Peace 9-15-0—171.
RECEIVING—Brock, Teskey 3-63, Baylor Cupp 2-14, Taylor 1-12. Malakoff, Garrett 5-92, Kaderrius Thomas 1-38, Carr 1-30, Nathan Jones 1-8, Parker Busch 1-3.