New Boston Holds Off Malakoff 34-27 to Advance to Second Consecutive Regional Final
[By Johnny Green, Special to ETSN.fm]
LONGVIEW — Both New Boston and Malakoff played like they didn't want the season to end Friday night at Lobo Stadium, but time eventually ran out on the Tigers.
New Boston recovered an onside kick and ran the clock out to preserve a 34-27 victory over Malakoff in their Class 2A Division I Region II semifinal, earning the Lions a rematch with district rival Daingerfield for the regional championship. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday from Mount Pleasant's Sam Parker Field.
It will be the second consecutive year the Region II title will come down to New Boston and Daingerfield.
The Lions (12-1) scored two touchdowns in less than a minute in the final quarter to build a 34-20 lead with 3:27 remaining. That was enough to hold off Malakoff (11-2), which drove 76 yards in nine plays and scored on a 19-yard run by Damontes Dowell with just 52 seconds to go.
The Tigers, who never led in the game, drew even at 20-20 with consecutive touchdowns late in the third and early in the fourth quarter. Dowell, who had 121 yards on 16 carries, got the first TD on a 3-yard run, and quarterback Deric Greenhaw's 3-yard keeper tied the game.
It took New Boston only one play after the ensuing kickoff to take the lead for good. Quarterback Aaron Conkleton heaved a deep pass for wideout Jeff Gladney, who got behind two defenders, then outran them to the end zone to complete the 76-yard play. It was the second scoring catch for Gladney, who had a 15-yarder in the first quarter.
The Lion defense, which scored the game's first touchdown on a 56-yard fumble return by Quinn Dedmon on Malakoff's first offensive snap, struck again after Gladney's second TD.
Greenhaw, who was intercepted three times, fired deep from near his own goal line, and linebacker Wes Teague picked it off at the Tiger 42, returning it for a touchdown without being touched.
Leading 14-7 at halftime, the Lions struck first in the third quarter when Conkleton found Jawaun Johnson from five yards out. But the PAT kick was low and wide.
Malakoff came right back on Dowell's 3-yard run. From there it was back and forth until Teague's interception return gave the Lions what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.
Neither team scored an offensive touchdown in the first quarter that ended 7-7 when Dariuhas Jackson returned a New Boston punt for a 41-yard touchdown
Malakoff held New Boston's usually-potent rushing attack to 114 yards, but Conkleton completed 8 of 12 passes for 180 yards and the three scores. Gladney had four receptions for 149 yards.
Marcus Dowell added 88 yards rushing for Malakoff, which had 256 yards on the ground.