CARTHAGE -- JaMikel Roberts and San Augustine have a message for fellow Class A football teams: never count out the Wolves. Even down 10 points with two minutes left.

The junior quarterback directed two scoring drives in the final 1:54 -- the second set up by an onside kick recovery -- to stun Joaquin in a 49-46 Class A Division I Region III bi-district thriller at Carthage's Bulldog Stadium.

San Augustine (5-6) faces Mart (7-3) in a 1A D-I Region III area playoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at Crockett's Monte Jack Driskell Stadium.

Roberts finished with 348 total yards of offense and six total touchdowns. He completed 8 of 17 passes for 259 yards, four scores, and one interception, while rushing 15 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He enters the second round with 35 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns directing the Wolves' spread offense this season.

San Augustine faced its second double-digit deficit of the final seven minutes following Joaquin quarterback Lance Lawson's three-yard touchdown with 2:01 left that gave the Rams (5-5) a 46-36 lead. But two plays later, Roberts hit Jarvis Smith over the middle, where the senior stiff-armed a defender and turned on the jets for a 58-yard touchdown, his third of the game, to cut the gap to 46-43 with 1:34 to play.

Joaquin's Jonathan Rico (12) hits the hole during Thursday's 49-46 first-round loss to San Augustine in Carthage. (Bud Worley,

San Augustine's Travis Jordan then recovered an onside kick at the Joaquin 49-yard line, setting up three consecutive Jeremy Jenkins runs to the 23-yard line. Roberts ran for 15, then Jenkins, who had 139 yard and one touchdown on 20 carries, ran for three yards before Roberts scored on a five-yarder on second-and-goal with 30.8 seconds left for a 49-46 lead.

"When they went up we knew what we had to do. We practice onside (kick) every week, and I don't think we've gotten one all year," said San Augustine head coach Donald Hubbard. "It just happened at the right time. But that's why you practice it, and that's why you go over it and over it and over it. It just happened."

Joaquin's last chance ended at the San Augustine 30-yard line, where the Wolves tackled freshman standout Nate Belrose after a 51-yard gain on fourth-and-17 with no time remaining.

Smith's touchdown catches covered 19, 13, and 58 yards. Senior Dez Randle caught a game-high four passes for 149 yards, including an impressive quick-hitter that he took 96 yards for a touchdown and 28-24 lead with 3:25 left in the third.

As the statistics suggest, Joaquin struggled tackling Smith, Randle, Jenkins, and Roberts in the open field.

"(Smith) stepped up big-time tonight. We know when people try to double-cover Dez that (Smith) is there," Hubbard said. "I can't say enough about J-Mike (Roberts). He's just a junior, thank the Lord. He's a great kid. He's an honor student and comes from a good family. I'd take him home with me. He's just a great kid."

After falling behind 28-24, Joaquin scored 16 unanswered points on back-to-back drives that totaled 118 yards on 15 plays, all rushes. Jonathan Rico's 17-yard touchdown and two-point reception with six seconds left in the third regained the lead for the Rams, who snagged their largest lead of the game after Belrose recovered a San Augustine fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter. Belrose capped a 55-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown for a 40-28 advantage with 7:53 remaining.

Belrose had a great game. He ran 29 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns and added the fumble recovery and a first-half interception on defense. Rico finished with 24 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns, while Lawson had two short touchdown runs. Lawson, who entered the game as Joaquin's leading tackler from his linebacker spot, completed 4 of 6 passes for 87 yards.

San Augustine, which overcame a minus-3 turnover margin, outgained Joaquin 490-456. Joaquin, which based from its tight double-wing formation, ran 67 times and threw only six passes, while the Wolves ran 36 times to 17 pass attempts.

San Augustine's Jeremy Jenkins (32) runs the ball during Thursday's 49-46 first-round win vs. Joaquin in Carthage. (Bud Worley,

"We knew we could score. We were just praying we could outscore them," Hubbard said, laughing. "They're good. They're very good at what they do and it's difficult to stop. A lot of smoke and mirrors. You can teach kids how to stop it, but those eyes get to looking in the backfield and they start going different directions. I give (Joaquin) all the credit. They played an outstanding game."

The teams set the offense-centric tone for the evening on their first possessions.

San Augustine took the opening kickoff and covered 70 yards in 14 plays, culminating in a 19-yard, fourth-and-5 touchdown strike from Roberts to Smith for a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Joaquin answered with 14-play, 67-yard, run-exclusive drive that used almost eight minutes. Rico's three-yard touchdown preceded a Lawson two-point run for an 8-7 lead with 21 seconds left in the first quarter.

Belrose picked off Roberts on San Augustine's next play from scrimmage, allowing the Rams to drive 91 yards in 13 plays for a 16-7 lead on Lawson's one-yard touchdown and Belrose's two-point conversion.

San Augustine responded with a 56-yard drive capped by Roberts' three-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 16-14 before the Wolves' defense recorded three negative plays to force a Joaquin three-and-out. That allowed San Augustine to drive 78 yards in nine plays and take a 22-16 halftime lead on Roberts' 13-yard strike to Smith. The two-pointer came from Roberts' pass to JaDarius Brown.

Joaquin's Armando Robles returned the ensuing kickoff 28 yards into San Augustine territory, but the Rams were stopped at the 3-yard line with no time remaining on the second-quarter clock to preserve the Wolves' six-point intermission advantage.

Joaquin's Nate Belrose (11) tries to turn the corner during the Rams' 49-46 first-round playoff loss to San Augustine on Thursday at Carthage's Bulldog Stadium. (Bud Worley,


Class A Division I Region III
Bi-district Playoff

San Augustine 49, Joaquin 46

Bulldog Stadium, Carthage

San Augustine -- 7 15 6 21 -- 49
Joaquin -- 8 8 16 14 -- 46

First Quarter
SA -- Jarvis Smith 19 pass from JaMikel Roberts (Ben Eberlan kick) -- 8:18
JOA -- Jonathan Rico 3 run (Lance Lawson run) -- 0:21
Second Quarter
JOA -- Lawson 1 run (Nate Belrose run) -- 5:02
SA -- Roberts 3 run (Eberlan kick) -- 3:54
SA -- Smith 13 pass from Roberts (JaDarius Brown pass from Roberts) -- 0:25
Third Quarter
JOA -- Nate Belrose 8 run (Angel Hernandez run) -- 7:53
SA -- Dez Randle 96 pass from Roberts (run failed) -- 3:09
JOA -- Rico 17 run (Rico pass from Belrose) -- 0:06
Fourth Quarter
JOA -- Belrose 3 run (Rico run) -- 7:53
SA -- Jeremy Jenkins 8 run (Smith pass from Roberts) -- 6:05
JOA -- Lawson 3 run (run failed) -- 2:01
SA -- Smith 58 pass from Roberts (Eberlan kick) -- 1:34
SA -- Roberts 5 run (kick failed) -- 0:30

                               SA                    JOA
First downs               18                      21
Total yards               490                    456
Rushes-Yards         36-231              67-369
Passing yards           259                     87
Comp.-Att.-Int.        8-17-1                4-6-0
Penalties                  1-15                   5-38
Fumbles                    2-2                     1-0
Punts-Avg.                0-0                    2-55.5