TYLER -- Garland Lakeview Centennial needed the District 11-6A win as badly as Tyler Lee and was well on its way with a two-possession lead midway through the first quarter.

Spirits were dropping quickly on the home side stands of Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. If the Red Raiders couldn't take care of this similarly struggling league team, postseason chances would look very bleak with the top performing teams still on their schedule.

Lee trailed for about 42 minutes of Thursday's critical game, but they took the win, 59-54, on quarterback Chance Amie's 2-yard run with 29 seconds to play.

"We didn't quit," Red Raiders head coach Darrell Piske said. "And that was the difference between this week and the other weeks."

Red Raiders running back stiff arms Centennial's Juan Moreno for a 6-yard gain in the second quarter of Thursday's game. (Michael Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

The win moved Lee (2-4, 1-2) to within a game of a playoff spot in 11-6A with four district contests remaining. It needed four wins and help on the final night of the regular season last year to clinch its first playoff berth since 2009.

While the competition is about to get much steeper, the Red Raiders are still alive in the chase.

Centennial (3-3, 0-3), on the other hand, fell into a tie for last place as Garland Naaman Forest simultaneously lost to Rockwall. It only has one favorable game left on its schedule in Naaman Forest. Two games are against teams currently sitting in postseason spots.

Prior to Amie's final score, Lee had clawed back for a 45-41 lead with 3:08 left in the third quarter thanks to a 41-yard Amie run, an onside kick recovered by Cameron Holmes and a 12-yard Amie draw nine plays later.

Centennial answered less than three minutes afterward with a touchdown to reclaim the lead, 48-45, after the two teams traded fumbles within a four-play span. It then added a final score to move ahead, 54-45 with 8:21 to play in the game.

Amie connected with Datavion Thacker for a 59-yard score on Lee's next play from scrimmage, Mason Parker picked off Centennial quarterback Kamron Fields in the end zone the ensuing defensive series and the Red Raiders went 80 yards in eight plays for the win.

Centennial's Kaleb McNac breaks away from the Tyler Lee defense for a 56-yard score early in the second quarter. That upped its lead to 21-7. (Michael Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

Centennial got to the Lee 47-yard line with six seconds left, but Isjuwan Barker broke up Fields' desperate heave in front of the goal line. The ball bee lined away from two Centennial receivers standing side-by-side in the back of the end zone and bounced harmlessly out of bounds.

Barker rolled on the ground in some pain after making the play. He eventually got up and joined the celebration.

Imagine how much worse it could have felt.

"After this first win, we're going to win out," Parker said some 15 minutes of real time after his interception. "I can feel it. This win is a whole lot better than our John Tyler win. We needed our confidence back and we finally got it."

Amie, a sophomore in his third career start, threw three touchdowns and ran for another three scores. He accounted for 438 yards of offense in addition to 36 points before Chris Blat's successful point after attempts.

Thacker led Barker and Davis, who both eclipsed 68 receiving yards, with 101 yards on three receptions. He was the third-leading rusher with 40 yards behind running back Tavon Wesley and Amie.

Aside from two turnovers, a forced punt and the final stand, the Red Raiders' defense blocked two Centennial kicks after touchdowns.

Lee's Mason Parker, who recorded a momentum swinging fourth quarter interception, rushes for a gain of five yards on a sweep play in the first quarter. (Michael Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

It was the dramatic win only Lee is capable of pulling off with its explosive offense.

Thanks to a 14-0 start, Centennial worked its way out to six separate two-possession leads. Including one after Lee went up by four points in the third quarter.

It won eight of the first nine third down battles, scoring three times on the down and setting up another touchdown one play later after a 35-yard gain.

Defensive pressure forced Fields to give himself up for a loss on Centennial's 10th third down conversion attempt of the night.

Parker's interception then saved Lee from a game-sealing, 34-yard strike. He had to pick it because a receiver was running with him stride-for-stride.

That was only the third stop the Red Raiders' defense got in 11 tries against Centennial. The others were a first quarter punt which resulted in a three-and-out and Parker's third quarter fumble recovery which was fumbled back to Centennial four plays later.

Amie and company kept grinding away at the deficit. Each time after Centennial's opening 14-0 lead, the offense ultimately came back with an answer.

Matthew Hawk made it a 34-24 halftime deficit on a 36-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

Parker Musslewhite recovered Centennial's surprise onside kick at the start of the second half, but Lee's drive stalled at the opposing 15-yard line. Hawk kicked a 32-yard field goal to seemingly make it a one-possession game again.

However, Hawk was roughed up on the play. The Red Raiders got new life at Centennial's 7-yard line.

Running Tavon Wesley scored from 14 yards away after a holding call to make it a 34-31 game. Factor that four-point swing in with the two blocked point after attempts, and it easily could have been a different outcome.

The rest is history.

Centennial will visit a surprisingly improved North Garland team next week. North Garland was winless a year ago and has a 3-2 overall record this season ahead of today's game against Sachse.

Lee is idle this upcoming week and returns to action Oct. 16 at Garland, which is undefeated in 11-6A competition ahead of today's meeting with Rowlett.

"We've been practicing and progressing over time," Amie said. "We've been trying to build our swagger back. That's what we've been talking about. To come out here and win, it's the best. We have momentum going into our next game."

Red Raiders sophomore quarterback Chance Amie accounted for 438 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in Thursday's win. (Michael Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

Tyler Lee 59, Garland Lakeview Centennial 54
District 11-6A

At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler

Centennial        14    20    14      6    --    54
Tyler Lee           7     17     21     14    --   59

First Quarter
CEN--Allen Copeland 55 run (John Guerra kick), 9:59
CEN--Jamil Linwood 2 run (Guerra kick), 5:57
LEE--Keashun Davis 60 pass from Chance Amie (Chris Blas kick), 4:05
Second Quarter
CEN--Kaleb McNac 56 pass from Kamron Fields (Guerra kick), 10:52
LEE--Tyrec Grayson 39 pass from Amie (Blas kick), 9:41
CEN--Linwood 3 run (Guerra kick), 7:01
LEE--Tavon Wesley 2 run (Blas kick), 3:48
CEN--Shamond Greenwood 25 pass from Fields (kick blocked), :52
LEE--Matthew Hawk 34 field goal,: 00
Third Quarter
LEE--Wesley 14 run (Blas kick), 9:12
CEN--Fields 3 run (Guerra kick), 7:14
LEE--Amie 41 run (Blas kick), 5:53
LEE--Amie 12 run (Blas kick), 3:08
CEN--Linwood 8 run (Guerra kick), :54
Fourth Quarter
CEN--Copelan 10 run (kick blocked), 8:21
LEE--Datavion Thacker 59 pass from Amie (Blas kick), 8:05
LEE--Amie 2 run (Blas kick), :29

 

                                                 CEN              LEE
First Downs                                  25              19
Total Yards                                  572            544
Rushes-Yards                        38-270           40-221
Passing Yards                            302              323
Comp.-Att.-Int.                     19-26-1          13-23-0
Punts-Avg.                             1-21.0            3-36.3
Fumbles-Lost                            4-1               2-1
Penalties-Yards                        9-85             10-83

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Centennial, Kaleb McNac 6-124, Allen Copeland 11-83, Damon Carey 2-25, Jamil Linwood 9-22, David Garza 1-13, Kamron Fields 6-10, TEAM 1-(-6). Tyler Lee, Chance Amie 16-115, Tavon Wesley 11-43, Datavion Thacker 7-40, Tyrec Grayson 4-28, Mason Parker 2-(-5).
PASSING--Centennial, Fields 19-26-1--302. Tyler Lee, Amie 13-23-0--323.
RECEIVING--Centennial, McNac 6-139, Shamond Greenwood 8-82, Garza 4-54, Damon Carey 1-15, Tony King 1-12. Tyler Lee, Thacker 3-101, Keashun Davis 2-69, Isjuwan Barker 6-68, Parker 1-46, Grayson 1-39.