Winnsboro Ruins Sabine’s First Playoff Trip in 29 Years With 28-17 Bi-District Win
GILMER -- Sabine had made school history by making the football playoffs for the first time since 1985. Winnsboro made sure it was short-lived Thursday night.
Ethan Rakich racked up nearly 300 total yards of offense and Winnsboro withstood a second-half rally from Sabine to beat the Cardinals, 28-17, in their Class 3A Division I bi-district game at Buckeye Stadium.
Rakich ran for 219 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries and helped lead a backbreaking 12-play drive in the fourth quarter to send the Red Raiders (8-3) to the area round, where they'll face the Sunnyvale-Whitesboro winner. Those two play at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Nov. 14) in Rockwall.
Rakich played a key role in squashing Sabine's momentum -- twice.
Sabine (6-5) rallied in the third quarter after being down 21-7 at halftime, blanking Winnsboro defensively while Sharp threw a 19-yard touchdown to Tevin Roberts and followed with a 29-yard field goal to cut the Red Raiders' lead to four, 21-17, with 4:30 left in the third quarter.
But early in the fourth quarter after a Sabine punt, Rakich accounted for 25 yards on the ground as Winnsboro went 56 yards in 12
plays, a six-minute drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Tanner Pinnell to seal the win.
"They answered, which is what a good team is gonna do," said Sabine coach Mark Comfort, whose team lost to Winnsboro 23-20 in overtime earlier this season. "They answered, and we weren't able to come back and answer again. Obviously that really hurt us."
On its next drive, Sabine opted to punt on fourth-and-10 from its own 29 with 4:22 left in the game. The Cardinals got the ball back after Winnsboro managed to run eight plays, but time wasn't on their side at that point and the hopes of their first playoff win in school history were defeated.
"I hope the foundation has been laid for this program. It's the first time in a long time since a Sabine team has been here," Comfort said.
"They're catching on to the philosophy of the program, and when you've got good leaders like we had this year, good things are going to happen to you and good things happened to us this year."
Winnsboro's ball control was crucial to its win. the Red Raiders ran 58 plays to Sabine's 46 and needed to pass just four times. Rakich also caught two balls for 66 yards in addition to his 219 yards on the ground. Tedrick Shepherd, who opened the scoring with a 54-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, ran for 85 yards on nine carries.
Tyler Mustin led Sabine on the ground with 105 yards on 13 carries. Sharp was 8 of 15 passing for 84 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Sabine almost found itself in a huge hole early. After falling behind 14-0 on Pinnell's first of two 1-yard touchdown runs, Sabine had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown called back for holding.
The Cardinals then had a 32-yard catch negated by a penalty, only to see a long run on the next play called back for holding. But facing a fourth-and-20 at its own 52, Sabine went for the fake punt and Oshean Jagot took the ball 55 yards to the Winnsboro 3. Sharp punched it in for a 1-yard touchdown three plays later to cut Winnsboro's lead to 14-7.
But then came Rakich the spoiler again.
Almost 90 seconds after Sabine got within 14-7, Rakich took a handoff and bolted 69 yards to the end zone to put the Red Raiders up 21-7 entering the half.
Winnsboro 28, Sabine 17
Class 3A Division I Bi-District
At Buckeye Stadium, Gilmer
Winnsboro 6 15 0 7 -- 28
Sabine 0 7 10 0 -- 17
WIN--Tedrick Shepherd 54 run (Julio Olivarria kick failed), 5:25
WIN--Lucas Pinnell 1 run (Shepherd run), 11:56
SAB--Tanner Sharp 1 run (Sharp kick), 7:45
WIN--Ethan Rakich 69 run (Olivarria kick), 6:16
SAB--Tevin Roberts 19 pass from Sharp (Sharp kick), 9:54
SAB--Sharp 29 FG, 4:30
WIN--Pinnell 1 run (Olivarria kick), 4:36
First Downs 17 12
Total Yards 454 263
Rushes-Yards 54-374 31-179
Passing Yards 80 84
Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-4-0 8-15-1
Punts-Avg. 1-25.0 3-32.9
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 3-35
RUSHING--Winnsboro, Ethan Rakich 25-219, Tedrick Shepherd 9-85, Marcus Tucker 5-36, Lucas Pinnell 10-19, Tarik Castleberry 3-8, Jeremy Moses 2-3. Sabine, Tyler Mustin 13-105, Oshean Jagot 1-55, Conner Sharp 7-21, Tevin Roberts 5-4, Glenn George 1-2, Cody Sauce 3-(-4), Kade Taylor 1-(-4).
PASSING--Winnsboro, Pinnell 3-4-0--80. Sabine, Sharp 8-15-1--84.
RECEIVING--Winnsboro, Rakich 2-66, Moses 1-14. Sabine, Sauce 3-35, Jagot 2-22, Roberts 2-18, Ty Cundieff 1-9.