Muenster Denies Tenaha, 27-20, to Claim the 2A Division II State Championship
ARLINGTON -- The Tenaha Tigers have prided themselves on their offensive balance all season, and for 15 weeks, it was unbeatable.
Muenster took away that balanced Thursday afternoon, and along with it, the state championship.
Tenaha struggled with its running game all day, and Muenster was able to make big plays on the other side of the ball when it mattered most, earning a 27-20 win in the Class 2A Division II title game before 9,137 fans at AT&T Stadium.
The Tigers (15-1) averaged 299 rushing yards per game, but was limited to just 115 by a physical Muenster (16-0) defensive line.
“That’s the difference in the ballgame, clearly," said Tenaha coach Craig Horn. "Some of those runs (in the past) for five and seven yards we turn into 50- and 60-yard gains. Today they were five and seven, if they were even that.”
Tenaha senior running back Onterio Thompson was held to a season low 36 yards on 11 carries. He finished the season with 2,498 yards and 34 touchdowns.
“I think the defensive line has been the strength of our team all year," said Muenster coach Brady Carney. "Carson (Cheaney, Kaden (Fields), all those guys have done a tremendous job. Tonight, I think you saw that."
Trai Gardner was Tenaha's lone offensive bright spot. He scored all three Tigers touchdowns, and finished with 162 yards of offense.
"He’s a Division I talent in my opinion," Carney said. "I heard some of these guys talking about how hard he is to bring down. There’s no doubt in our mind he’s a Division I football player."
Following an action-packed third quarter that featured four touchdowns and a field goal between the two teams, the defenses stood tall in the fourth.
Tenaha quarterback CJ Horn was sacked by Cheaney and Logan Pagelon fourth down at the Muenster 43 with 8:27 remaining in the fourth.
The Tigers forced a punt on the ensuing series, and got the ball back on their own 9 with 5:05 remaining, but went three-and-out.
Muenster was able to consume the final 3:40 to bring home its first-ever state football championship.
“I think it was just like it was billed up to be," Carney said of the state final matchup. "There were a couple of big plays here and there that didn’t go our way, but it ended up being a tremendous football game. You see all the numbers they put up – we average 52.6 and they have 52.7. It was just an evenly matched football game.”
Muenster junior quarterback Parker McGrew, who was voted the game's Offensive Most Valuable Player, led the Hornets by completing 14 of 23 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He added a team-high 90 yards and one touchdown on 21 rushing attempts.
McGrew's 9-yard touchdown run with one second remaining in the third was the final score of the game, and the third lead change of the quarter.
Gardner's first of his two third-quarter touchdowns was a 60-yard catch and run, which gave Tenaha its first lead at 13-10 a little more than two minutes into the half.
His 55-yard scoring run tied the game, 20-20, after McGrew's 8-yard touchdown pass to Carson Trubenbach and a 35-yard field goal by Trey McTaggart.
“Me being a senior I feel like my job is to lead my team, bring some energy and make plays when plays need to be made," Gardner said.
Both teams started hot on offense. Muenster drove 65 yards in nine plays and took a 7-0 lead on McGrew's 20-yard pass to Danny Luttmer.
Tenaha responded with Horn's 16-yard touchdown pass to Gardner, tying the game, 7-7, with 3:08 remaining in the first quarter.
Muenster drove the ball inside the Tenaha 5 on its next series, but had to settle for McTaggart's 25-yard field goal and a 10-7 lead, which the Hornets took into halftime.
“I’m proud of everything we accomplished," Coach Horn said. "Ultimately, though, I failed. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. Everything that you’ve worked hard for and accomplished up to this point is relatively meaningless at this point. I’m proud of the the kids and work ethic they’ve established and the character they’ve exhibited. We had the talent to get it done.”
Muenster 27, Tenaha 20
Class 2A Division II Championship
At AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Muenster 7 3 17 0 -- 27
Tenaha 7 0 13 0 -- 20
MUE--Danny Luttmer 20 pass from Parker McGrew (Trey McTaggart kick), 7:58.
TEN--Trai Gardner 16 pass from CJ Horn (Christian Castillo kick), 3:08.
MUE--FG McTaggart 25, 8:18.
TEN--Gardner 60 pass from Horn (kick failed), 9:53.
MUE--Carson Trubenbach 8 pass from McGrew (McTaggart kick), 7:10.
MUE--FG McTaggart 35, 2:24.
TEN--Gardner 55 run (Castillo kick), 2:13.
MUE--McGrew 9 run (McTaggart kick), :01.
First Downs 19 9
Total Yards 350 251
Rushes-Yards 43-157 24-115
Passing Yards 193 136
Comp.-Att.-Int. 14-23-0 8-15-1
Punts-Avg. 2-48.5 3-31.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 11-65 3-25
RUSHING--Muenster, Parker McGrew 21-90, Carson Trubenbach 5-46, Clay Stevens 15-32, Team 2-(-11). Tenaha, Trai Gardner 2-54, Onterio Thompson 11-36, CJ Horn 8-14, Jay Lloyd 3-11.
PASSING--Muenster, McGrew 14-23-0--193. Tenaha, Horn 8-15-1--136.
RECEIVING--Muenster, Danny Luttmer 7-99, Stevens 3-28, Trubenbach 2-39, Stetson McGrew 2-27. Tenaha, Gardner 6-108, Lloyd 2-28.