By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor
RICHARDSON — In a game with plenty of momentum swings, the final one didn’t go W.T. White’s way on Friday against Richardson Pearce.
The Eagles needed a blocked field goal in overtime to beat the Longhorns 60-54 in a back-and-forth District 9-6A contest at Eagle-Mustang Stadium.
The Longhorns (2-6, 1-4) were ahead 54-46 with just over two minutes to go in the game when Pearce needed a long drive and a two-point conversion to force overtime.
On third and long at the Pearce 18-yard line, Gray Rodgers threw a short pass to Otis Blanton well short of the first down. However, the Longhorns were penalized 15 yards for a personal foul on the play, extending Pearce’s drive.
“That one was tough,” WTW head coach Rudy Powe said. “We teach our kids to play with discipline and keep their emotions in check, but that call was really hard to overcome.”
Blanton scored five plays later to cut the WTW lead to 54-52 with 15 seconds left. The Mustangs (3-5, 2-3) tied the score when Rodgers found Jack Watson for the two-point conversion.
“We’re a young, developing team, and we’re closing the gap,” Powe said. “We need more consistency on defense and we’ll get that fixed. We win and lose as a team.”
Ryan Sandoval helped to put the Longhorns up early when he connected with Darrell White on a 20-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first possession. Sandoval, just a junior, threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns while effectively stretching out the defense all night.
“Ryan is a scrappy kid,” said Powe. “He’s really good at getting the whole receiving corps involved, like he did tonight.”
Powe was referring to White, Kylan Harrison and Jakari Domino, all seniors. Harrison caught four passes for 162 yards, including two touchdowns. Domino hauled in eight passes for just under 100 yards and White had seven receptions for 79 yards and the one score.
“Jakari, we feel, is the most underrated position player in the district,” Powe said. “White and Harrison give Sandoval two more excellent options.”
WTW started with the ball in overtime. Sandoval completed a 15-yard screen pass to Harrison, but on the next play, the Longhorns were penalized 10 yards for holding.
After two incompletions, the Longhorns faced fourth-and-long at the 22-yard line and had to settle for a field goal attempt, which was blocked.
The Mustangs kept the ball on the ground, and on second-and-goal from the 2, Rodgers scored on a quarterback sneak for the dramatic win.
Now the Longhorns face a critical game next week against rival neighborhood rival Jesuit — which is unbeaten in district play — in order to remain in playoff contention.