VAN WADE — Heartbreak and upsets abound on prep, college scene

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Gut wrenching.

That was the case for two really great football teams over the long weekend.

One team will not get another chance while another one will.

My heart definitely goes out to Silsbee.

The District 9-4A Division II district champion Tigers went into the Class 4A Region III Division II Regional Finals against the Cuero Gobblers with a perfect 13-0 record Friday night and left Houston’s NRG Stadium 13-1 after a heartbreaking 58-56 triple overtime loss.

By the third overtime, both teams had to line up and go just for a two-point conversion. The Gobblers got into the end zone on their attempt, and the Tigers did not.

The Tigers had several golden opportunities to put the game away, but the Gobblers scrambled back to tie it at the end of regulation to force overtime.

One sad fact came on Cuero’s touchdown in the second overtime, when the Gobblers quarterback tossed a touchdown pass into the end zone and a highlight from the stadium’s replay board showed his knee was down before he tossed the pass.

I feel for the Tigers and their fan base because it was a tough call. Unfortunately, the UIL does not use replay, except for the State Championship games.

The other heartbreaker is for the TCU faithful.

The Horned Frogs stormed through the regular and Big 12 with a perfect 12-0 mark. However, the boys in purple fell to Kansas State 31-28 in overtime in the Big 12 Championship Game.

TCU quarterback Max Duggan once again tried to pull the rabbit out of the hat, leading the Frogs back to tie it and force overtime with his legs and arm.

Duggan, who led the Horned Frogs to five second half comebacks during the season, could not get the Frogs into the end zone on four snaps inside the 5 in overtime. However, the QB that led his team to major wins all season, basically just handed the ball off as the coaching staff seemed to misuse the talents he had shown all year by not letting him run the ball.

But the Horned Frogs get a reprieve. They are in the College Football Playoffs as the No. 3 seed and are rewarded by playing Michigan.

Speaking of boys in purple, how about those Port Neches-Groves Indians and first-year head coach Jeff Joseph.

The Indians were a 17-point underdog to district rival and Texas’ second-ranked Class 5A Division team in Fort Ben Marshall.

The Indians surely didn’t have a chance against the team that throttled them already, 35-14, in district play.

As the legendary coach Lee Corso always says on College Gameday, “Not so fast my friend.”

All the Indians accomplished was controlling the tempo throughout and wearing down the Buffaloes en route to a 29-21 win.

That’s one win over a state powerhouse, and now the Indians look to knock off another when they take on a powerful Liberty Hill unit in the 5A Division II State Semifinals Friday.

What a whirlwind of a season it has been for Joseph and the Indians. The 50-15 season-opening loss to Port Arthur Memorial is definitely in the rearview mirror now.

Once they got all of their ducks in a row and latched on to Joseph’s system, the Indians are riding high and winners of 10 straight.

Maybe it is just the year of the color purple.

PNG, TCU and yes, even the Minnesota Vikings, are all on fire.

Van Wade is the Orange Leader sports editor. He can be reached at van.wade@orangeleader.com.