Second-ranked Grandview begins state title defense by knocking off fourth-ranked Malakoff, 31-24, in overtime
With the Heart of Texas region featuring a number of marquee matchups on the opening night under the Friday night lights, none proved to be bigger and better than the defending Class 3A, Division I state champion and second-ranked Grandview Zebras holding off their first challenger of the season.
Hosting fourth-ranked Malakoff, Grandview overcame a furious fourth quarter comeback to slip past the Tigers, 31-24, in overtime Friday night. The Zebras surrendered a 24-10 leading going into the final period before responding for the game-winning score.
The Grandview-Malakoff battle proved to be only one of the thrilling clashes between some of the top teams in the Class 3A ranks as Class 3A, DI’s 13th-ranked Lorena visited Class 3A, DII’s eighth-ranked Franklin, and the Class 3A, DI West Trojans took on Class 3A, DII’s 12th-ranked Lexington.
LORENA 21, FRANKLIN 20
Certainly, when Lorena dropped down to Class 3A, Division I from Class 4A during the UIL realignment in February, high school football pundits expected the Leopards to be a state powerhouse. Lorena wasted little time proving the experts right, taking down Franklin, 21-20, in a nail biter Friday night.
After Franklin pulled within one point with 43 seconds left in the game, the Leopards escaped an ambush by stopping the Lions short of the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt before recovering the ensuing onside kick to secure the season-opening road win.
Lorena (1-0) built a 21-6 lead through three quarters, but Franklin (0-1) made it a one score game with 4:20 on the clock by capitalizing on a Leopard turnover. The Lions scored again, but decided not to kick the extra point for the tie and go for the win instead.
LEXINGTON 25, WEST 14
Despite trailing 14-0 going into the fourth quarter, the state-ranked Lexington Eagles soared to 25 unanswered points at home to steal the season-opening victory from the West Trojans, 25-14.
From the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, the period belong to Lexington as Jeremiah Jackson hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Sheldon Springer to finally get the Eagles on the scoreboard. As the momentum swung it Lexington’s direction, the Eagles defense wrapped up West for a three-and out before Jeremiah Dillon broke off a 35-yard scoring run to make the score 14-13 with 8:58 left in the game.
West failed to move the ball again, and Lexington responded by claiming its first lead of the game as Dillon scored again, this time on a 21-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 19-14 lead. Lexington’s Jarred Kerr broke free for a 39-yard scoring romp to iced the game with 2:26 on the clock.
Once again this season, THE SPORTS BUZZ will provide award-winning coverage of the 2020 Texas high school football season, focusing on Class 3A, 2A and 1A schools in the 10-county Heart of Texas region — which includes Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, McLennan and Somervell counties.
Within the Heart of Texas region, THE SPORTS BUZZ will be covering nine Class 3A schools spread out across four districts in two divisions. Be sure to check back every Sunday for the Class 3A Gridiron Grades and Friday Night Flashback featuring district standings, scores and upcoming matchups for all nine Class 3A teams from the Heart of Texas.
Photos by DAVID HARDING & SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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