Goats clinch playoff spot with 51-41 win over Teague
The Groesbeck football team has shown that resilience leads to success. And this year, it’s also led the Goats back into the playoffs after a two-year absence.
Groesbeck overcame two deficits and made enough big plays in the second half to claim a wild 51-41 victory over Teague at Groesbeck Stadium on Wednesday night. The victory lifts the Goats to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in District 8-3A, Division I.
The final two regular-season games will be a battle for postseason seeding for the Goats.
“We are in the playoffs. Now, it’s a question of whether we finish fourth, third or second,” said Groesbeck coach Jerry Bomar. “That’s what we’ve talked to our players about. We know these games are going to be tough. They’re going to be close. We’re trying to finish as high as we can finish to avoid playing someone like (defending state champion) Grandview in the first round of the playoffs. We’re trying to end with as many wins as we can get and have a winning season. That would be a great accomplishment from last year.”
After a 14-14 deadlock in the first half, the teams seemed to score at will in the third quarter when they combined for 50 points. Teague took the lead twice and Groesbeck answered both times.
Teague scored four plays into the second half to take a 21-14 lead. Quarterback Jake Callahan hit receiver Jarrett Bodine for a 29-yard touchdown just 86 seconds into the third quarter.
Groesbeck responded immediately. Sophomore Anthony Lewis picked up the kickoff at the 9-yard line, raced around the right side and bolted up the sidelines for a 91-yard touchdown. Juan Palomo’s extra point tied the score 21-21.
Teague answered immediately. On the first play after the kickoff, Nemier Herod galloped 61 yards for at touchdown with 9 minutes, 54 seconds left in the third quarter. The PAT kick was wide and Teague led 27-21.
Again, the lead was short-lived. Groesbeck scored 74 seconds later on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Allen Lewis to Brenden Morrow, one of three TD connections for the duo. The PAT gave the Goats a slim one-point lead.
Groesbeck’s defense rose up on the next series and held Teague to a three-and-out. The Lions lined up in punt formation, and the snap went over the punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety to put Groesbeck ahead, 30-27, with just under seven and a half minutes left in the quarter..
On the ensuing drive, the Goats penetrated into the red zone, but were pushed back due to penalties and faced a third-and-32 at Teague’s 38-yard line. Allen Lewis dropped back and found a wide-open Morrow sprinting down the middle of the field for a 38-yard touchdown. The PAT gave Groesbeck a 10-point lead, 37-27.
Teague continued to battle, but every time the Lions got a touchdown to get within three points, Groesbeck answered with a score of its own.
Herod raced 32 yards for a TD with 1:04 left in the third quarter to get the Lions within 37-34.
But on the first play after the kickoff, Ma’Quay Smith ran 69 yards for a TD with 36 seconds left in the stanza to put Groesbeck back on top by 10 points.
Teague pulled within three again when Callahan numbered receiver Wayland Allison for a 6-yard touchdown hookup with 7:32 remaining.
Groesbeck responded again on the fourth play after the kickoff when Smith ripped off a 32-yard touchdown run to give Groesbeck a 51-41 cushion with just under six minutes to play.
Teague’s next drive stalled in Groesbeck territory and the Goats took over on downs at their own 27. They ran out the final 4:18 to clinch the win.
Bomar noted that the Goats’ main playmakers are all underclassmen. Smith, who rushed for 225 yards and two touchdowns, is a sophomore. Quarterback Allen Lewis also is a sophomore. He ran for 51 yards and a touchdown and completed 11-of-18 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. All the scores went to junior receiver Morrow, who had three catches for 82 yards. Anthony Lewis, who ran a kickoff back 91 yards for a touchdown, also is a sophomore. Their other top receiver, Tyson Pringle, is a junior.
Bomar said his team has been resilient all year, and has shown it can score points with Allen Lewis at quarterback.
“As long as we had Allen Lewis at quarterback and our full starting lineup in there, that’s the way we’ve played all year,” Bomar said. “Early in the season, even though we won some games handily, there were times in those games we had to make plays, maybe things weren’t going right. I think our young guys on offense have a tremendous amount of confidence and believe in each other. It’s all led by Allen Lewis. He’s the one that makes everything go for us. He’s very mature, very poised.”
Bomar said there was a point during Wednesday’s game when the frustration level was growing for the Goats. The coach was telling his players on the sideline to keep playing hard against a Teague team that battled every step of the way.
“There was a lot of frustration because we were close to putting them away in the fourth quarter,” Bomar said. “I was telling them, we’ve got to hang in there. Allen Lewis looked at me on the sidelines and said, ‘Don’t worry, Coach, we’ve got this.’”
That’s the attitude Bomar is trying to instill as he continues to build the Groesbeck program.
“This is what we’re developing here with these kids,” Bomar said. “They’re all young. They’ve all played a ton of ball. They’re taking coaching well. They’re really maturing. They have a lot of inner fortitude that allows them to not give up. That’s what we’re trying to teach in the program.”
For Teague, Herod was the main offensive weapon. He carried the ball 18 times for 240 yards and score touchdowns on runs of 44, 61 and 32 yards. He also caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Callahan, who threw for three TDs. Bodine was the leading receiver with four catches for 55 yards.
Groesbeck returns to action Tuesday when it travels to Kemp for a 6:30 p.m. game. The Goats are slated to close out their regular season at home on Monday, Oct. 26, against Fairfield.
Teague will host Eustace on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Lion close out their regular season Nov. 6 with a home game against Fairfield.