In bitter cold and windy conditions, it was a bitter sweet ending for the Texas City Stingarees Friday night.
Behind Jo’Vel McDaniel’s 153 yards rushing and three touchdowns, the Stings stunned the favored Ball High Tornadoes at Stingaree Stadium, 32-21, in a season-ending District 10-5A-I matchup between the neighboring rivals.
“They did a great job tonight,” Texas City head coach Leland Surovik said of his players afterward. “They fought hard the whole time. It’s always crazy when you play Ball.”
The Stings and Tors both finish with identical 1-6 district records.
Texas City carried a 20-14 lead into halftime, but Ball High, courtesy of an Evan Bennett interception, responded with a Clarence Dalton 1-yard plunge and a Zack Lerner PAT kick to regain the advantage, 21-20, with 6:54 left in the third quarter.
But the Stings took over from there, driving downfield on their next possession, Jo’Vel McDaniel ended the eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive with a 9-yard touchdown.
At that point, Texas City led 26-21 with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.
One play later, the Stings had the ball again, as the Tors fumbled and Kaleb Jacobs recovered at the Ball High 36.
In five plays, the Stings reached pay dirt, quarterback Phillip McDaniel covering most of the distance with a 30-yard scramble to the Ball High 13.
Jo’Vel McDaniel then weaved his way into the end zone from there, upping Texas City’s lead to 32-21 with 1:13 left in the third.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Jalen Toussant gave the Tors a chance to get back in the ballgame when he blocked a punt and rejected it back 35 yards to the Texas City 25, recovering his own block.
But Ball High only went backwards, the drive stalling in four plays at the 27 and the Stings eventually running out the clock.
“We had a tough season, but it’s not the end of the world,” Tors head coach Kimble Anders said.
Ball High scored first, marching 70 yards in six plays thanks to a 26-yard pass and penalty from Martavian Jackson to Nigel Green to the Texas City 44.
Jackson and Green hooked up again for a 9-yard pickup before Dalton reeled off the last 35 steps with runs of 17 and 18 yards, the latter for a touchdown.
When Lerner kicked the PAT, the Tors led 7-0 with 1:29 left in the opening quarter.
The Stings retaliated with a nine-play, 51-yard scoring drive, Phillip McDaniel — who had 118 rushing himself — keeping from 4 yards out.
Alex Paz kicked the PAT through, tying the game at 7-7 with 9:08 left until halftime.
Texas City scored again when two plays earlier, a Ball High player touched a low-sailing punt and the Stings were given the ball at the Tors 4. Phillip McDaniel dove over from the 1 and Paz added the PAT, extending Texas City’s lead to 14-7 with 3:20 remaining.
But it didn’t take Ball High long to answer back as Jackson sailed down the Tors sideline with a 63-yard dash to the end zone.
Lerner’s PAT tied the game once more at 14-14 at the 3:07 mark.
The Stings then had a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive, capped off by a Phillip McDaniel-to-Jo’Vel McDaniel 12-yard touchdown with only 11 ticks left on the clock.
A botched snap, however, kept the score at 20-14.
“We ended the season with good momentum,” Surovik said. “I’m very proud of the seniors.”
Dalton led Ball High’s rushing attack with 110 yards on 20 carries, and Green had three catches for 45 yards.