The Richmond Foster Falcons spoiled a double-digit lead last week against undefeated Alvin Shadow Creek in a late loss and nearly did the same Friday at Guy K. Traylor Memorial Stadium against a one-win Texas City squad.
But the Falcons were able to fall on two onside kicks to close out the contest and possibly secure a playoff spot out of District 10-5A-I with a 31-24 win over the Stingarees.
“We’ve been talking about finishing and playing up to our potential this week,” Foster head coach Shaun McDowell said. “I think we’ve shown flashes but we haven’t played a full game in a while.
“At Shadow Creek, we played 45 minutes out of 48. I don’ think we played a half of good football here.
“We have to figure it out or we’ll be going home early (in the playoffs).”
Foster (5-4 overall, 4-2 in district) built a 28-7 lead at halftime behind the arm of junior quarterback Ryan Stubblefield, and Texas City (1-8, 0-6) used the legs of running backs senior Jo’Vel McDaniel and sophomore Semaj McCall to gash the Falcons in the second half for 17 points.
The Stingarees had plenty of chances for more points in the second half with the team’s first three drives starting in Falcon territory as a result of a successful onside kick, a 20-yard punt and a long kickoff return.
Texas City converted the three dives into three points from a 33-yard field goal by senior Alex Paz. The field goal set the game score at 31-10 in favor of the home team with 18.8 seconds left in the third quarter.
A 13-play, 88-yard drive pulled Texas City within two scored with just over five minutes left in the ballgame.
McCall and McDaniels carried the ball nine times during the drive, collecting 73 yards on the ground including a 23-yard touchdown run with multiple broken tackles for McDaniel.
After a three-and-out by Foster, Texas City wasted no time scoring again.
Four plays into the ensuing drive, Stings quarterback junior Phillip McDaniel threw a bomb 50-yard through the air to senior Dayton Booker in stride for a 59-yard pitch and catch for a score.
Texas City trailed 31-24 with 3:05 left in the district contest.
Foster closed out the game with runs by junior Mario Simmons and sophomore Parker Hearon to collect the key first down to run out the clock.
For the explosiveness for the Stingarees in the second half, the Falcons lit up the scoreboard in the first half.
Senior wide receiver Shadeed Ahmed caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to open scoring through two sets of Texas City hands with 6:33 in the first quarter.
On the next drive for Foster, Stubblefield found sophomore Cody Jackson for a 61-yard strike up the sideline on the first play from scrimmage with 4:48 remaining in the first quarter.
After a three-and-out by Texas City, senior Jaden Smith returned the ensuing punt 57 yards for a Foster touchdown with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
Foster scored three touchdowns in three and a half minutes on the Stingarees in the first quarter.
Stubblefield added to the Foster lead before the half with another one-play drive. The Foster quarterback found junior wide receiver Sean Kelly for a 45-yard touchdown with 9:40 left in the second quarter.
Junior kicker Bryson Harrell hit a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter and converted all four extra points.
Texas City out-gained Foster 352 yards to 237 and had more first downs with 16 to 11. The Stingarees also led the turnover category with two Foster fumbles to one Texas City interception.
Phillip McDaniel was 7-for-14 for 133 yards and one touchdown against one interception.
Jo’Vel McDaniel ran the ball nine times for 120 yards and one touchdown.
Booker had five catches for 119 yards and one touchdown.
Stubblefield was 6-for-13 for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson caught two passes for 87 yards and one touchdown. Kelly caught two passes for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Foster closes out the regular season at Fort Bend Hightower, and Texas City faces Ball High at home.