Devon Achane rushed for 153 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns to lead Fort Bend Marshall to a 19-17 victory over Calallen.
The loss ends the season for the 13-2 Wildcats, who made their 12th appearance in the state semifinals.
Calallen appeared poised to reclaim the lead after Shenan Price rushed for a first down inside the Fort Bend Marshall 25 midway through the fourth quarter.
But an illegal chop block nullified the Calallen first down and led to a Wildcat punt after the ensuing third-down play. Achane delivered a crushing 80-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage to provide the clinching touchdown for the 15-0 Buffs at 19-10.
Calallen pulled within 19-17 after a 66-yard wheel route from Jarrett Garza to A.J. Brown with 3:02 left. But it was too little, too late as an onside kick attempt by Calallen went out of bounds.
Marshall then marched inside the Calallen 10 before killing the clock at the end of the game.
The game statistics were relatively equal. Calallen had 17 first downs and 283 yards of total offense. Fort Bend Marshall notched 210 yards rushing. 14 first downs and 309 total yards.
Achane came up big for the Buffs for the second straight week. His 47-yard reverse pass for a touchdown with less than a minute left boosted them over Huntsville to qualify for Friday’s game.
The victory also provides some closure for the Fort Bend community, still grieving the death of safety Drew Conley, who was killed in a domestic dispute Monday night.
Calallen players wore Conley’s number on a patch on the back of their helmets for Friday’s game, paying respects for their rivals.
Earlier, Achane’s 9-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Buffs a 12-10 lead.
Calallen’s playoff march has been marked by second-half adjustments. But Marshall made better ones Friday night, limiting Calallen to one first down in the third quarter.
Shenan Price’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1 second left in the first half boosted Calallen to a 10-6 halftime lead over the Buffs. It came after Calallen coach Phil Danaher gambled by calling his final timeout immediately before the play.
The gritty Wildcats bounced back after allowing Fort Bend Marshall to march for a touchdown on its first possession. They did not score during the rest of the half.
Price rushed for a game-high 78 yards on 15 carries in the first half to account for most of the Wildcats’ 115 yards of total offense before intermission.
His touchdown capped a 14-play, 68-yard drive where the Wildcats consumed the final 6:09 of the first half.
Calallen limited Marshall to 103 yards and 5 first downs.
Fort Bend Marshall (14-0) started quickly, scoring on the Buffs’ first possession to claim an early 6-0 lead.
Devon Achane’s 4-yard touchdown run on fourth down only 3:31 into the game gave the unbeaten Buffs the lead. It capped an 8-play, 75-yard drive.
But after that, they could not score although their final possession of the half ended with an fourth-down incompletion in the Calallen end zone.
After an early fumble by quarterback Jarrett Garza, the Wildcats (13-1) settled down. Joao Trindade drilled a 46-yard field goal into a stiff wind to pull Calallen within 6-3 with 10:22 left in the first half.
The loss dropped Calallen to 2-10 in state semifinal games.
It’s getting to be familiar territory for the Calallen Wildcats, who are making another trip deep in the state playoffs.
The Wildcats (13-1) square off with Fort Bend Marshall (14-0) tonight at Farris Stadium in San Antonio. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.
And of course, KRIS-TV sports director Alan Harwell will be there for all of the highlights and interviews before and after the game.
Here’s his pre-game report with legendary Calallen coach Phil Danaher.
And here’s the pregame weather forecast for tonight’s game, direct from chief meteorologist Dale Nelson.
Considering the game will not be available on any over-the-air video platform, this coverage will be superior to whatever you can find anywhere else.
And check out KRIS-TV after the game for Alan’s post-game report.