Indians outlast Mustangs in OT

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

Sweetwater had the upper hand for the vast majority of Friday’s 2-4A, Division II showdown with Seminole.
In fact, Sweetwater had a 14-0 lead at one point late in the first half, thanks to a bend-but-don’t break defense that kept the Indians off the board on three straight series where they got inside the Mustang 25 and forced two turnovers, both of which led to scores for Sweetwater.
But Seminole got the last laugh, rallying for a 28-27 win in overtime to hand the Mustangs (3-1 district, 7-1) their first loss of the season while also all but assuring the Indians (5-0, 8-1) of the No. 1 seed out of 2-4A.
Sweetwater led 21-13 and was on the verge of icing the contest until Seminole stopped a fourth-and-inches sneak by Mustang quarterback Chris Thompson and took over at Sweetwater’s 36-yard line with 2:34 left in regulation.
Given new life, the Indians seized their opportunity and scored on a 9-yard run by quarterback Alex Menchaca with 1:06 left. Menchaca then threw for two points to Reese Moore to send the game to overtime.
Then, Seminole took its first lead on a 1-yard Menchaca run in OT for a 28-21 advantage. Down to its last chance, Sweetwater responded on Thompson’s 18-yard pass to Kobe Clark, his third TD catch of the contest, to make it 28-27.
But the extra point failed, sending Seminole into a celebration. For Sweetwater, it was a heartbreaking defeat — only its fifth loss since the start of the 2014 season.
In the first half, Seminole had the ball 19 of 24 minutes and ran 35 plays to just 16 for Sweetwater.
Yet the Mustangs led 14-7 after forcing two turnovers inside their 25 on an interception and fumble recovery. Thompson took advantage of both by hitting Kobe Clark on an 83-yard bomb late in the first quarter and a 35-yarder to Andrew Melendez in the second quarter with 4:50 left in the half.
Seminole, though, scored with 1:54 left in the half on an option pass from Cade Barnard to Noel Salcido that covered 55 yards.
Then Seminole got within 14-13 on a 6-yard Daniel Grado run in the third period. A 2-point run try failed, preserving a slim Sweetwater lead. Thompson went to work, though, throwing a 31-yard TD strike to Clark for a 21-13 lead in the first 16 seconds of the fourth quarter.
With 6:42 left, Sweetwater began what it hoped would be a game-clinching drive but was stopped by Seminole — just shy of a first down — on fourth-and inches with 2:34 left to play.
Seminole took over at the 36 and scored in six plays — five runs and an incomplete pass — then tied it at 21 with a successful two-point pass to Moore.
After coaching for eight seasons from 2001-08 at Sweetwater, Friday’s win was the first for Seminole coach Kent Jackson against his former school in three tries over the last two sea-sons.
Thompson completed just 9 of 21 passes for 214 yards with two picked off, but did throw four scoring passes. He also ran for a team-high 111 yards, by far his highest total of the year, on 13 carries. Clark had four catches for 150 yards to lead Sweetwater receivers.