By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN
ARLINGTON — The most successful football season in Malakoff school history ended Thursday night.
It just didn’t end the way everyone hoped.
The Tigers came up short in their bid for a state championship, falling to Grandview, 35-21.
Malakoff (12-3) hung with the Zebras (14-2) for most of the game and ended the third quarter tied 21-21, but ran out of steam in the final stanza.
“The kids played hard. We had a great year,” said Malakoff Coach Jamie Driskell. “It’s going to hurt for a while, but that’s part of it.”
Here are my 10 Observations from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
— The Tigers overcame adversity throughout the season and did it again for most of Thursday night. Malakoff turned the ball over three times and was still tied with Grandview going into the fourth quarter. But give the champs credit, Grandview controlled the clock in the second half and were able to make plays when needed late in the game.
— All of Malakoff’s scoring came through big plays. In the second quarter, the Tigers had a four-play drive that went 61 yards in just 1:47 thanks to a 21-yard run by Peace followed by a 28-yard completion from Peace to Parker Busch and an 11-yard run by R.J. Carr. That drive ended with a Keevie Rose 1-yard touchdown run. In the third quarter Darion Peace hit Andreas Garrett with a 44-yard strike for a score. Those five plays accounted for 30 percent of Malakoff’s total offense for the game.
— Kaderrious Thomas started off the scoring for the game with a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. This is the second week in a row with Thomas coming up with a big play when the Tigers really needed one.
— Another big play came in the third quarter when Peace and Nathan Jones hooked up on a 66-yard pass play.
— The Tigers were led on the ground by R.J. Carr, who had 69 yards on 15 carries. Darion Peace had 9 completions for 206 yards.
— Good all-around game by Andreas Garrett, who had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, plus a 22-yard run. He also had five tackles on defense including two unassisted.
— Speaking of the defense, Parker Busch and Colby Rush were both monsters and led the team with 13 tackles each.
— Instant replay bit Malakoff early in the game when a pretty play by Everardo Garcia was first ruled an interception, but was overturned after review. It was the right call because the ball did touch the ground as Garcia went to the turf, but in 14 of Malakoff’s 15 game this year that would have been a turnover.
— Announced attendance for the game was 18,233. I give a lot of credit to the Tiger’s fan base, they traveled well throughout the playoff run and were loud.
— Malakoff’s first win of 2019 will be the 100th as a head coach for Coach Jamie Driskell. All of those wins came as a Malakoff Tiger.