Friendswood tops Ball High in OT thriller 63-60

FRIENDSWOOD — It was a back and forth offensive explosion as Friendswood battled Ball High to a 63-60 win that was decided in overtime.

The Mustangs had to overcome two touchdown deficits resulting in a 57-57 tie at the end of regulation.

“We’re going to be talking about this one for a long time,” Mustangs head football coach Robert Koopmann said. “What I’m so super proud of is how our kids just battled and battled and battled. We could’ve went away a couple times in that game, and we didn’t.”

Friendswood scored on their opening possession going 72-yards in seven plays that was capped off with a 34-yard TD pass from QB Luke Grden to Nolan Smith for a 7-0 lead.

It took only one play for Ball High to tie up the game 7-7 when Robert Ellis scored on a 52-yard end-around run.

The Friendswood defense made their contribution as Jackson Stephens got an interception that put the Mustangs offense at the Tors 1-yard line. Noah Palitz got the call and he punched it in for a 14-7 lead with 3:52 left in the opening quarter. With 31 seconds left in the first stanza, the Tors scored on a 17-yard scoring run by Kristian Dalton to knot up the score at 14-14.

Ball High scored two touchdowns in the second quarter when Dalton scored on a 33-yard run and Keadrian Johnson returned an interception 85-yards for another score for a 28-14 lead.

But the never-say-die Mustangs scored two touchdowns of their own as Patrick Elizondo caught a Grden pass for a 30-yard TD while Cole Kelly scored on a 10-yard pass from Grden to tie up the game 28-28 at intermission.

Once again, the Tors took a two touchdown lead 42-28 in the third quarter as Dalton scored on a 57-yard run and Ellis scored on a 6-yard run.

But Friendswood wasn't going away as Matthew Kovacevich scored on a 2-yard plunge and then the Mustangs defense once again played a role in keeping them in the game when Nick Spencer recovered a fumble and Luke Grden hit Elizondo on a 52-yard scoring strike to tie up the game 42-42.

It took only one play for the Tors to go ahead again as Dalton raced 70-yards for a touchdown and a 49-42 lead.

Friendswood immediately answered with a 67-yard scoring run by Palitz and a Kovacevich two-point conversion run giving the Mustangs a 50-49 lead.

With 2:44 remaining in the game, Ball High responded with a 39-yard Dalton run for a touchdown. Dalton then lobbed a two-point conversion pass to Preston Lee giving the Tors a 57-50 advantage.

But Grden brought his team back once again as he completed passes to Elizondo for 30 and 10 yards to set up a 9-yard scoring strike to Smith. Conner Rickards booted the all-important PAT and the game ended in a 57-57 tie.

Ball High got the first possession in overtime and had to settle for a 27-yard Joseph Cianfrini field goal and a 60-57 lead.

The Mustangs ended the game when Grden hit Smith on a 19-yard scoring pass that gave Friendswood the hard-fought 63-60 district win.

Both teams totaled 1,082 yards of total offense as Friendswood had 556 yards and Ball High had 526 yards.

For Friendswood, Grden was 26-of-46 passing for 383 yards, Palitz had eight carries for 103 yards, Elizondo had six catches for 154 yards and Smith had six grabs for 125 yards.

For the Tors, Dalton had 21 carries for 252 yards.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am about the way we competed,” Koopmann said.

Friendswood will have a week off and then travel to face league-leading and undefeated Port Arthur Memorial in the final game of the season on Friday, December 4 at 7:00 p.m.