Friendswood escapes with win over Summer Creek 27-26

FRIENDSWOOD — For the second time this season, the Friendswood Mustangs defeated the Summer Creek Bulldogs, but this time there was a lot more drama than the 26-19 Friendswood win in September.

Someone once said, "You win games with offense, championships with defense, and a lot of luck!"

Friendswood got a taste of all three in their win over Summer Creek to advance to the third round of the playoffs for the third straight year.

On offense, it was a completion, fumble, and recovery that resulted in a touchdown for the 'Stangs. On defense, it was a third down stop of the Summer Creek offense with only seconds left in the game. And the luck was a high snap on a 24-yard field goal attempt that would have given the win to the Bulldogs.

"My football team is still a work in progress, but I said at halftime one team knew they were going to win the game, and I knew that'd be us, and we made plays when we had to," Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said.

When the game came down to the final play with the outcome on the line, Koopmann called a timeout just before Summer Creek was going to attempt the winning field goal to give them more time to think about it.

"A lot of people think it's on the kicker on those things," Koopmann said. "I used to be a deep snapper, and the deep snapper is probably more nervous than the kicker in that situation."

Koopmann's experience proved correct as the snap was too high for the holder to handle which created a loose ball that was quickly recovered by Friendswood's Reid Nickerson which saved the 27-26 win for the Mustangs.

Friendswood got on the scoreboard first when the Mustangs defense stopped the Bulldogs on fourth-and-one at their own 28.

The Mustangs turned that defensive stand into a four-play, 69-yard drive capped off by a 33-yard scoring strike from freshman QB Luke Grden to Austin Alvarez for a 7-0 lead with 5:57 left in the opening period.

Friendswood kept that lead even after the Bulldogs drove 67 yards to the Mustangs six-yard line where Nickerson came up with an interception in the end zone to turn Summer Creek away again.

But the excitement of that play lasted less than a minute as Summer Creek returned the favor by picking off Grden and returning the ball to the Friendswood four-yard line.

It took only three plays for the Bulldogs to score with 10:38 left in the second quarter. However, Friendswood's Wyatt Hall blocked the PAT leaving the 'Stangs clinging to a 7-6 lead.

Turnovers continued to keep Summer Creek in the game as they scored 10-unanswered points on a field goal and 8-yard touchdown pass to build a 16-7 lead with only 46 seconds left before intermission.

But the never-say-die Mustangs weren't discouraged as Grden dropped back and heaved a bomb that was hauled in by Ben Redding for a 68-yard touchdown cutting the lead to 16-14 at halftime.

Summer Creek received the second half kickoff and proceeded to score on a 10-play, 79-yard drive for a 23-14 advantage with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

With 10:32 left in the fourth quarter, Friendswood got some more luck when Grden completed a pass to Koleman Bell for 23 yards, Bell fumbled the ball and then Swaney scooped it up and raced 42 yards to the end zone to cut the Summer Creek lead to 23-21.

Summer Creek used another long drive from their own 25 to the Friendswood seven-yard-line. Facing third-and-goal, the Mustangs defense stuffed a run forcing the Bulldogs to settle for a 22-yard field goal with 4:32 left in the game and giving Friendswood new life.

It took only four plays as the Mustangs struck again with a Grden to Redding 49-yard bomb giving the Mustangs a 27-26 lead with 3:25 left in the game.

That's when the drama was set for Summer Creek who used the rest of the fourth quarter to set up the do-or-die field goal.

Grden was 14-of-21 passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns with three INTs.

Redding had seven catches for 169 yards and two scores.

Mustangs running back Mason Barnes finished with 55 yards on 13 carries and had three receptions for 50 yards.

Linebacker Jake Yurachek had three tackles for loss, and Hunter Scott had some key pass breakups. Nickerson had one interception and one fumble recovery.

Friendswood (9-3) advances to the 6A Region III Div. II semifinals and will face the Cy-Fair Bobcats (11-0) on Friday, December 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the UH TDECU Stadium.