Shadow Creek crowned 2019 5A Div. I state champions

PEARLAND SHADOW CREEK — The Shadow Creek Sharks went back to AT&T Stadium in Arlington with some unfinished business from last year. They returned home with the 2019 UIL 5A Div. I state championship trophy after beating the Denton Ryan Raiders 28-22.

The Sharks went 15-1 in their first year of varsity football with their only loss coming at the hands of three-time state champion Highland Park 27-17.

Shadow Creek head coach Brad Butler used that loss as the battle cry for the Sharks as they prepared for the 2019 season.

"They set their goals here last year," Butler said after the game. "Very mature group and very dedicated group. I think you have to be close knit as a team to be able to get here and do this. I can't say enough about the commitment that they had."

While the offense knew they would score, it turned out to be the Sharks' defense that decided the outcome of this year's state championship.

Shadow Creek is now 31-1 in its first two years - a perfect ending with the school's athletics programs moving to Class 6A next year - which raises the question if any program in the future can ever match Shadow Creek as far as debuts are concerned.

After a fierce battle, Ryan had one more chance to break hearts with a late drive into Shadow Creek territory thanks to a pass interference call. Ryan QB Seth Henigan's lob toward the end zone with two seconds remaining was nearly caught by Drew Sanders and would've given all of AT&T Stadium flashbacks of North Shore-Duncanville in 2018.

But it wasn't meant to be as the Shadow Creek's T.J. Marshall knocked the ball out of Sanders' hands and the celebration began.

Perhaps the most exciting play was made by Randy Masters with 5:43 left in the second quarter and the Sharks trailing 8-7.

Denton Ryan was forced to punt and the snap sailed over the head of punter Riley Nozzo who retreated to the Raiders end zone to pick up the ball. When he was unable to get control of the loose ball, he opted to kick it back toward the field of play.

Masters saw the ball heading toward the side line and had the heads up to pick up the ball and race 37-yards to the Ryan end zone for the touchdown. A penalty flag was thrown for the illegal kick, which was declined so Masters' score was upheld

Shadow Creek took a 14-8 lead into the dressing room at halftime because of that heads up play by Masters.

The Sharks scored first on a 11-play, 56-yard scoring drive capped off by a 1-yard sneak by QB Kyron Drones. The extra point by Eric Landaverde was good for a 7-0 lead with 7:27 left in the opening stanza.

It took 15 seconds for Denton Ryan to answer as Tra Smith fielded the ensuing kickoff at the Raiders seven-yard line and returned the ball for a 93-yard touchdown. The Raiders were successful on their two-point conversion for an 8-7 lead.

But the punt return for the score gave the Sharks a 14-8 advantage.

Shadow Creek opened up the second half with a 10-play, 92-yard scoring march that was capped off by a one-yard run by Drones. The PAT was good by Landaverde and the Sharks were up 21-8 with 7:58 left in the third quarter. The drive was highlighted with a 28-yard pass completion from Drones to C.J. Guidry.

Ryan closed the gap on their first possession of the second half with a 12-play, 63-yard drive with Sanders scoring on a 2-yard run making the score 21-15 with 3:24 left in the third.

With 5:58 remaining in the game, the Sharks went on a 7-play, 67-yard drive.

Facing second-and- nine on their own 37, Drones got loose on a 55-yard jaunt to the Ryan eight-yard line. Kelvon Brown got the next call and broke through several tackles to score on an 8-yard run. The PAT was good and the Sharks had a little breathing room 28-15 with 3:08 left in the game.

But the Raiders weren't going away as they scored in less than two minutes on a 26-yard scoring pass from Henigan to Sanders to cut the lead to 28-22 with 1:14 remaining in the contest.

Ryan held the Sharks to three-plays and out to get the ball back on their 18 following the punt.

The Raiders worked their way down the field to the Sharks 26-yard line with 02 seconds left. The Hail Mary pass fell off the hands of Sanders in the end zone thanks to Shadow Creek's T.J. Marshall who made a huge hit to jar the ball loose from a game-winning catch.

Shadow Creek's defense came up big limiting Ryan to only 57 total yards in the first half and 250 total yards for the game.

Meanwhile, the Sharks offense had 212 yards rushing and 185 yards passing for a total of 397 total yards.

Drones led the offense hitting 10-of-18 passing for 185 yards and rushing for 152 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.

Brown had 63 yards on 14 totes and one score while Jayveon Bell had six carries for 18 yards.

Greg Hancock had 3 catches for 59 yards while C.J. Guidry had two grabs for 46 yards. Jared Jackson had one catch for 20 yards and Brown had one grab for 16 yards while Seth Jones had three receptions for 44 yards.

Shadow Creek concludes the 2019 season with the grand prize and a perfect 16-0 record in only their second season of varsity football.

Drones was named the Offensive MVP while Jeremy Harris was named the Defensive MVP. for the game.