Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series at Texas Stadium
Presented by Burger King
Buford (Ga.), 42, Mansfield Timberview (Texas) 21
Cedar Hill (Texas) 38, La Salle Catholic (Cincinnati, Ohio) 14
Justin Northwest (Texas) 13, Woodland Hills (Pa.) 12
Arlington Bowie (Texas) 48, Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) 0
Euless Trinity (Texas) 28, John Curtis (River Ridge, La.) 12
Klein Oak (Texas) vs. Mandeville (La.), cancelled.
Colleyville Heritage (Texas) 41, Clovis East (Calif.), 26
Herbstreit Texas: Hill is King for Heritage
Herbstreit Texas: Big Plays Vault Trinity
Herbstreit Series Texas: Georgia Power Rolls
Hurricane Gustav Keeps Mandeville (La.) Grounded
Blue Collar Approach Powers Trinity to the Top
Trinity (Euless), TX vs Curtis, LA
Buford, GA vs Mansfield, TX
Bowie (Arlington), TX vs Trotwoo...
Cedar Hill, TX vs La Salle, OH
Northwest, TX vs Woodland Hills, PA
By Mitch Stephens
IRVING, Texas – In a series featuring arguably the nation’s best – Texas High School football – the finest was saved for last.
The best single-game performance anyway and perhaps the most entertaining of six games.
Steven Hill, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior for Heritage (Colleyville, Texas), riddled the Clovis East (Calif.) secondary, completing 36 of 47 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns leading the Panthers to a 41-26 comeback victory in the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series-Texas finale at Texas Stadium.
Hill, known perhaps better around the Lone Star State for his baseball prowess, completed three of his touchdown passes to longtime receiver pal Brandon DeFrance, who finished with eight catches for 177 yards.
The two hooked up for a 51-yard bomb with 34 seconds left in the third quarter, giving Heritage its first lead 27-26 since the first quarter. The Panthers then finished it off with two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter on another 25-yard hookup between Hill and DeFrance before Bryan Head put it away with a 2-yard TD run with 4:09 remaining.
The victory helped erase a season-ending defeat on the same field to Lewisville 24-21 and spoil a terrific effort by a young Clovis East squad that returned just four starters and one on defense from an 8-4 squad last year.
“We sat on that loss (to Lewisville) pretty hard all off-season,” Hill said. “So to come out here again in this atmosphere with this crowd, I loved it. If we can play like we did tonight every week, I’ll be a happy camper.”
The T’Wolves left the Texas camp back to California licking their wounds.
They got a gritty effort from 5-9, 175-pound quarterback Taylor Scott, who took two huge shots while
completing touchdown passes of 32 to Steven Bollinger and a 40-yard screen pass to Aaron Bell.
Clovis East senior running back Paul Jimenez rushed for a game-high 63 yards and also had one of the plays of the game with a brilliant 85-yard punt return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Jimenez let the punt bounce several times before picking it up at his own 15.
“I figured I might as well pick it up and see where I could go,” Jimenez said. “I saw an opening and my friends opened some big holes and I just went to the house. It was amazing, especially doing here at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. I was pretty much out of breath afterward.”
The T’Wolves were gassed trying to slow down the high speed spread attack of the Panthers and especially Hill, who also fired TD passes of 19 yards to Jake Skinner (9 catches, 91 yards) and 7 yards to Kyle Millan.
The Panthers finished with 455 yards of total offense to 344 for Clovis, which actually held a large edge in possession (29:06-18:54) but seemed to wear down in the second half when Heritage scored on its first four drives. Hill was particularly sharp after intermission, completing 19 of 22 for 221 yards and three scores.
“I don’t think we really changed our game plan but our receivers just really stepped it up big time,” Hill said. “They got their butt chewed a little at halftime and came out motivated and stepped up with big games.”
Said junior receiver Skinner: “We just made some small adjustments. We ran a little deeper and cut a little quicker. Obviously it’s pretty easy to score when (Hill) is throwing like he did. And the offensive line couldn’t have done better.”
It was an emotional win for the Panthers especially since their season ended here last season. “It feels great,” Skinner said. “It was total redemption. Plus that was a really good team we played. They had a lot of talent and speed, but in the end we did what we were supposed to do.”
It helped to have a little fortune on their side as well.
In the second quarter, Hill completed a two-yard out pattern to Head, who fumbled and the ball bounced right to DeFrance, who raced the final 22 yards untouched into the end zone to close the gap to 14-12.
“Yes, I’d rather catch the ball in the end zone than score that way, but we learn to never stop on a play,” DeFrance said. “I was surprised the ball was there but I just scooped it and scored.”
Clovis didn’t pout, instead traveled 56 yards in five plays just before half, capped by a terrific 32-yard TD pass from Scott to Steven Bollinger. Scott was drilled just as he threw the ball but lofted a perfect spiral to the streaking Bollinger, giving Clovis East a 20-12 edge heading into the third quarter.
“I don’t remember much about that play except taking one in the gut,” said Scott, who completed 5 of 10 for 116 yards and three scores.
Clovis East coach Tim Murphy felt a little gut-punched throughout the second half as his team lost two fumbles, failed to convert a pair of fourth down chances and saw his secondary get beat badly.
“Hey we’re a fairly young team and to come out to this venue and play that well the first half was very impressive,” he said. “But we made so many mistakes and they eventually caught up with us. Give them credit though. They made the most of our mistakes and made the most of what they do best. They’re very accurate in what they do.”
Of the six games, all Texas against out-of-state schools, the Lone Star State claimed five victories, losing only the opener when Georgia 2A power Buford defeated Timberview (Mansfield) 42-21.
Heritage linebacker Bryan Barton, who led every one with 12 tackles, said losing the finale wasn’t an option.
“To represent Texas was a good thing,” he said. “We simply didn’t want to lose this one.”
E-mail Mitch Stephens at email@example.com
Heritage 41, Clovis East 26
Clovis East 0 20 6 0 - 26
Heritage 6 8 13 14 – 41
H – Jake Skinner 19 pass from Steven Hill (pass failed), 5:23
CE – Aaron Bell 40 pass from Taylor Scott (kick failed), 10:08
CE – Paul Jimenez 85 punt return (Scott run), 7:55
H – Brandon DeFrance 22 pass from Hill (pass failed), 3:40
CE – Steven Bollinger 32 pass from Scott (kick failed), :27
H – Kyle Millan 7 pass from Hill (DeFrance pass from Hill), 7:35
CE – Steven Bollinger 26 pass from Scott (kick failed), 1:25
H – DeFrance 61 pass from Hill (Peter Strome kick), 0:34
H – DeFrance 25 pass from Hill (Strome kick), 8:15
H – Bryan Head 2 run (Strome kick), 4:09
First downs: CE 18, Heritage 21
Rushes-yards: CE 57-228, Heritage 15-33
Passing: CE 5-11-0-116, Heritage 36-47-0-422
Total plays-yards: CE 68-344, Heritage 62-455
Turnovers: CE 2, Heritage 2
Penalties: CE 6-55, Heritage 3-30
Possession: CE 29:06, Heritage 18:54
CE, Paul Jimenez 9-63, Hunter Hauscher 12-56, Julian Haymon 11-30, Mark Tom 6-30; Heritage, Bryan Head 7-18, Steven Hill 3-10, Brad Knotts 1-3, Josh Antionone 3-2.
CE, Taylor Scott 5-10-0-116; Heritage, Hill 36-47-0-422.
CE, Steven Bollinger 3-67, Aaron Bell 1-40, Nate Montagne 1-9; Heritage, Jake Skinner 9-91, DeFrance 8-177, Bryan Head 7-50, Stan Smith 5-30.
CE, Alex Bowser 10, Jordan Ruiz 7, Dennis Glukhoy 7, Nathan Smith 5; Heritage, Bryan Barton 12, Bobby Schneider 7.5, C. Armstrong 6.5, Carson Spann 5.