HOUSTON — The Grace Cougars survived a scare from the Houston Pro-Vision Warriors and held on for a thrilling 25-24 win at FUN Stadium on Friday night.
The Cougars trailed by double digits at halftime but rallied and held off a late two-point conversion attempt to preserve the win.
The Warriors jumped on the Cougars early, striking on a 76-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage. The extra point snap was low, but the Pro-Vision holder rolled out and passed for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
The Cougars responded on the next drive, going the length of the field, primarily on the ground. Fullback Brooks Bays punched in a four-yard touchdown run halfway through the quarter. A pre-game shower soaked the natural grass at O.J. Brigance Field, making the footing and kicking conditions treacherous. The Cougars’ PAT failed, and the score was 8-6 Warriors.
Pro-Vision would strike again on a deep ball before the first quarter ended, this one an 80-yard catch and run that extended the Warrior lead to 15-6. The Warriors pushed their halftime lead to 12 points with a 30-yard field goal.
The Cougars stopped another first half Pro-Vision drive when Isaiah Milton forced a fumble and Fletcher McCown recovered, sending the teams to the half with the score 18-6 in favor of the Warriors.
Grace came out on fire in the second half, covering 56 yards in only four plays. Luke Smith raced deep into Warrior territory on a wide receiver screen, and Price Williams found slot receiver Alvin Skipworth in the end zone for a 13-yard reception that cut the lead to 18-12.
Later in the third quarter, it was Smith who came up big again for the Cougars, this time from his cornerback position. He snagged an errant Warrior pass and raced 69 yards before being knocked out of bounds inside the one-yard line, where Jeremiah Milton strolled in untouched on the next play. Hamilton Williams’ extra point gave the Cougars their first lead of the night, 19-18 with 50 seconds left in the quarter.
Peyton Walters took a turn with a wide receiver screen in the fourth quarter and sprinted 45 yards with the football to give the Cougars a seven-point lead at 25-18. Lining up in a trips formation, Walters took the pass from Williams and ran through a lane created by perfect blocks from fellow receivers Alex Quintero and Skipworth.
The Warriors are aptly named, showing grit and determination all night and keeping the Cougar fans on the edge of their seats the rest of the way, as it appeared for most of the fourth quarter that the seven-point lead might not be enough.
Pro-Vision kept the pressure on the Cougar defense, and eventually scored on a six-yard pass with 3:06 left in the game to pull within a single point. The Warriors went for the two-point conversion and the potential win, but the pass fell incomplete and the Cougars clung to the one-point lead.
Pro-Vision would get the ball back with another chance at the win and was able to penetrate the Cougar 20-yard line. However, Cougar defensive lineman Brooks Bays recovered a Warrior fumble to seal the win.
Grace improves to 4-2 on the season and will return home to Clyde-Perkins Stadium next Friday to host McKinney Christian for homecoming and the opening of district play.
Pro-Vision (2-3) travels to Arlington on Friday to meet Newman International.