WACO – Hempstead used a long pass, long run and kickoff return to end Tatum’s dreams of playing for a state title, 21-14, Friday in their Class 2A Division I semifinal at Waco ISD Stadium.
The Bobcats (14-0) advance to face Melissa next week in the Class 2A Division I championship at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington while Tatum’s season ends with a 12-3 record. It’s the school’s first-ever trip to the state-title game.
Hempstead led 14-7 at halftime, and after Tatum tied the game late in the third quarter, retook the lead for good when senior Trent Momon returned the ensuing kickoff back 94 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown. Momon, a Texas A&M commit also had an interception for the Bobcats.
Twice in the fourth quarter Tatum drove inside Hempstead territory, only for both opportunities to end on turnovers. The first was an interception by Momon in the end zone. The second occurred with just over two minutes remaining when Hempstead defensive lineman Alex Trujillo took the ball away from Tatum quarterback Jalen Overstreet on a fourth-down sack.
All Hempstead had to do after that was get a first down and run out the clock.
Bobcats tailback Archie Taylor finished with 136 yards and a touchdown with Obie Wilder completing four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Tatum senior quarterback Jalen Overstreet rushed for 77 yards and passed for 48, scoring twice on short runs, but the Bobcats made Overstreet and the Eagles struggle for every yard with Tatum totaling 220 and 19 first downs in the loss.
Meanwhile, Hempstead amassed nearly half of its 272 yards on two first-half plays, a 64-yard scoring pass and 68-yard scoring run.
After neither team could muster much on their first possessions of the game, Wilder and receiver Michael Wolfe provided the first of three highlight-reel plays for Bobcats. Facing third-and-15 from his own 36, Wilder looked about to be sacked before evading it and buying enough time to find Wolfe downfield for a big gain. Once Wolfe caught the ball, he wasn’t finished, juking multiple Tatum defenders all the way for a 64-yard touchdown.
Tatum’s defense sparked its offense to tie the game. After a three-and-out, Eagles senior Nate Pickett intercepted another deep pass. The Eagles had managed one first down on their first two possessions, but with Overstreet leading the way, Tatum went 62 yards in 14 plays – helped by a 15-yard facemask penalty from Hempstead – to knot up the contest on a 3-yard scoring dive by Overstreet.
The lead was short-lived for the Eagles, thanks to another big play by Hempstead. After a personal foul penalty backed up the Bobcats to their own 32, Taylor took the shotgun handoff on a draw and outraced everyone straight up the middle for a 68-yard touchdown. Hernan Sanchez’s second PAT made it 14-7 with 4:27 remaining.
Tatum looked to tie the game just before halftime, thanks to another forced turnover from Pickett, this time stripping Taylor with freshman Keshawn Smith recovering for the Eagles. Overstreet then hit Pickett on a deep pass play, but trying to do it again proved costly as his pass was picked off by Hempstead’s Will Smith to ultimately end the half.
The Eagles drove 60 yards in 10 plays late in the third quarter, capped by a 1-yard scoring sneak by Overstreet. Samuel Zapata connected on his second PAT to tie the game at 14-14 with 52 seconds remaining in the third.
Momon dropped back for the ensuing kickoff and was not touched as he found a seam in Eagles kickoff coverage and raced 96 yards for the play of the game.
Hempstead 21, Tatum 14
Class 2A Division I Semifinal
At Waco ISD Stadium
Hempstead 7 7 7 0 — 21
Tatum 0 7 7 0 — 14
HEM—Michael Wolfe 64 pass from Obie Wilder (Hernan Sanchez kick), :24
TAT—Jalen Overstreet 3 run (Samuel Zapata kick), 5:03
HEM—Archie Taylor 68 run (Sanchez kick), 4:27
TAT—Overstreet 1 run (Zapata kick), :52
HEM—Trent Momon 94 kickoff return (Sanchez kick), :38
EST. ATT. – 5,000
First Downs 7 19
Rushes-Yards 29-179 50-172
Passing Yards 93 48
Comp.-Att.-Int. 4-7-1 5-13-2
Punts-Avg. 1-29 5-33
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-66 7-51
RUSHING—Hempstead, Archie Taylor 15-136, Obie Wilder 7-19, Michael Wolfe 6-16, Will Smith 2-8. Tatum, Jalen Overstreet 25-77, Laderrion Johnson 10-38, Shaq Johnson 14-57.
PASSING—Hempstead, Wilder 4-7-1 93. Tatum, Overstreet 5-13-2 48.
RECEIVING—Hempstead, Wolfe 2-79, Brian Glover 1-8, Devonta Curtis 1-6. Tatum, Nate Pickett 4-49, Shaq Johnson 1-6, Jordan Noel 1-1.