MINEOLA — The Mineola-Grace Community game was always going to come down to the Yellowjacket defense against the Cougars offense.
Defensive plays from Jaquan Williams and Harry El Hallaoui in the final minutes helped Mineola’s stop unit prevail.
Dac Shaw rushed for 158 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:55 left to lift the Yellowjackets to a 28-21 victory at Meredith Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Mineola (4-0) stayed unbeaten on the year and avenged a lop-sided loss to Grace (2-2) in Tyler last year.
After Shaw’s third-and-final touchdown put the ’Jackets ahead, Grace drove to within 27 yards of the end zone in two plays, including an acrobatic grab from Garrett Newman.
Williams batted down a pass in the end zone on a wide receiver pass from Newman. On fourth down the Mineola line pressured quarterback Blake White and El Hallaoui stuffed receiver Keaton Yeatts well-short of a first down to allow Mineola to run the clock out.
Newman, who racked up more than 300 total yards the week before, finished with 183 yards this week, most coming on a 73-yard scoring strike from White.
The Yellowjackets trailed 21-7 at halftime before rallying. Quarterback Erik Galaz converted a fourth-and-2 for a 16-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Tyler Hudson picked off White and returned it 20 yards to the Cougar 6. Shaw did the rest to tie it at 21.
Mineola’s game-winning drive went 74 yards in 12 plays, eating up 7:33. Mineola coach Joe Drennon gave Galaz the ball on a fourth-and-3 from the Grace 30. His senior signal caller responded with a 5-yard run and Shaw went in from 18 yards two plays later.
Galaz finished with 80 yards and a touchdown rushing.
The Yellowjackets thought they had the defensive battle they coveted after a scoreless first quarter.
Mineola fumbled away the ball on its first two possessions, including one inside the Grace 5. But the Yellowjacket defense held the Cougars to consecutive three-and-outs.
A minute into the second quarter Mineola took a 7-0 lead on Shaw’s 4-yard run.
Then Grace found its offense.
Sparked by Newman moving to quarterback for the first time in the game, Grace drove 70 yards in six plays, capped by Newman’s 22-yard scamper.
The next drive, White returned under center. On the first play, the Mineola secondary bit on his pump fake allowing Newman to sprint behind the defense for a 73-yard touchdown reception.
Grace finished its 21-0 burst with a seven-play, 67-yard drive sparked by a 37-yard run from White, who later called his own number at the 3 for a short touchdown run.
The Cougars ended the half doing something they rarely do: kneel the ball. Grace received a punt at its own 32 with 0:41 remaining, usually enough time for coach Mike Maddox to go for another score. White instead took a knee to go into the break up 21-7, knowing the Cougars would receive the second-half kickoff.
But Grace never scored again as the Mineola defense came through.
Mineola 28, Grace Community 21
At Meredith Memorial Stadium
Grace 0 21 0 0 — 21
Mineola 0 7 7 14 — 28
MIN—Dac Shaw 4 run (Matt Shade kick), 11:07.
GRA—Garrett Newman 22 run (Keaton Yeatts kick), 8:34.
GRA—Newman 73 pass from Blake White (Yeatts kick), 6:38.
GRA—White 3 run (Yeatts kick), 1:53.
MIN—Erik Galaz 16 run (Shade kick), 2:10.
MIN—Shaw 6 run (Shade kick), 11:47.
MIN—Shaw 18 run (Shade kick), 2:55.
First Downs 13 16
Rushes-Yards 27-131 46-255
Passing Yards 178 16
Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-20-1 2-10-0
Punts-Avg. 4-28.0 4-40.8
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-3
Penalties-Yards 3-20 4-26
RUSHING—Grace, Garrett Newman 7-54, Blake White 9-42, Grant Childress 2-19, Micah Florey 2-19, Kade Clayton 3-3, Jacob Spitzer 1-2, Team 1-(-8). Mineola, Dac Shaw 29-158, Erik Galaz 14-80, Jaquan Williams 3-17.
PASSING—Grace, White 8-13-1—148, Newman 3-7-0—30. Mineola, Galaz 2-9-0—16, Shaw 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING—Grace, Childress 3-9, Newman 2-99, Florey 2-26, Statler Lewis 1-28, Clayton 1-9. Mineola, Tyler Hudson 1-20, Williams 1-(-4).