MESQUITE - Robert E. Lee would not give up and nearly pulled off an unbelievable comeback against North Mesquite on Friday night.
It ultimately was not enough in a 63-61 loss at E.H. Hanby Stadium.
The Red Raiders (2-7) dropped to 0-6 in District 11-6A with North Mesquite keeping its playoff hopes alive at 3-3 in league play.
Trailing 63-48 with 2:33 to play, the Red Raiders drove 69 yards in six plays with Chance Amie connecting with Jordan Printers for an 18-yard touchdown. Leonel Coreas was good on his seventh extra point to make it 63-55 with 1:21 remaining.
Lee only had one timeout remaining, so the Red Raiders were forced to try an onside kick - which Makyle Sanders recovered to give REL the ball at the Stallions 49.
The joy turned to despair though when an in interception by North Mesquite's Keyvien Johnson gave the Stallions the ball back at their own 4.
REL used its final timeout to stop the clock after the first kneel down, but would be powerless to prevent the Stallions from running out the remaining seconds.
A fumbled snap changed everything and REL's Campbell Miller seized upon the loose football to give the never-say-die Red Raiders new life at the Stallions 5 with 1:01 remaining. Amie was kept out on Lee's first three attempts, but on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Amie forced his way into the end zone to make it 63-61 with only the two-point conversion remaining.
Amie rolled out away from a heavy rush and got his pass away, but it was incomplete.
Another onside kick recovery was not on the menu with North Mesquite's Travon Crockett engulfing the ball to end the game.
It marked the second time in three weeks that Lee had been denied victory in the final seconds at E.H. Hanby Stadium and the third straight loss by 7 or less points.
Lee trailed 35-13 at halftime after having turnover on downs twice inside the 20 in the second quarter.
"We didn't execute on both sides of the ball in the first half and I challenged them at halftime to come back out and I thought they responded," REL coach Clayton George said. "They fought to the bitter end. One thing about our kids, they kept grinding and kept fighting and just came up a bit short."
The teams combined for 1,336 yards of offense and scored 76 points in the second half of an edge-of-your-seat encounter.
The loss ultimately spoiled a career-best night for Amie, who completed 23 of 38 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 115 yards rushing and three scores. Lee sophomore tailback Ladarius Wickware rushed for 147 yards and a score and junior Rhett Parker caught seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown and also scored on a 16-yard reverse.
Not to be outdone, North Mesquite senior quarterback Ja'Quez Gooch rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns with Dreshawn Merrieweather rushing for 200 yards and scoring five touchdowns.
Robert E. Lee moved the ball successfully throughout the first half against North Mesquite but struggled to turn it into touchdowns.
The Red Raiders drove into the red zone five separate times against the Stallions, but could only manage 13 points to trail 35-13 at halftime.
Leonel Coreas made sure the first two trips yielded success with the junior connecting on field goals of 37 and 34 yards.
REL also got an 11-yard touchdown run by Amie in the second quarter, but with two chances to cut into a 27-13 second-quarter deficit, the Red Raiders were stopped on downs twice. The first occurred after REL had driven to North Mesquite's 17. Lee's defense answered with a three-and-out to get the ball back. The second came after Lee had first-and-goal from the 1 following a 25-yard catch and run from junior William Cook.
The Red Raiders lost yards on its next two running plays. On third and six, Amie completed a pass to Rhett Parker to the 4, but it left fourth-and-goal from the 4. Amie's pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
It quickly turned into a 14-point swing.
North Mesquite drove 96 yards in a little less than a minute, capped by a 46-yard scoring run by Minnieweather and leave the Red Raiders trailing 35-13 at halftime.
North Mesquite 63, Robert E. Lee 61
At E.H. Hanby Stadium
Robert E. Lee 3 10 14 34 - 61
North Mesquite 14 21 0 28 - 63
NM-Dreshawn Merrieweather 12 run (Adin Garcia kick), 10:46
REL-Leonel Coreas FG 37, 8:34
NM-Ja'Quez Gooch 20 run (Garcia kick), 3:54
REL-Coreas FG 34, 10:47
NM-Gooch 59 run (Garcia kick), 9:57
REL-Chance Amie 11 run (Coreas kick), 8:02
NM-Gooch 51 run (Garcia kick), 7:39
NM-Merrieweather 46 run (Garcia kick), 1:04
REL-Amie 7 run (Coreas kick), 6:39
REL-Ladarius Wickware 8 run (Coreas kick), :16
NM-Merrieweather 7 run (Garcia kick), 10:59
REL-Rhett Parker 62 pass from Amie (Coreas kick), 10:43
NM-Merrieweather 50 run (Garcia kick), 10:01
REL-Parker 16 run on reverse (Coreas kick), 8:09
NM-Donte Howell 60 pass from Gooch (Garcia kick), 7:48
REL-Isaiah Davison 14 pass from Amie (Coreas kick), 6:43
NM-Gooch 66 run (Garcia kick), 5:00
REL-Jordan Printers 18 pass from Amie (Coreas kick),
REL-Amie 1 run (pass failed), :07
First Downs 39 25
Rushes-Yards 58-291 27-421
Passing Yards 374 250
Comp.-Att.-Int. 23-38-2 20-27-1
Punts-Avg. 2-40 3-41
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-85 10-78
RUSHING-Robert E. Lee, Ladarius Wickware 28-147, Chance Amie 27-115, Rhett Parker 1-16, Donerick McCray 2-10, Jordan Printers 2-3. North Mesquite, Dreshawn Merrieweather 11-200, Ja'Quez Gooch 10-189, Jawuan Clark 6-32.
PASSING-Robert E. Lee, Amie 22-38-2 374. North Mesquite, 20-27-1 250.
RECEIVING-Robert E. Lee, Parker 7-124, Isaiah Davison 6-45, Makyle Sanders 3-85, Rylan Thedford 2-32, Keashun Davis 2-28, William Cook 1-25, Printers 1-18, Wickware 1-11. North Mesquite, Ja'marzeyea Arvie 14-127, Donte Howell 2-81, Azaveshe Daniyan 2-40, Zavyar Swain 2-2.