Final score: Rockwall 42, Robert E. Lee 35
Quotable: “We were going to go for the tie and overtime. I would rather give our kids a chance there. We were going to go for the tie.” - REL coach Clayton George on whether he was thinking of going for the two-point conversion and win if Lee had scored on its drive in the final minutes that ended with an interception in the end zone.
Turning point: There were two. In the first half the Red Raiders were driving to push ahead by two scores, but were stopped on third down and fumbled on fourth down at Rockwall’s 22. In the fourth quarter, Lee had a receiver drop a catchable pass on third-and-16. Conversely, when Rockwall faced fourth-and-7 from the Lee 29, the Jackets TE made a 21-yard catch and run to set up a TD to take the lead.
The game was over when: The Red Raiders tied the game 35-35 with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, but were unable to prevent Rockwall from taking the lead back on a TD pass. Trailing by 7 points and 4:12 remaining, REL proceeded to drive 58 yards with the clock running the whole way. REL picked up a fourth-and-1 to continue the drive and a third-and-3. But on second-and-8 with less than a minute to play, an interception ended the chance and the game.
Key stats: Both of Lee’s turnovers occurred in the red zone.
Warning signs: For the second game in a row, REL put itself in position to build a two-score lead but didn’t take advantage. Last week a fumble recovery eventually led to a turnover on downs deep in Skeeters territory. This week a stop on defense was eventually thwarted by a red zone turnover on fourth down by Lee.
Positive signs: Another defense that was powerless to stop the rushing prowess of Ladarius Wickware and Chance Amie. Wickware went over 200 yards rushing for the second straight game, totaling a career-best 288 yard and three TDs, with Amie accounting for 114 yards and two TDs.
What this loss means: It was a second heartbreaker in a row for REL (2-6, 0-5 District 11-6A), which seeks its first district success and will look to do it on the road Friday at North Mesquite.
Fast forward: The Red Raiders face a North Mesquite Stallions (3-5, 2-3) team desperate for a league win to help its postseason hopes after two straight district losses.
- Chris Parry