LONGVIEW — New Boston sputtered all night on offense and defense until it was time to make a game-changing play and the Lions five of them to defeat Malakoff 34-27 Friday in a Class 2A Division I regional at Lobo Stadium.
New Boston (12-1) was held to 114 yards rushing on 33 attempts. It did not matter because the Lions returned a fumble for a touchdown, intercepted Malakoff three times returning one of them for a touchdown and had a 76-yard touchdown pass to make up for the their offensive woes.
The win means New Boston and Daingerfield meet next week in the 2A Division I Region II final set for 7:30 p.m. Friday in Mount Pleasant. The two district foes have already faced each other this season with Daingerfield winning 40-16.
Malakoff completes its season at 11-2.
Tigers running back Damontes Dowell rushed 19 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns (19, 3) with Dariuhn Jackson returning a punt 41 yards for a Malakoff touchdown.
The game came down to the fourth quarter and two big plays by New Boston. The first happened with 4:05 remaining after Malakoff had just tied the game, 21-21, on a 2-yard touchdown keeper by quarterback Deric Greenhaw.
On New Boston’s first offensive play, Aaron Conkleton dropped back and lofted a strike to Jeff Gladney who had got behind the defense for a 76-yard catch and run touchdown.
The extra-point by Cole Pace made it 27-20.
Malakoff attempted to answer back, but on third-and-10 from his own 35, New Boston linebacker Wes Teague stole in front of Greenhaw’s intended target and picked off the pass, returning it the other way for a 42-yard touchdown and 34-20 lead.
Malakoff, undaunted came back with a 74-yard drive in eight plays, highlighted by a 30-yard pass from Greenhaw to Damontes Dowell on fourth-and-14. Dowell rumbled 19 yards for a touchdown.
But on the onside kick, New Boston recovered to close out the game.
Class 2A Region II Semifinals
New Boston 34, Malakoff 27
At Lobo Stadium, Longview
Malakoff 7 0 7 14 — 27
New Boston 7 7 7 14 — 34
NB—Quinn Dedmon 55 fumble return (Cole Pace kick), 10:55.
MAL—Dariuhn Jackson 41 punt return (Omar Gonzalez kick), :53.
NB—Jeff Gladney 15 pass from Aaron Conkleton (Pace kick), 8:45.
NB—Jawaun Johnson 5 pass from Conkleton (kick failed), 6:18.
MAL—Damontes Dowell 3 run (kick failed), 2:18.
MAL—Deric Greenhaw 2 run (Gonzalez kick), 4:26.
NB—Gladney 76 pass from Conkleton (Pace kick), 4:05.
NB—Wes Teague 42 interception return (Pace kick), 3:27
MAL—Dowell 19 run (Gonzalez kick), :52
First Downs 15 12
Rushes-Yards 41-248 33-114
Passing Yards 91 180
Comp.-Att.-Int. 7-19-3 8-14-0
Punts-Avg. 5-35.2 6-32.3
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-2
Penalties-Yards 7-70 2-20
RUSHING—Malakoff, Damontes Dowell 19-122, Marcus Dowell 10-83, Deric Greenhaw 8-20, Jared Givens 3-10, Dariuhn Jackson 1-13. New Boston, Keith Baldwin 10-68, Quinn Dedmon 16-55, T.Q. Dedmon 1-7, Jeff Gladney 1-1, Aaron Conkleton 5-(minus 17).
PASSING—Malakoff, Greenhaw 7-19-3 91. New Boston, Conkleton 8-14-0 180.
RECEIVING—Malakoff, Terrence Scott 3-15, Damontes Dowell 2-49, Braylon Cable 2-27. New Boston, Jeff Gladney 4-149, Jawaun Johnson 3-29, Quinn Dedmon 1-2.