Robert E. Lee had a clear mission in mind on how it was to make the playoffs. It needed to win its remaining two games to clinch at least third place in its first year in District 11-6A.
Well, Rockwall senior running back Chris Warren has changed that mission. Warren rushed for 471 yards and scored six touchdowns to deny Lee 61-54 in a Halloween shootout Friday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
With that win, Rockwall (9-0, 6-0) remains unbeaten in the district while Lee (4-5, 3-3) now must defeat Garland Naaman Forest on Thursday along with having Rowlett defeat Garland Sachse on Friday.
Kickoff in that critical contest is set for 7 p.m. at Williams Stadium in Garland.
Warren, whose father played for the Seattle Seahawks, showed he may be following in his footsteps. The senior scored on runs of 61, 84, 73, 3, 60 and 1 as the Yellowjackets held on late to deny Lee.
"The kids played hard and the defense played pretty well, but (Warren) is pretty special," Lee coach Darrell Piske said. "He runs a 10.7 in the 100 and we knew if he got a vertical seam we weren't going to catch him. The first couple times the backside linebacker got cut off. And on the (60-yarder) he got a seam on the edge and once that happens it doesn't matter who he's playing, he's going to score."
The Red Raiders scored more points than any team this season against Rockwall with junior quarterback Zach Hall passing for 151 yards and two touchdowns (23, 12), both to Isjuwan Barker, and rushing for 163 yards and two scores. Junior running back Tavon Wesley carried 25 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns, while Devonte Craver had a touchdown for Lee.
REL led at halftime 35-29, but the Red Raiders cost themselves a chance to lead by more. A penalty on a missed field goal by Rockwall gave the visitors an untimed down and Rockwall took advantage.
The only other mistake Lee made occurred late in the fourth quarter on a sack and fumble, which the Yellowjackets recovered deep in Lee territory and Warren did the rest.
"That one play right before half hurt us and of course that turnover at the end," Piske said. "But I thought we executed pretty much for the most part."
The Red Raiders took a 47-46 lead with 6:46 remaining on an 8-yard run by Craver, but Rockwall answered back.
This time it wasn't Warren but Xavier Castille, who tormented the Red Raiders as the senior receiver was left uncovered on a third-and-6 play and he made the catch and took it the distance for a 51-yard touchdown. Castille then caught the two-point conversion pass to give the visitors a 54-47 lead.
REL went back out to answer like it had done all game, but the Red Raiders' only turnover on a sack fumble proved to be the difference.
Warren scored to give Rockwall a two-score cushion.
Lee was able to pull within one score on the 12-yard TD pass from Hall to Barker but was unable to recover the onside kick or stop Warren from running out the clock.
Robert E. Lee got possession first and made a first down before punting.
Warren only needed two plays to make it 6-0. He received the handoff from junior Will Reed and raced up the middle untouched for a 61-yard score.
That was the first of three lengthy touchdown runs from Warren (61, 84, 73) who racked up 262 yards on only 13 carries in the first half alone.
REL countered with junior Tavon Wesley barreling in on scoring runs from 9 and 8 yards.
A 30-yard scoring run by Hall put Lee in front 21-16 with 4:56 to go in the half.
Kolt Casey added seven more to that advantage when the defensive end intercepted a tipped pass and went 16 yards the other way. Matthew Hawk's fourth of five PATs in the half made it 28-16 with 3:14 remaining.
Then Warren struck again from 73 on Rockwall's first play.
The Red Raiders special teams set Lee up again after their drive had stalled. A rugby punt by Hawk caused the Rockwall returner to muff the ball while trying to field it. Lee recovered the ball at the Yellowjacket 12.
Two plays later, Hall cut up through the middle for a 12-yard scoring run and 35-22 lead with 28 seconds left in the second quarter.
Lee had a chance to keep that cushion at the break, but two costly penalties enabled Rockwall to score.
The first was a 15-yard penalty on the kick return. The second gave Rockwall a first down at Lee's 7 after their kicker had missed a field goal.
With an untimed down from the 7, Rockwall put receiver Castille in the Wildcat. He faked a run before stepping and throwing a jump pass for a 7-yard touchdown to uncovered fullback Jaylen Veasley. The PAT by Tony Pecora cut Lee's lead to 35-29 at halftime.
Rockwall 61, Robert E. Lee 54
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose
Stadium (Earl Campbell Field)
Rockwall 13 16 14 18 — 61
Robert E. Lee 7 28 6 13 — 54
RW—Chris Warren 61 run (kick fail), 8:45
LEE—Tavon Wesley 9 run (Matthew Hawk kick), 7:42
RW—Warren 84 run (Tony Pecora kick), 1:43
RW—FG Pecora 31, 9:34
LEE—Wesley 8 run (Hawk kick), 9:01
LEE—Zach Hall 30 run (Hawk kick), 4:56
LEE—Kolton Casey 16 interception return (Hawk kick), 3:14
RW—Warren 73 run (kick blocked), 3:02
LEE—Hall 12 run (Hawk kick), :28
RW-Jaylen Veasley 7 pass from Xavier Castille (Pecora kick), :00
RW—Warren 3 run (Pecora kick), 9:56
RW—Warren 60 run (Pecora kick), 3:34
LEE—Isjuwan Barker 23 pass from Hall (run failed), :48
RW—FG Pecora, 10:28
LEE—Devonte Craver 8 run (pass failed), 6:46
RW—Xavier Castille 51 pass from Matt Jones (Jones pass to Castille), 5:33
RW—Warren 1 run (Pecora kick), 3:54
LEE—Barker 12 pass from Hall (Hawk kick), 2:46
First Downs 22 28
Rushes-Yards 48-523 57-381
Passing Yards 131 161
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-15-1 11-24-0
Punts-Avg. 2-39 7-30.1
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-76 8-47
RUSHING—Rockwall, Chris Warren 34-471, Xavier Castille 5-35, Tamba Juanah 6-10, Jay Galloway 1-7, Matt Jones 2-0. Robert E. Lee, Zach Hall 22-163, Tavon Wesley 25-107, Tyrec Grayson 1-56, Devonte Craver 6-35, Trevor Carr 1-17, Juwan Banks 1-3, Team 1-(minus 14).
PASSING—Rockwall, Matt Jones 7-14-1 124, Xavier Castille 1-1-0 7. Robert E. Lee, Zach Hall 11-24-0 151, Trevor Carr 1-1-0 10.
RECEIVING—Rockwall, Xavier Castille 4-93, Wyatt Miller 1-12, Chris Warren 1-10, Sam Crawford 1-9, Jaylen Veasley 1-7. Robert E. Lee, Isjuwan Barker 5-86, Jordan Devers 3-17, Tyrec Grayson 1-35, Trevor Carr 1-13, Campbell Miller 1-10.