So what if it wasn't a district game. So what if Amarillo High and Tascosa will still play a few more games before the "real" season starts in district play next month.

Chances are neither the Sandies nor the Rebels will be involved in a more fun and exciting contest all season. And that's the reason they'll probably keep playing each other through eternity, regardless of whether or not they're in the same class or district.

In what was one of the most thrilling games in the history of the rivalry Friday night at Dick Bivins Stadium, it came down to the very end. Amarillo High pulled it out when Will Maynard hit Peyton Conner with a 21-yard scoring pass with four seconds remaining for an improbable 36-33 victory which was full of all kinds of symbolism.

Just the fact that the Sandies (1-1) rallied from a 14-point first half deficit a week after a 31-0 loss at Frenship to open the season to stay in the game was notable enough. There were questions about pride and just how good a team the Sandies had after two weeks.

"We got out there and it was our goal to pay like we did," AHS coach Chad Dunnam said. "What we did do was challenge our kids to be a better football team and they did that. We challenged everybody in our program to be better and we saw the results of that."

Amarillo High trailed 21-7 in the second quarter but bounced back. The Sandies dominated the third quarter, taking a 28-21 lead on touchdown passes from Maynard to Conner and Davin Lemmons.

But Tascosa (1-1), a Class 6A state semifinalist last season, bounced back in the fourth quarter. Major Everhart scored on a 20-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter, but the Rebels missed the extra point and it stayed at 28-27, something which haunted Tascosa at the end.

Then later in the fourth quarter, the Rebsls took advantage of great field possession, going 33 yards on six plays to take a 33-28 lead on quarterback Joseph Plunk's 7-yard touchdown run with 1:12 left in the game. Plunk finished the game with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

Max Burleson scored on a two-point conversion attempt, but the Rebels were called for holding on the play, pushing the ball back 10 yards. They fell short on a second attempt and led 33-28.

That set the stage for one last drive by the Rebels, who took over at their own 29 with little time or margin for error.

"First of all the guys on defense were on the sideline all cheering us on," said Maynard, a junior who threw for 208 yards and three scores while running for another. "That first pass to Bryson Slaughter was pretty crazy. I didn't see him catch it because I got knocked down in the backfield."

That pass to Slaughter was a third-and-15 which Maynard threw into triple coverage, but Slaughter somehow came down with it at midfield for a first down. Two plays later, Cayden Phillips came down with a leaping catch at the Tascosa 32-yard line, making a dramatic rally look more and more possible.

With the ball at Tascosa's 21 and 11 seconds left, the Sandies appeared to only have two more chance to try to win it. Conner wanted the ball to come to him.

"I'm a senior and I didn't want to lose so I told coach to give me a chance to make a play," said Conner, who had only two catches, but they both went for touchdowns. "I saw the throw in there and I knew I just had to get a foot down."

Maynard threw it to the right front corner of the end zone and Conner reached up to catch it and dragged in a foot. Rebel defensive backs signaled that the pass was incomplete, but officials decided otherwise and that was the only decision which mattered.

And for the second straight year, the Sandies won a close one in a crosstown rivalry game, leaving the Rebels disappointed again.

"It's a really tough loss," Tascosa coach Ken Plunk said. "It was a game which could have gone either way. (The Sandies) made a play at the end to win it. It didn't help that we had a penalty that wiped out that two-point play."

Tascosa held a 21-14 halftime lead and struck first, forcing an Amarillo High punt after the opening kickoff an moving 69 yards in seven plays, all runs, for the score. Darius Sanders scored from 11 yards out to make it 7-0.

The Rebels then seemed on the verge of perhaps invoking a blowout on the ensuing possession. Amarillo High was forced to punt again, but tried to run a fake and Peyton Conner was tackled at his own 18-yard line, setting up the Rebels in prime scoring position.

But Tascosa botched a pitch (one of two on the night by the Rebels) and Amarillo High defensive end Luke Ramsey recovered. The Sandies then marched 85 yards on eight plays, all runs, with seven of them coming from Blake Bedwell who ended the drive with a 23-yard scoring run to tie it 7-7. Bedwell finished with 109 yards on 23 carries.

The Rebels then scored on a 29-yard pass from Plunk to Max Burleson and a 1-yard run by Plunk to make it 21-7 in the second quarter. But Amarillo High answered back with a 75-yard, nine-play scoring drive, capped by Maynard's 2-yard run to make it 21-14.

 

Amarillo High 36, Tascosa 33

Tascosa 14 7 0 12 — 33

Amarillo High 7 7 14 8 — 36

First Quarter

T—Darius Sanders 16 run (Max Burleson kick), 6:57

AHS—Blake Bedwell 23 run (A.J. Villar kick), 2:28

T—Burleson 29 pass from Joseph Plunk (Burleson kick), 0:19

Second Quarter

T—Plunk 1 run (Burleson kick), 6:17

AHS—Will Maynard 2 run (Villar kick), 2:23

Third Quarter

AHS—Peyton Conner 18 pass from Maynard (Villar kick), 8:26

AHS—Davin Lemmons 38 pass from Maynard (Villar kick), 2:10

Fourth Quarter

T—Major Everhart 20 run (kick failed), 11:23

T—Plunk 7 run (run failed), 6:12

AHS—Conner 21 pass from Maynard (Maynard run), 0:04

 Tascosa Amarillo High

First downs 22 18

Rushing 358 170

Passing 64 208

Total yards 422 378

C-A-I 3-7-1 11-22-1

Punts 4-37.3 5-36.4

Fumbles-lost 2-2 3-1

Penalties-yards 7-57 2-14

 

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Tascosa: Parker Settle 9-28, Plunk 24-141, Everhart 5-72, Logan Nance 6-55, Sanders 3-15, Burleson 5-27, Chance Jones 4-20. Amarillo High: Bedwell 23-109, Maynard 7-8, Taevon Hood 10-52, Conner 1-1.

PASSING—Tascosa: Plunk 3-7-1-64. Amarillo High: Maynard 11-22-1-208.

RECEIVING—Tascosa: Brandon Sanders 2-35, Burleson 1-29 . Amarillo High: Bryson Slaughter 2-32, Lemmons 5-94, Cayden Johnson 1-20, Conner 2-39, Cayden Phillips 1-23.