Thrilling Center comeback falls short in 45-42 loss to Diboll

Roughriders fall to 0-4 as they head into district play

DIBOLL -- A furious Center Roughrider rally in the game's final seven minutes cut Diboll High School's 45-26 lead to just three points with four minutes left. 

But Center was unable to make a final defensive stop to get the ball back and fell to 0-4 on the year with a heart-breaking 45-42 loss at Diboll. 

"We've just got to cut out the fundamental mistakes that young football teams, as we are, make," head coach Barry Bowman said. "The
positive thing is that we didn’t quit fighting."

Early on, Center appeared poised for its first win as it answered Diboll's first-quarter score with coming Parks' 15-yard touchdown catch from Jayden Hicks and Alexis Lpoez' 20-yard field goal to take a 9-7 lead in the second quarter. 

 But Diboll responded with two unanswered touchdowns to take a 20-9 lead into the half. 

The Roughriders struck quickly coming out of halftime as Hicks connected with JaTerious Evans on a 58-yard touchdown to pull Center with four at 20-16. 

But Diboll again posted two touchdowns to push its lead to 32-16.

Center looked primed from a touchdown with a first-and-goal, but ended up getting pushed back and had to settle for Lopez' 32-yard field goal to make it 32-19.

Diboll added another touchdown to take a 39-19 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Roughriders went 70 yards on their opening drive of the quarter, including JaTerious' touchdown pass from Hicks to make the score 39-26. 

But Diboll again responded, intercepting Hicks to set up a touchdown run that seemingly locked up the game with a three-score lead at 45-26 with 7:14 left. 

Center, however, wasn't done. Less than a minute later, freshman Marquez Hall took the ball in from 12-yards out to make the score 45-34 with 6:33 left.

Center's defense forced Diboll the ball after four downs. The stop set up JaTerious Evans's 65-yard touchdown run that left Center down by just three, 45-42, with four minutes left.

This time, however, Diboll made two key first-downs that allowed it to run out the clock, and Center's hopes for the comeback win. 

“Execution," JaTerious said. "We've just got to execute and not turn the ball right back over. And with being
down only three points with every mistake that was made could have changed the outcome of the game."

JaTerious finished with Seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. 

Despite the interception, Hicks posted perhaps his best game in his four varsity starts as the sophomore completed 12-of-27 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a team-leading 80 yards rushing on 21 carries.

 Diboll outgained Center 

Scoring summary

First quarter

Diboll 3-yard run, PAT good 7-0

Second quarter

Kaleb Parks 15-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Hicks, PAT no good 7-6

Alexis Lopez 20-yard field goal 9-7

Diboll touchdown pass, PAT no good 13-9

Diboll touchdown run, PAT good 20-9

Third quarter

JaTerious Evans 58-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Hicks 20-16

Diboll touchdown pass, PAT no good 26-16

Diboll touchdown, two-point conversion fails, 32-16

Alexis Lopez 32-yard field goal 32-19

Diboll touchdown, PAT good 39-19

Fourth quarter

JaTerious Evans touchdown pass from Jayden Hicks, PAT good 39-26

Diboll touchdown, PAT no good 45-26

Marques Hall touchdown, two-point conversion good 45-34

JaTerious Evans Punt return for touchdown, two-point conversion good, 45-42

FINAL

2017 Center Roughriders (0-4)

Sept. 1 L @ Rusk 48-21

Sept. 8 L vs. Gilmer 56-17

Sept. 15 L Gladewater 17-3**

Sept. 22 L @ Diboll 45-42

Sept. 29 @ Bullard* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 6 vs. Palestine* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 13 @ Chapel Hill* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 20 vs. Carthage* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 27 @ Henderson* 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 3 vs. Kilgore* 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 10 BYE

* District game ** Homecoming