Foster has the formula. It just can’t find the finish.
As in both matchups last season, the Falcons stayed close to Shadow Creek and gave themselves a chance, but the area’s No. 1 Class 5A team again came away with the win, 24-17, behind quarterback Kyron Drones, who threw for two scores and rushed for a third Thursday at Traylor Stadium.
“I’m not surprised at all that it was another nail biter, that was very interesting right there at the end,” Shadow Creek coach Brad Butler said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for the job they do, and they’ve got some really talented kids on that team.”
The Sharks improved to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in District 10-5A, Division I. They’re 23-1 going back to their first full varsity season last year.
Their only loss came against Dallas Highland Park in the state finals.
No. 5 Foster, despite playing one of the state’s best 5A teams close for the third straight time, dropped to 5-3, 3-2. Shadow Creek rallied to win 35-34 last year in district after scoring 21 in the fourth quarter, and it again came from behind to win 25-21 in a high-stakes rematch in the regional finals.
No doubt feeling the frustration, Foster was fired up early.
The Falcons scored on their opening possession – an impressive nine-play, 80-yard march capped by quarterback Ryan Stubblefield’s diving 5-yard touchdown run up the middle for a 7-0 lead.
Then their defense did its part, forcing the Sharks to punt their opening possession.
“With both teams, there was a lot of emotion early on, and for us it was a matter of settling down a little bit and getting back to playing the way we needed to,” Butler said.
The Sharks took advantage of two big breaks to tie the score 7-7 heading into the second quarter. Wide receiver Jared Jackson pinballed into the end zone off three Foster defenders for an 18-yard score on a drive that included a defensive holding penalty that erased a third-down sack of Drones, and Drones’ forward pitch to running back Jay’Veon Bell after it appeared Drones’ knee was down for a sack.
So the Foster defense took matters into its own hands the next time out.
After one first down, Drones dropped back and tried to go deep, where he was intercepted by defensive back Jayden Oliver, who returned the pick 41 yards to Shadow Creek’s 8. The Falcons couldn’t crack the goal line, but kicker Nicholas Arellano drilled a 25-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead mid-second quarter.
That proved to be the difference at the break.
Whereas the Falcons settled for three after their takeaway, Shadow Creek turned its biggest play – a blocked punt – into seven points on Drone’s 20-yard run up the gut on a delayed draw for a 14-10 edge.
“He was big (Thursday), pulling the pull down,” Butler said. “He got some first downs when we really needed them with his feet. He was physical. Sometimes I’m gritting my teeth and hoping he doesn’t get dinged around, but he did a great job.”
And Foster’s first fumble led to another TD for Shadow Creek in the third.
Stubblefield took off on a third-and-8 and almost had the first down but was stripped and DB Jorge Jones recovered for the Sharks, who scored four plays later on a 33-yard pass from Drones to Jackson.
Shadow Creek’s next drive resulted only in a 25-yard field goal by K Eric Landaverde, but more importantly, the 15-play, 73-yard possession burned 6:12 off the clock, moving it closer to the victory.
A wild finish included consecutive INTs by Shadow Creek DB Jaylen Lane and Foster’s Oliver, who tallied his second, and a goal line stand by the Sharks, who denied Foster four times inside the 5-yard line, including on a fourth-and-goal carry by defensive lineman Chidozie Nwankwo from the 1.
Foster still scored again – on Stubblefield’s second rushing TD after Shadow Creek punted from its own end zone – and then nearly recovered an onside kick that careened high into the air, giving Oliver a chance to recover, but Jones fell on it ... Click here to read full article