CORSICANA - Argyle linebacker Antonio Griffin called the defensive package "Stem-21." Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers called it "Honey Badger 21."
Whatever the package was called, the player who wore No. 21 for Argyle produced the biggest play of the game on Friday night in Corsicana.
On fourth-and-3, Griffin took a 78-yard interception into the end zone to put Argyle ahead by 14 points with 9:40 left in the third quarter.
From that point on, Argyle never trailed in a 51-35 victory over Gilmer in the Class 3A Division II regional final. For the second straight year, Argyle ended the two-time state champions' playoff run.
"They put up the sign, I got the coverage, and he told me to peek [into the backfield]," Griffin said. "Next thing I know, the ball was in the air. As I was running, I thought [Gilmer's Gavin Holt] was going to catch me. I didn't think I was going to make it."
Argyle earned the Region II title and will face Monahans in the state semifinals. The two teams will square off Friday at Abilene Wylie at 7:30 p.m. It's the team's deepest playoff run since it played in the Class 2A state championship game in 2005.
The sign Griffin referred to is a large white card with a picture of honey badger on it. The card is held up by the sideline to send signals to the defense.
Why the honey badger? Why not an average badger?
"You know why?," Rodgers said. "Honey badgers don't care. That's honey badger defense. We don't care. We're going to line up and get after you."
In the fourth quarter, it looked like Argyle (13-1) wasn't going to finish with the lead intact. Gilmer (13-1) cut the lead to six, but Cole Hedlund's 32-yard field goal sealed the victory for the Eagles.
Hedlund's final field goal was his 21st of the season. The kick gave the sophomore the state record for field goals in a season, which was set by Boerne's Hunter Lawrence in 2004.
It was only fitting in a game filled with Texas-sized performances.
Gilmer wide receiver and Rice-commit Darrion Pollard hauled in 19 catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Buckeyes quarterback Jordan Traylor completed 40-of-59 passes for 410 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Argyle's Austin Aune completed only 11 of 33 passes, but he totaled 300 yards and three total touchdowns. Ian Sadler had four catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and Chadd Bossow produced 144 total yards.
The Eagles' biggest offensive play came on the first play of the second half, when Aune found Sadler for a 70-yard touchdown catch. Sadler, covered by Gilmer's Kris Boyd, caught the pass and stiff-armed a stumbling Boyd before the wide receiver waltzed into the end zone.
Don't be fooled by the statistics. Argyle's defense proved to be huge in the third quarter. when the Eagles outscored Gilmer 17-7.
Rodgers credited his team's defense, which came up with huge stops when it needed to, giving Argyle's offense quality field position.
"We're here because of our defense," Rodgers said. "They've made some very critical plays throughout district and into the playoffs. They're the difference makers."
Argyle 51, Gilmer 35
Argyle 7 14 17 13 - 51
Gilmer 7 14 7 7 - 35
G - Darrion Pollard 8 pass from Jordan Traylor (Pablin Olivares kick), 8:47
A - Adam Khan 38 pass from Austin Aune (Cole Hedlund kick), 6:19
G - Gavin Holt 5 run (Olivares kick), 11:12
A - Aune 21 run (Hedlund kick), 9:06
G - Traylon Webb 17 run (Olivares kick), 3:20
A - Ian Sadler 25 pass from Aune (Hedlund kick), 1:55
A - Sadler 70 pass from Aune (Hedlund kick), 11:43
A - Antonio Griffin 78 interception return (Hedlund kick), 9:40
G - Pollard 13 pass from Traylor (Olivares kick), 7:37
A - Hedlund 27 kick, 5:46
A - Hedlund 39 kick, 10:20
G - Webb 4 pass from Traylor (Olivares kick), 7:03
A - Hedlund 32 kick, 2:05
A - Bossow 26 run (Hedlund kick), 1:21
First Downs 26 19
Rushes-yds 29-130 28-97
Passing yards 300 410
Total yards 430 507
Passes 11-33-0 40-59-2
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
Punts-avg. 3-38 3-26
Penalties-yds 5-33 8-54
Rushing: A - Tyler Eveleth 13-31, Austin Aune 6-32, Chance Bode 1-1, Chadd Bossow 7-55, Ian Sadler 1-3, Team Stat 1- (-1)2. G - Darrion Pollard 4-30, Gavin Holt 13-57, Chase Tate 6-3, Jordan Traylor 2-(-1)19, Jeremy McMillian 2-9, Traylon Webb 1-17.
Passing: A - Austin Aune 11-33-0-300. G - Jordan Traylor 40-592-410.
Receiving: A - Ian Sadler 4-136, Chadd Bossow 4-92, Adam Khan 3-72. G - Traylon Webb 6-51, Gavin Holt 6-70, Darrion Pollard 19-214, Chase Tate 6-59, Jeremy McMillian 2-9, Eddie Fuellen 1-7.