GAINESVILLE — With four seconds left Friday night, Gainesville needed 1 final yard and six points to top Krum and win the District 9-3A title.
The yard, the six points and the district title were all obtained in those final four seconds.
Gainesville running back Adam Berryman plunged into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown with no time remaining on the clock, giving Gainesville the 20-19 victory and the district championship at Leopard Stadium.
The game had no bearing on the postseason picture for both schools. Both teams had already clinched berths, with Krum (9-1, 4-1 district) already cementing its spot in the Class 3A Division II playoffs, where it will face either Argyle or Celina in the bi-district round.
Friday’s contest marked the final regular-season game in the Bobcats’ inaugural year of varsity football.
“It was remarkable and special that we were in this position for the first time as a UIL district football team and started football in 2008,” Krum head coach Gary Robinson said.
As Berryman was mobbed by his teammates behind the end zone, the Gainesville fans roared as the Krum fans digested what had just occurred. The Leopards (9-0, 4-0) kneeled the point-after attempt following Berryman’s run cementing their district championship.
The two undefeated teams had both sides of the bleachers filled, with Krum’s fans spilling across and over the fence surrounding the field.
Both teams sped through the game’s first three quarters and were tied at 7-7, setting up for an exciting fourth-quarter finish.
Through the first nine games of the season, Krum’s offense had amassed gaudy offensive numbers week after week. But against the district’s best scoring defense, it was the Bobcats’ defense that kept them in the game.
Trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, Krum failed to pick up a fourth-and-1 at the Gainesville 2-yard line. Krum running back Reed Flores was stopped inches short, and the Leopards took over less than five feet from its own goal line.
On the ensuing play, the ball was jarred loose from Berryman’s hands and Krum senior defensive back Travis White recovered in the end zone with 8:03 left in the game. Morgan Sprayberry’s point-after attempt sailed left, keeping the Bobcats one point down.
With 2:54 left and Krum at the Gainesville 10, quarterback Caz Wojciak faked a handoff to Flores, who leaked out of the backfield and hauled in Wojciak’s high-arching pass just inside the out-of-bounds line, putting Krum ahead 19-14.
Berryman’s final carry of the game erased the lead and handed the Bobcats their only loss of the regular season.
“It was almost there,” White said of the near victory. “But you never know. They were undefeated, too. You can’t take them lightly.
Along with the fumble recovery for a touchdown, White also had two interceptions in the game.
Berryman finished with 153 yards on 29 carries.
Flores entered the game averaging 145.3 yards per game. He finished with 116 yards on 25 carries. Wojciak threw for 65 yards and ran for 46 more.
Following the game, Robinson addressed his team near its sideline and fans. Some players kept their helmets on, some cried and all listened as Robinson emphatically told his team it had earned respect across the state with its play this season.
And the Krum fans lingered and hesitated to leave. They stood in the metal bleachers like they had for the final minutes of the game, eavesdropping on Robinson as he talked of the postseason, Krum’s first in the school’s first year playing football.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Gainesville 20, Krum 19
K — Brennan Ellis 13 interception return (Morgan Spraberry kick), 8:26
G — Johnathan Mendez 42 run (Hector Sagrero kick), 1:40
G — Denzel Johnson 61 run (Sagrero kick), 11:36
K — Travis White fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed), 8:03
K — Reed Flores 10 pass from Caz Wojciak (run failed), 2:54
G — Adam Berryman 1 run (run failed), 0:00
Rushing — K: Reed Flores 25-116, Brennan Ellis 1-(-1), Caz Wojciak 11-46, Jake Fleckenstein 4-41. G: Adam Berryman 29-153, Denzel Johnson 8-77, Johnathan Mendez 6-61, Jacob Royal 2-1.
Passing — K: Caz Wojciak 5-8-0 65. G: Denzel Johnson 3-8-3 23.
Receiving — K: Tanner Rankin 1-23, Dylan Coffin 1-7, Jake Fleckenstein 1-6, Brennan Ellis 1-19, Reed Flores 1-10. G: David Moore 3-23.