Antlers drop heartbreaker to Drippping Springs - Sports

Antlers drop heartbreaker to Drippping Springs

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Posted: Saturday, August 31, 2019 2:40 am

Tivy completed 55 plays for a total of 183 yards, while Dripping Springs went for 274 yards on 67 plays, leading to a 14-13 season opening loss for the Antlers Friday night in non-district action at Antler Stadium.

After an hour lightening delay to kickoff, the Tivy offense struggled to gain positive yardage in the first half of the game, while the defense, led by seniors Cole Mixon and Gonzalo Hernandez, were able to hold Dripping Springs to a single touchdown in the first two quarters of play.

Antler quarterback Trapper Pannell completed 13 passes for 145 yards on the night, but only two of those completions were made in the first half.

“We didn’t come out strong,” Coach David Jones said. “We played much better in the second half, but just didn’t make the plays down the stretch.”

Dripping Springs sophomore quarterback Preston Alford scored both of the Tigers' touchdowns, with the first coming at the 5:42 mark in the second quarter on a 5-yard keeper. Junior Coleman Chapman split the uprights to give Dripping Springs a 7-0 lead.

Alford followed up with a 55-yard run on the Tigers' second possession of the third quarter and Chapman punched in the point after attempt and the Antlers were down 14-0.

Big defensive plays including two sacks by Garrett Kleypas and one by Mixon gave Tivy the opportunity to gain momentum in the third quarter and the Tivy offense began to click.

In the final minutes of the third quarter, Pannell led Tivy 73 yards downfield to the Antler’s first score of the game in a series that included three passes to senior Cole Miears for 49 yards and an 8-yard run by sophomore Fisher Middleton that landed on the Tiger’s 1-yard-line. Pannell scored on a keeper with 1:56 left on the clock.

Down 14-10, the Antlers survived multiple third and long situations. Facing third down and 17 yards, Pannell connected with Miears on a 23-yard pass for a first down, found senior Brooks McCoy and rushed for 10 yards to land on the Dripping Springs 28-yard line.

Senior kicker Jared Zirkel nailed a 37-yard field goal with 8:42 left in the game to help Tivy inch their way to a possible win at 14-10.

It appeared that the Antlers were going to pull it off with several exciting plays that followed.

Pannell tossed an 8-yard pass to senior Stoney Rhodes. Under pressure, Pannell attempted to reach J.D. Rodriguez, but the pass fell short and just before it hit the ground, McCoy dove and slid under it for a 7-yard completion.

“I just saw the ball up in the air and just wanted to make the play,” McCoy said.

Pannell and McCoy teamed up on the next play for 21 yards with an exciting, well-guarded catch. The series ended on the 1-yard-line at fourth down, but a referee’s flag went flying as the Antlers were going for th touchdown and the ball was moved back five yards.

Facing the decision to go for the touchdown at six yards out or settle for the field goal, Jones opted for Zirkel’s kick, which split the uprights at the 5:27 mark.

“I felt like five minutes was plenty of time and went for the points,” Jones said.

Unfortunately, Dripping Springs made good use of the time and managed to gain just enough first downs to allow the clock to tick way and take the win.

While Alford only attempted four passes on the night, he recorded 75 yards rushing on 14 carries. Tiger senior runningback Curtis Cox averaged more than seven yards per carry on 22 touches.

“He (Cox) ran well and hit really hard,” Mixon said. “I think the defense did a really good job, but they just got us on a few plays.”

The Antlers will travel to Fredericksburg on Friday, where they will take on the Billies in non-district action. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

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