Tivy suffered a heartbreaking 28-14 loss to Medina Valley Friday night at Antler Stadium after the Panthers took the lead with 5:40 left to play, then cemented the win with a second fourth-quarter touchdown in District 15-5A Division II action.
Defensive playmakers Hayden Poe, Connor Scherer, Coleson Abel and Ronald Hannemann helped the Antlers’ defense record multiple stops on the night, win multiple third-down battles and take down Panther quarterback Nick Rash on multiple occasions, and Tivy’s offense had some brilliant moments, converting three fourth-down challenges to new life, but in the end could not capitalize the effort into touchdowns.
Medina Valley scored on an Antler miscue that gave them field advantage at the Tivy 1 yard line. Rash scampered into the end zone for a Panther touchdown with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter. Dyland Leal split the uprights to give Medina Valley a 7-0 lead.
After piecing together some positive rushing yardage and a 22-yard pass from Rash to Bobby Peterson at the end of the quarter, Medina Valley scored in the first eight seconds of the second quarter when Peterson rushed 21 yards across the goal line. With Leal’s extra point kick, the Panthers upped their lead to 14-0.
After starting off a bit sluggish, Tivy’s offense heated up on its next series, which ended with a 6-yard rushing touchdown by Ryan Maberry. Zachary Donaldson made good on the extra-point kick to bring the Antlers within striking distance at 14-7 with 7:42 left in the first half of play.
After the break, Tivy quarterback Jake Layton connected with Jack Frazier on a 3-yard touchdown toss at the 7:24 mark. Donaldson punched in the extra point kick and the game was tied 14-14.
Rash completed only 5 of 11 passes on the night, but one of those was a 40-yard rocket to Rafe Clendenin for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers the lead. A missed extra-point attempt gave Antler fans hope with the score at 20-14 and 5:40 remaining.
However, Tivy fell less than a yard short of a much-needed first down with little more than four minutes left in the game, giving the Panthers back the ball on the Antler 49 yardline. Tivy’s defense held strong and denied a first down, forcing the Medina Valley punt team come on the field. The Antlers still had a shot at the win, but a fake Panther punt resulted in a 46-yard touchdown when Rash grabbed the snap and sprinted to the goal line with 1:37 remaining. Medina Valley then converted for two points on a run by Tyler Mangum.
The Antlers recorded 231 total offensive yards during the contest, with Layton completing 8 of 18 passes for 86 yards for one touchdown and rushing for 58 more on 19 attempts. Fisher Middleton led the ground game for Tivy with 22 carries for 80 yards.
Middleton added 21 receiving yards on two catches, while Jackson Johnston recorded a dramatic one-handed, 32-yard reception.
The Panthers finished with 251 offensive yards, 107 of which came in the air.
Tivy (2-2, 2-6) will be on the road next week, where they will take on Alamo Heights Friday night for the final game in regular season play.