Clay Honeycutt saw his high school football career coming to an end - much sooner than he would have liked. The Dickinson quarterback watched Willowridge score with 2:12 left in the game to take a five-point lead in their first-round playoff game.
The Gators had been struggling to move the ball all game. Willowridge was one of the biggest surprise stories in Houston this year, turning things around from a winless season a year ago to going undefeated in district play this year. However, it was not supposed to be like this. Dickinson was not supposed to have too many problems dispatching of the Eagles. However, their backs were now to the wall.
"They actually scored with about two minutes left," the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Honeycutt said. "The quarterback threw a little hitch route and the receiver broke it for like 60 yards. Our defense had played so well. I didn't want them to feel like it should be on them if we lost.
"Their crowd was going crazy. They felt like the win was in their hands already. With the way the offense had been playing, they had a lot of reason to celebrate early."
His team had only scored 14 points in the entire game thus far. Honeycutt, a Texas A&M commit, knew that this was the only drive that mattered, though. He called his offense over and showed the poise and leadership that helped earn him a scholarship offer from the Aggies.
"Right after they scored, I got the offense up," Honeycutt said. "I told them, 'Y'all know what we have to do. We have to score here or this is our last game.' We all realized that, no matter what, we had to score. We went out there and it was a whole different team. Everybody executed everything perfectly, we moved down the field easily and we just punched it in.
"We had about two minutes left on the clock and we were down 19-14. We had one more drive and we scored with 40 seconds left on the clock. We were able to show that we weren't going to just give up and head home at the first sign of adversity. We got the two-point conversion and walked out of there with a 22-19 win."
The first half was a different story for Honeycutt and the Gators as nothing seemed to go right. However, they made some halftime adjustments and changed the tone of the game.
"We just didn't make any plays in the first half," he said. "We had some dropped balls, I missed some reads and we just didn't convert our third downs. There was not one play that we had that gave us momentum. We were just not making plays offensively.
"We came out in the second half and picked up the intensity. I guess we realized we were playing a playoff game. Offensively, everyone picked it up. We started playing our game and we started putting points on the board."
Dickinson's postseason path does not get any easier as they play a familiar foe in the second round this weekend. La Porte features one of the top rushing attacks in Houston with senior Kendrick Perkins and junior Anthony Webb both having huge years for the Bulldogs. Honeycutt knows it will be an uphill battle for Dickinson, but they somewhat know what to expect.
"We play La Porte Saturday at La Porte," he said. "We wanted it to be a home game, but we lost a coin flip and they get to host. We actually played them in a scrimmage before the season, so we know what they're capable of. They didn't have Perkins then, though. He still hadn't decided to come back to football. They had the junior and he was really good. I remember him breaking off a long run on us.
"It's going to be a challenge for sure, especially with Perkins back now. They scored 42 points against Port Arthur Memorial this past weekend. Both running backs went for 200-something yards. We know we have our hands full, but we also know what we're capable of."