SCHERTZ- Johnny Manziel led his Kerrville Tivy Antlers (4-3, 4-1 in District 27-4A) to an upset victory over the Cibolo Steele Knights (6-2, 4-1) 38-34, in what Tivy head coach Mark Smith would describe as a defensive coordinator's nightmare.
Manziel did it all Friday night for the Antlers. Not only did he throw for two touchdowns and run for three more, including the game winner, but he caught a pass as well. Manziel's counterpart Malcolm Brown shall not go unnoticed as he put on a legendary performance of his own. Brown accumulated 327 yards rushing while scoring four of the Knights' five touchdowns, two of which came on breathtaking runs of 50 and 69 yards.
Tivy found themselves down by ten points twice Friday night, but rather than damper their spirits, it only helped to spur them on. Trailing 13-10, Tivy thought that they had twice forced Steele to punt, but Knight Coach Mike Jinks had other ideas. Not once on fourth down, but twice, his Knights faked a punt and converted. Dedrin Jones took the first punt as a direct snap and ran around the left side to pick up the first, while the next was a pass from quarterback/punter Nick Sergent that also found Jones. The Knights rolled with the momentum and scored on a 12 yard Alfonso Trammell run, while seeming to begin to pull away from the Antlers.
With just over one minute left in the half though, the Antlers were able to pull some momentum back their way with an 8 yard pass from Manziel to Mikhail Ironside, bringing the score back to 20-17.
The first Antler lead of the night came with 4:46 to go in the third when Manziel capped off an 83 yard that even saw him catch a pass, with a 4 yard run.
Just 17 seconds later though Malcolm Brown and the Knights would respond and reclaim the lead with a 69 yard dash on the first play of the drive. The Knights looked as if they were finally taking control back after Dedrin Jones intercepted Manziel near midfield for the first turnover of the night for either team.
The Antlers once again looked as if they were out of the hunt when to begin the fourth quarter Malcolm Brown bruised his way to the end zone on fourth and goal from the one.
Tivy's response would be a 71 yard drive taking just 2:03 that ended in a Colton Vick 15 yard reception from Manziel for the score, in which Vick was not even accounted for by the Knight defense.
"I've got to defer (the credit for the offense) more to Coach Scott and the offensive staff; I'm so wrapped up in a defensive coordinator's nightmare. I do know this; we felt like (Steele) wasn't real great in coverage. We felt like they freelanced at times, and we thought that if we got them into the second half that they would get tired and their pass rush would be null in void, and I think that all came true."
The Tivy defense stepped up when called upon. The following drive for the Knights would be three plays and out while seeing Brown gain no more than five yards on any single carry, including being stopped for a loss. Steele was able though, to pin the Antlers at their own 9 yard line off the Sergent punt.
Manziel and the offense picked up right where they left off though. Facing third and four at the Tivy 27, Manziel converted once again, this time to Andy Kinnison for 10 yards. The next play, the freelancing style of Steele, as described by Smith would hurt them once again.
Manziel threw again to a wide open receiver, only this time that was receiver Ironside. The pass picked up 22 yards and moved the Antlers into Knight territory while setting up Manziel's final score of the night, which came by way of a 15 yard scamper.
With 3:53 remaining the Knights seemed to be in prime position to take the lead and leave almost no time on the clock, but the Antler defense once again stepped up and made a big play when it mattered most. James Lampson forced a fumble by Brown, which was recovered by Stephen Cordova and effectively ended the game.
Tivy looks to once again take down the district's best next week as they travel to Alamo Heights (6-2, 5-0), while Steele looks to regroup against the Seguin Matadors (2-6, 0-5).