TYLER — In a four-overtime thriller, Wesley Huber’s successful 2-point conversion run in the fourth overtime made the difference as Aubrey beat Center 43-41.
Both teams scored in the first and second overtimes, each missing their 2-point tries in the latter. They both failed 2-point tries in the third, then an Aubrey defensive stand in the fourth period set the table for Huber’s winner.
“Coach was just telling us to play for your brothers,” Huber said. “That’s what I did. I was just running hard, as hard as I could, and running behind my blockers. That’s how I got in there.
“I’m screaming ‘One more week’ [after the play], because it’s one more week with my brothers, one more week with my guys. It’s exciting.”
The Chaparrals advanced to face Texarkana Pleasant Grove (10-2) in next week’s regional semifinal round. The teams will square off at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 at Wildcat Stadium in Paris, Texas.
Huber was the lone Chaparral to find the end zone in overtime as he scored both of their touchdowns and the winning 2-point conversion. He did not have a carry at all until the first overtime period, when he ran three times in a row to finish the Chaps’ opening drive.
Even with his lack of carries during the game, the Chaps had faith Huber could come through when it mattered most.
“Wes Huber did an outstanding job getting the ball in the end zone,” Aubrey coach Keith Ivy said. “We have a lot of different packages that we get into and he’s in that goal line package. So he’s the guy.”
Leading the way on the night for the Chaps’ Slot-T offense, running back/defensive back Kai Bagley racked up 27 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Running back/defensive back LaBraylon Bell chipped in 20 carries for 122 yards and one score.
Aubrey had to survive a hectic overtime period to move on with both teams having their backs against the wall at various points.
The Chaps had a chance to win in the second overtime after Center missed its 2-point try, but they also failed to convert. Then Aubrey came up short on its 2-point play in the third overtime and could have been eliminated, but came up with a stop.
It made for a rollercoaster ride for everyone involved.
“You’re mind’s racing, you don’t know what’s coming,” running back/defensive back Kai Bagley said. “You have to look for everything around, what’s going on and you just have to stop ‘em.”
A back-and-forth first half saw Center strike first on a 41-yard touchdown pass 2:42 into the contest. Aubrey answered early in the second quarter as LaBraylon Bell scored a 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game with 10:55 left in the second quarter.
The Roughriders responded with a 24-yard touchdown run on their next drive, setting the halftime margin as turnovers and a 45-yard missed field goal by Aubrey left the remainder of the half scoreless.
Turnovers played a key role in the Chaps’ success on the night as they came away with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Tyler Brown had all three interceptions, while Jett Runion and Xavier McCoy recovered the two fumbles.
“The penalties hurt us there early, obviously, but we had quite a few turnovers,” Ivy said. “I think without a doubt that was the difference.”
The Chaps tied the game back up at 14-14 with 8:28 left in the third quarter on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Blayne Polen to Tay Ross. A rapid response came from the Roughriders as they scored a 35-yard touchdown pass just 3:25 later to retake the lead.
Aubrey struck back with two touchdowns in quick succession.
First Bagley ran in from a yard out with 44 seconds left in the third quarter. Then McCoy recovered a fumble at Center’s 5-yard line on the first play of its ensuing drive, and Bagley ran in from five yards out for his second score. The touchdown gave the Chaps their first lead of the game.
The Roughriders tied it up at 28 on a 46-yard touchdown pass with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter. The score would remain tied to the end of regulation as the game went to overtime.
Aubrey got the ball first in overtime and scored on a Huber 1-yard run. It was his third carry of the game with all of his carries coming in the overtime period.
Center answered with a 25-yard touchdown run on its first play to hold serve in the first overtime period.
The Roughriders’ quarterback ran in for a touchdown on the opening drive of the second overtime period, but they failed the 2-point conversion try with a fumble. Huber ran in for a 9-yard touchdown on the Chaps’ possession, leaving them needing just a successful 2-point try to win, but they were stuffed short.
Both failed on their 2-point tries in the third overtime, with every overtime period after the second consisting solely of alternating 2-point conversion attempts. Aubrey was on the ropes after missing its try at the start of the third period, but its defense held firm to give it another shot in the fourth.
Huber scored the game-winner after Center failed its try in the fourth overtime, bringing the adrenaline-filled contest to a close.
Heading into their third-round matchup with Pleasant Grove, the Chaps are focused on maintaining the identity that has fueled their success all year.
“Just play Aubrey football,” Bagley said. “Just keep going and play hard.”