WALL, TX — The Sterling City Eagles (6-4) battled the Miles Bulldogs (7-3) Thursday night, Nov. 10, at Clayton Weishun Field at Hawk Stadium in Wall at 7 p.m. A wild night with back-and-forth explosive plays led to an instant Texas high school playoff classic. However, the momentum changed in the 4th quarter as the Eagles finally pulled ahead and secured the victory, 43-42.
Miles received the kickoff and immediately went to work on offense. The Bulldogs went on a 5-play, 60-yard drive to score the first points of the contest. QB Hayven Book connected with WR Manuel Torres for 40 yards and a touchdown. A missed extra point kept the score at six, but the Bulldogs led early, 6-0.
Sterling City’s offense kept pace with Miles on their first drive. They took three minutes off the clock and drove the ball 68 yards for their first touchdown. QB Ty Turner threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to WR Jonathan Monreal. Following the extra point, the Eagles took the lead with 7:15 remaining in the 1st quarter, 7-6.
The Eagles forced Miles to punt on their second drive and took over at Sterling City’s 47-yard line. Turner did most of the work himself, carrying the ball down toward the goal line. He scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. The Eagles led 14-6.
Miles’ Devin Medina broke away from Sterling City’s defense to get the Bulldogs back into the game with 9:50 left in the 2nd quarter. The 24-yard touchdown run and subsequent 2-point conversion tied the game at 14-14.
However, Sterling City turned right around and scored again. FB Tristen Himes took a hand-off up the gut for 40 yards and an Eagles’ touchdown. Miles’ Hayven Book methodically drove the Bulldogs down the field following the touchdown. He connected with several receivers on his way to another touchdown. Devin Medina scored for the second time on the ground, and with 4:54 to go in the half, the Bulldogs took the lead 22-21.
The next explosive play came less than a minute before halftime. Miles ran a double reverse pass that caught Sterling City napping. Torres caught a pass for 50 yards down to the 1-yard line. WR Cooper Ellison forced his way into the end zone for the 1-yard touchdown run. Miles took the lead 29-21.
Controversy struck as the 1st half came to an end. Sterling City returned the kickoff into Miles’ territory. Turner chucked a deep pass to one of his receivers, who caught the ball, stumbled, and then when he hit the ground, the ball came out. The referees ruled it a catch on the field, but many on the Bulldogs' side disagreed. The catch put Sterling City in touchdown range, and they tied the game as the buzzer sounded, 29-29.
Sterling City’s approach to the second half changed the game. Their offense slowed down, took more time off the clock, and ground out long drives. The Eagles scored on their opening drive to extend their lead to 36-29. Both teams turned the ball over to each other, draining away much of the 3rd quarter, but Miles ended up matching the score at 36-36.
The Eagles took over seven minutes off the clock on a long touchdown drive to take the lead with 6:01 to go in the 4th quarter. Miles now faced the predicament of scoring too quickly and potentially losing the game. However, that solved itself. Book scored on 3rd and goal on a 10-yard touchdown run, but the Bulldogs missed the extra point. Sterling City clung to a 1-point lead, 43-42.
The Bulldogs failed to stop the Eagles on 4th and 1-yard to go at midfield, and Sterling City kneeled out the clock. Sterling City advances to the second round of the playoffs after defeating Miles 43-42.
The Sterling City Eagles (7-4) will face the Windthorst Trojans (7-4) in the second round of the playoffs next week. The date, time, and location are still to be determined.