HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Round Rock gives up late lead in loss to Hendrickson

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Round Rock built a three-possession lead in the first half and was well on its way to taking a huge step on towards the playoffs on Friday night until everything changed. 

Hendrickson overcame a 21-point deficit in the first half and scored what would wind up being the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute left in regulation to beat Round Rock 35-28 at the Pfield in the penultimate game of the regular season. 

"We've got to learn how to be a consistent football team," Round Rock head coach Jeff Cheatham said. "We're not a consistent football team, and this is not a good time to be inconsistent."

Round Rock had an interception called back after a pass interference penalty on the Hawks' game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. 

On the very next play, the Dragons appeared to force a fumble, but it was ruled an incomplete pass. 

"We weren't clicking on offense," Cheatham said. "They came out (in the second half) and ran the ball, and we weren't doing a really good job of stopping them. We came out a little flat in and could never get the momentum back."

The loss drops the Dragons to 4-3 in District 13-6A. Cedar Ridge and Westwood are both sitting at 3-3 in district play with games set for Friday night. The Raiders hold the tiebreaker advantage over Round Rock after a dramatic 58-47 win last week. 

Round Rock junior running back Israel Morgan rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns, while senior rusher Jordan Smart had 63 yards and a score and caught four passes for 63 yards.

Junior Seth Ford finished 16-of-26 passing for 201 yards and a pair of interceptions while senior receiver Collin Sullivan had seven receptions for 52 yards. 

Morgan scored his first touchdown with an eight-yard rush late in the first quarter. 

The Dragons scored on a pair of up-tempo drives in the second quarter. 

Morgan capped off a three-play, 71-yard drive when he broke a few tackles and scored from 35 yards out. The junior scored his third of the night with a 33-yard rush up the middle on the final play of a three-play, 63-yard drive on the Dragons' next possession. 

Despite forcing three first-half turnovers, Hendrickson couldn't produce any points off those turnovers, and scored late in the second quarter on a close plunge by defensive lineman Michael Ike. 

The Hawks marched down the field on their first drive of the second half and scored on a 25-yard pass from Isaiah Moore to James Hester, and Moore threw his second touchdown pass of the night to tie the game late in the third quarter. 

Round Rock went on a long, 16-play, 70-yard scoring drive to start the fourth quarter that was finished off with a two-yard plunge by Smart. 

But the Hawks responded when Ike scored his second short touchdown of the game with more than six minutes remaining, and Jasiya Demps scampered for a 21-yard touchdown on 3rd and 15 to give Hendrickson its only lead of the game with just over a minute left.  

The Dragons finish up the regular season next week at home against Vista Ridge, which was on a bye this week and locked up a playoff spot last Friday night. 

"Backs against the wall, you've better come out swinging with everything you've got," Cheatham said. "This is it."

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