HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Round Rock rushes past Stony Point in overtime

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Confident in his offense to execute a game-winning read-option run, Jeff Cheatham rolled the dice. The Dragons head coach saw instant gratification in the result.

Round Rock outlasted Stony Point 34-31 in overtime to win a crucial District 13-6A matchup at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex on Friday. Quarterback Seth Ford faked a handoff to running back Israel Morgan inside the ten-yard line and found the corner of the endzone for the walk-off touchdown.

"They were really keying down on Israel. He was pounding the ball in all night so their defense squeezed, and (Ford) read it and pulled it," Cheatham said. "It was executed perfectly."

After forcing a field goal by Stony Point kicker Alan Rivera Salazar in the first end of the overtime session, Cheatham went straight to his powerful running game when the Dragons offense took to the turf.

"We had been shooting ourselves in the foot with some mistakes, and when we had that opportunity, we felt confident," Cheatham said.

Ford was 16-for-25 with 223 yards and a touchdown through the air, as well as the game-winning rushing score and 52 yards on the ground. Morgan rushed for a team-high 140 yards on 26 carries in the win.

Stony Point fought back from two touchdowns down in the fourth quarter to force overtime, with two scores in the final six minutes of regulation. Kendall Thomas led the way for the Tigers, rushing for 161 yards on 27 carries and passing for a score on a trick play in the fourth.

"It says a lot about our character as a team," Stony Point head coach Craig Chessher said. "It was a great football game and someone had to lose, and we did."

Round Rock improves to 6-1 with a 4-1 record in district play after the victory. Previously-unbeaten Stony Point drops to 6-1 with a matching 4-1 district mark.

Morgan opened the scoring when he pounded the ball in through the middle on a three-yard rush, two plays after a 34-yard reception.

Stony Point's star running back would answer just over a minute after. Thomas scored a seven-yard touchdown to level the scoring in the first quarter. In the second frame, the Furman commit tore through the left side of the Round Rock defense on a 56-yard touchdown that gave Stony Point the lead.

Just plays after dropping what would have been a 43-yard receiving touchdown, Round Rock senior wideout Collin Sullivan tied the game up when he hauled in a fade-route feed for an 11-yard catching score midway through the second quarter.

Just two minutes after, Morgan would cash in on a fourth-down turnover by the Stony Point offense with a three-yard push for his second touchdown of the night, giving Round Rock a 21-14 lead at the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, Morgan busted out for his longest run of the night, a 26-yard scamper through the middle that saw the junior score his third touchdown of the night. Stony Point would respond five minutes later when Thomas hit his stride on a three-yard rushing touchdown, his third of the evening.

Ford surrendered his second fumble of the night in the fourth quarter. On the very next play, Stony Point called a trick play pass from Thomas to wide receiver Caezar Williams for 54 yards and the game-tying touchdown.

Round Rock's plan for overtime was simple: pound the ball through. All five Dragons offensive plays in overtime were kept on the ground, culminating in Ford's seven-yard rushing touchdown to win the game.

"We have some things happen that we could have done better tonight, but the bottom line is that we got the win," Cheatham said. "We played well enough."

Round Rock hosts Cedar Ridge at Dragon Stadium next Friday, while Stony Point continues its district slate against McNeil at Kelly Reeves on Thursday.

"I'm really proud of our kids. They've got 3,700 students, we have 2,600," Chessher said. "We're gonna fight to the bitter end no matter what."

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