FRISCO — With six minutes left in Friday’s Class 4A Division II state quarterfinal football game with Iowa Park at the Ford Center, the Glen Rose Tigers held an 11-point lead and looked poised to advance to their first semifinal in school history.
“You’re thinking things are looking good, and the only way for them (Iowa Park) to win is they have to have every break from then on out, and it happened,” Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins said.
The Hawks rallied and scored a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner with eight seconds left, in posting the 31-28 come-from-behind victory to advance to their first semifinal since 1970.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Iowa Park. They came out and played a really good game,” Watkins said. “Our kids fought and competed for 48 minutes like they have, and things didn’t go our way in the end. We didn’t finish the way we needed to.”
The Hawks, with the help of a costly unsportsmanlike penalty for a late hit out of bounds, scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 4:01 left to cut the lead to three points at 28-25.
Iowa Park perfectly executed an onside kick and got the ball on the Glen Rose 49 with four minutes remaining. The Hawks eventually scored with eight seconds left to take the lead for good. The Tigers were flagged with a pass interference penalty that extended the Iowa Park drive.
“They had to have every break go their way and they did,” Watkins said. “The plays that we have made throughout the year were the plays they made. It kind of turned the tide, and we never really took the momentum back.”
Glen Rose took an early 7–0 lead when quarterback Cameron Griffin connected with Austin Worthen with a 46-yard touchdown pass on the Tigers’ first possession of the game. Iowa Park answered with a 52-yard pass with 39 seconds left in the quarter to tie the score at 7.
After Westen Halcom scored on a 21-yard run, the Hawks tied it at 14 just before the half with a 42-yard pass play.
Midway through the third quarter, Iowa Park drilled a 40-yard field goal take its first lead of the game. Halcom scored on a 3-yard run late in the third after defensive lineman River Costello got a sack-fumble and Cory Aper recovered it and returned it inside the Iowa Park 5 to set up Halcom’s score.
Griffin’s score in the fourth pushed the Tiger lead to 11, and then Iowa Park answered with 14 fourth-quarter points to win the game.
The Tigers (11-2) had only nine possessions in the contest. They punted twice and lost the ball on downs three times, including one time on the Iowa Park 1 in the first quarter and a second time at the Iowa Park 18 just before the half.
“Those are three series that pop up to the top of my head,” Watkins said. “Things we are used to finishing and continuing drives just didn’t happen.”
For the game, the Tigers recorded just 355 yards total offense, some 210 yards below their season average, and they were held to 23 points below their season average.
Griffin completed 10 of 18 passes for a season-low 166 yards and one touchdown, while running back Westen Halcom went over 2,000 yards on the season with 125 yards on 25 carries. Griffin also had 56 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Worthen led the Tigers in receptions with four for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Costello led the Tigers with 12 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, while Ricky Douglas and Worthen had 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
“Iowa Park is a really good running football team and they did limit the number of possessions we had, but we had some missed opportunities offensively,” Watkins said.