Entering the game as underdogs, The Temple Wildcats (11-3) accomplished what seemed to be an uphill task and upset previously unbeaten Manvel 24-23 early Sunday morning in AT&T Stadium.
In a game which was a pleasure for those of the defensive persuasion, the score read 3-0 in Temple’s favor at the end of the first quarter. It wasn’t until the second quarter when the offenses were finally able to break through as Manvel conducted a 12-play, 96 yard drive that ended in a Sam Smith touchdown to put the Mavericks ahead 7-3.
Temple counteracted with a swift touchdown of their own with 5:39 left in the first half after Reid Hesse connected with D’Yonte Heckstall. A safety before the half by Temple increased the margin in favor of Temple 11-7.
After trailing 18-10 in the third quarter, Manvel appeared to have grabbed the momentum back from the Wildcats when Jalen Preston returned a kick-off 99 yards for a touchdown that brought the Mavericks within a point at 18-17. Quarterback Kason Martin would find Keylon Stokes on a 72-yard strike on the final play of the third quarter that gave Manvel a 23-18 lead heading into the final quarter.
However, it was Temple who would get the last swing of momentum in their favor as Hesse connected to Heckstall once again as he jumped and reached over a defender guarding him in the end zone with 3:05 left in the game. That gave the Wildcats a 24-23 lead. As it turns out, that proved to be the winning touchdown. As Manvel tried to mount one more comeback, Temple would force a turnover on downs, sacking quarterback Kason Martin on fourth down to seal the victory.
Temple is set to play Richmond Foster in the 5A D1 State Semifinal.
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