By Senior Writer, Adam Ogburn / Twitter: @aogburn00
One of the messages while trying to play a football season in the middle of a pandemic has been adaptability. This was the case in District 9-6A, which was split into two zones. Rowlett was the number one seed out of Zone A and Wylie was the number four seed out of Zone B. The way the playoff spots were allotted, it meant that this showdown between Rowlett and Wylie was a winner-take-all matchup for a spot in the playoffs.
Wylie came out firing with several explosive plays in the first half. Pirate quarterback Marcus McElroy threw touchdown passes of 72 yards and 44 yards to Cameron Pruitt and Seth Kramer respectively, while Blake Fuller added a 29-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep. However, three rushing touchdowns by Rowlett, two from running back Dwonyae Newton and one from quarterback Tre Carr, coupled with two missed conversions by Wylie meant that Rowlett led 21-19 at the half.
After a Wylie field goal, Rowlett sophomore receiver Ernest Thomas answered with an explosive 65-yard punt return for a touchdown to give Rowlett a 27-22 lead heading into the fourth. The fateful moment came with just under nine minutes to go in the ball game. McElroy bided his time in the pocket before finding Pruitt downfield across the middle. Pruitt duped a tackler before racing away for a 64-yard catch-and-run score. Kramer came up with the two-point conversion and Wylie led 30-27.
The teams traded punts in the final eight minutes as Rowlett failed to sustain the drive it needed to save its playoff hopes. With this remarkable victory, Wylie secures a playoff berth despite only having one victory on the year, while Rowlett will miss out on the postseason despite only having one loss. It is a situation that would normally cause a lot of head-scratching, but it is simply another byproduct of this crazy year that is 2020.