High School

High school football: McCollum 27, Harlandale 20

“This victory means a lot because we started off as a young team, and we noticed that we kept beating ourselves all season,” Roque said. “So, we just kept improving and improving as the season went on, and in this game, I felt we played perfectly to pull out this victory.”

Roque enforced his will on the Indians’ defense the whole game, averaging about 5.22 yards per carry. He also came close to single-handedly outrushing Harlandale but fell 5 yards short.

Highlights: After several three-and-outs from both teams to start the game, Harlandale struck first when QB Jacob Saucedo juked a defender en route to a 1-yard touchdown.

The four-play, 51-yard drive began when Saucedo connected with senior receiver Pedro Valenzuela in double coverage for 46 yards. With the ball inside the 5-yard line, junior running back Zion Molina rumbled his way to the 1 — leading to Saucedos’ score.

The Indians missed the extra point but held the first lead of the Frontier Bowl 6-0.

McCollum finally got rolling on offense, as Roque highlighted a nine-play, 64-yard drive with a 24-yard run that put the Cowboys in the red zone.

He then scored on the ensuing play, breaking several tackles on his way to the end zone. McCollum shanked the extra point, keeping the score tied at 6 through the second quarter.

From there, both teams exchanged fumbles, and McCollum blocked a punt. Neither team could capitalize on either’s mistakes, though, and the game was shaping up to remain tied headed into halftime

But on Harlandale’s fourth possession near the end of the second quarter, Molina fumbled at the Cowboys 35-yard line.

McCollum linebacker Eyan Escobedo recovered, setting up the Cowboys’ six-play drive that ended with a 7-yard run from Rodriguez.

The Cowboys led 13-6 at half-time.

On its opening drive of the second half, Harlandale moved the ball more efficiently than in the first half, capping a six-play, 63-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run from Molina. But another missed PAT left them behind 13-12..

After a McCollum three-and-out, the Indians stayed hot offensively and found the end zone in two plays. Saucedo connected with senior receiver Saxon Langenberg for a 60-yard touchdown.

They would convert on a two-point conversion to push its new lead to 20-13.

As momentum swayed toward Harlandale, the Indians looked to be pulling away for their 11th straight victory over the Cowboys. But in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys came alive.

With scores from Roque on a 1-yard run and from receiver Steven Medina on a a 24-yard reception, the Cowboys rallied to take a 27-20 lead near the end of the game.

The Indians had a chance to respond driving to near midfield. But on fourth down, the Cowboys defense got a massive stop to end any hopes of a comeback.

Roque then finished what he started, ending the game with five carries for 41 yards on the final drive.

What it means: With the win, McCollum finished seventh District 14-5A Division II while Harlandale finished third.

Quotable: “In this district, everyone has been close, except for one team,” McCollum coach Carl Klann said. “I kept telling our kids that ‘you’re good as anyone else,’ so I think they believed they could compete tonight. We didn’t talk to them about the last win coming ten years ago – we just told them to go out and compete.”

Game balls: Medina led McCollum in receiving with four catches for 72 yards while adding the touchdown. Rodriguez completed 7 of 15 passes, ran for one touchdown and threw for one more.

Up next: Harlandale will face off against Veterans Memorial in the bi-district round of the playoffs at a time and place to be determined.

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