It was Black Friday but nobody was shopping. The big deal of the night was a 6A state semifinal between the Houston Mustangs and the Brentwood Bruins with a trip to the state championship on the line. It was a cold night with a brisk wind but the home stands were warm with excitement as Brentwood fans sang “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and greeted each other as kickoff approached. The away stands had a very respectable showing of Mustang faithful that made the three hour plus drive to cheer on Houston.
Houston faced a fourth and three on their first drive. In the state semifinals, you can’t leave anything out on the field and Houston sent the offense back out on the field. The Bruins defense stood tall and we had an impact play early. While the Brentwood offense stalled near midfield it was clear that both of these defenses were going to be needed in the long term and this game wouldn’t stay scoreless for long as both teams had long touchdowns taken away by shoestring tackles. Houston’s next drive covered nearly 95 yards and was capped off by a great throw from Chandler Day to Andre Allen who broke a tackle and dashed into the end zone. That 25-yard strike made it 6-0 Houston with 5:43 remaining in the first after a missed PAT. Brentwood’s defense gave the offense a second chance after a three and out by recovering a fumble in Houston territory, but the Bruin’s O-Line was having all kinds of trouble with the Mustang D-Line. The running backs couldn’t seem to find lanes while quarterback Baylor Hayes, couldn’t step up into a clean pocket. This was stifling a normally explosive offense. We went into the second quarter with Houston leading 6-0 and driving to try to extend that scoreboard advantage.
As we started the second quarter, Houston faced a third and four that was swallowed up by the Bruin defense that was holding their own against a massive Mustangs O-Line. On Houston’s next drive the Brentwood defense forced a three and out and after a punt that left much to be desired, the Bruins defense had earned their offense a drive starting at the Houston 33-yard line with a chance to lead. The Houston defense continued to plague the Brentwood offensive line and forced a field goal attempt that was never attempted due to what looked like a hard count on special teams that resulted in a Mustang jumping and giving Brentwood a free first down. However, it ended up even better for Houston as Brentwood sent the offense out on fourth and goal-to-go from the five (much to the confusion of the Bruins fans) and was completely shut down, preserving Houston’s 6-0 lead.
As the PA announcer read out the stats during the half it became apparent that this game really was as close as the score indicated with Houston’s defense making the difference. As the second half began, one of the two teams was going to have to find a way to separate themselves to make it to Chattanooga. Penalties had been a problem for Houston in the first half but their defensive line had been dominant. The first drive of the half was a great representation of this as multiple pass interference penalties allowed the Bruins to drive deep into Mustang territory before the defense pressured Hayes out of bounds back on the other side of the 50-yard line. The Bruins ended up punting the ball away and Punter, Luke Amristead, who was having a great game pinned the Mustangs at the one-foot line. After the Bruins defense forced another there and out, the offense started their second drive from inside the 30-yard line. Once again the Mustangs’ defense stood strong and the field goal unit was sent out. Disaster struck for the Bruins and the field goal was blocked. For the second time of the game the Bruins left the red zone with zero points. Houston spent the remainder of the third quarter driving the ball down to the Brentwood goal line with ease before punching it in with a Damon Sisa run. That touchdown along with the made PAT gave them a 13-0 lead. Things got worse in a hurry as Hayes was intercepted by Andre Allen on the Bruins’ next play, and before the quarter came to an end the Mustangs scored again and tacked on a two-point conversion. As we went to the fourth quarter, Houston led 21-0. The Mustangs had clearly separated themselves.
Brentwood was unable to respond to start the fourth and Houston began to chew clock; all the way down to 5:40 to be exact before Damon Sisa scored his third touchdown of the night. That made it 28-0 Houston and the Mustangs had all but driven to Chattanooga. After getting another stop, all the Mustangs had to do was kneel the ball. The away stands celebrated as their team was headed to the state championships while the emotions ran heavy for the Brentwood players and even coaches as their bid for a perfect season came to a close. Houston imposed their will physically and made fewer mistakes on the way to a 28-0 victory.
Our MVP for the game is Andre Allen. Allen had the first touchdown of the night for Houston as well as the huge interception in the second half. You can hear what he had to say post-game, below.