24-point lead plus opportunity to advance disappear
COLLEGE STATION — Coach Jason Glenn huddled up his 11 defenders on the field where he had once played college ball, and put his arm around senior linebacker A.J. Roberts, in offering encouragement even as the final seconds ticked off of Klein Oak’s season.
“We have something to build upon — we’re going to be OK,” a resolute Glenn later said in the aftermath of Klein Oak blowing a big lead in the playoffs. “These kids played their butts off. We’re going to be fine.”
For one half against powerful Waco Midway at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, Klein Oak was more than fine — it was outstanding. Then the second half left Klein Oak with plenty to build upon in the offseason.
In a battle of Panthers on both sides, Midway prevailed 28-27 over Klein Oak in Class 6A Division I Region IIl action, wiping out a 24-0 halftime deficit. Glenn, a former NFL linebacker, is in his second year as Klein Oak’s head coach and he played for the Aggies from 1997-2000. Klein Oak, which finished third in the rugged District 15-6A, was on a roll when it counted most, with six consecutive victories entering Saturday — all the way until running in to the Midway juggernaut.
“They found some matchups and they took advantage of them,” Glenn said of Midway continuing to attack Klein Oak even down more than three touchdowns in the second half. “They’re a good team that has lost one game all year.
“We just have to go back to work for next year.”
Midway (11-1) now will face Allen, a 31-24 winner over The Woodlands earlier Saturday, in Waco’s McLane Stadium in the state quarterfinals.
Klein Oak dominated Midway almost from the start, as C.J. Watson caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Montrell Bolton with 5:26 left in the first quarter, and five minutes later Charles Garrett rushed in from a yard out to give Klein Oak a 14-0 lead before the first quarter was complete.
Klein Oak kept its foot on the gas in the second quarter, as Seth Morgan booted a 27-yard field goal and John Diggins gathered in a 43yard touchdown catch from Bolton against a backpedaling Midway defense.
But multiple miscues and a stalled Klein Oak offense led Midway to outscore Klein Oak 14-0 in the third quarter and 14-3 in the fourth quarter. Klein Oak’s Kendal Taylor led all rushers with 136 yards on 23 carries.
Klein Oak had reached the regional with a 66-59, double-overtime victory over Round Rock. Midway had reached Glenn’s old stomping grounds with a doubling up of Sachse (5628).
Glenn, 39, played for the Aggies when they won the program’s last conference title 20 years ago, a comeback victory over Kansas State in the Big 12 title game in 1998. This time, he was on the other end of a team erasing a double-digit deficit. Klein Oak loses about 40 seniors off of a roster of nearly 100.
“We want to win,” a disappointed but proud Glenn told his players gathered around him and on a knee on A&M’s field afterward. “But we want to win at the game of life more importantly.”
Klein Oak’s Tayton Coffelt, right, tries to haul in a reception in the end zone as Midway defensive back Lance Jones defends Saturday in College Station.