BY TERRY CARTER
The Paetow Panthers matched strengths to edge College Station in a battle of 5A titans for the UIL 5A-DI football state championship on Friday. Paetow won 27-24 in overtime.
It was a rare battle at ATT Stadium in front of 12,112 fans. Neither powerhouse team found momentum, nor a weakness to exploit. It was a war of endurance, and the Panther’s hunger for their first state championship eventually decided this epic by inches.
After tying 21-21 in regulation, the Panthers (15-1) held College Station’s fiery offense to a field goal in overtime. Then the Paetow offense battled for two first downs before senior running back Jacob Brown scored the game-winning touchdown from two yards out.
Both teams entered the game with explosive offenses and defenses that could dominate all night. But previously unbeaten College Station (15-1) scored on the first play from scrimmage when Traylen Suel hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Huff.
Paetow coach B.J. Gotte knew the scoring could happen fast, but he had prepared a response: Now let’s go score. The hard-hitting game resulted in Brown as the game’s MVP, and his 57 rushing yards were all hard earned against a solid College Station team. Both squads played brilliant defense to limit the momentum of the opposing team.
“It’s fantastic! It’s what we worked for all year. I’m so glad to see these guys get that kind of win,” Gotte said immediately after the win.