Trojans defeat Panthers 22-21 in title game thriller, win 2A Division II state championship

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ARLINGTON (KFDX/KJTL) — The Windthorst Trojans are Texas high school football state champions for the third time in school history.

The Trojans defeated the favored Mart Panthers 22-21 at AT&T Stadium Wednesday night to earn the Class 2A Division II state title.

Both teams entered the game with 14 wins on the pandemic season, Mart undefeated and Windthorst with only a 14-0 loss to non-conference opponent Hamlin on their leger.

Although the Trojans entered Arlington as 14-point underdogs, they will return to Windthorst as champions despite not being predicted by any of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football staff to win.

Box Score

QtrTimeScoring PlayScore
1st01:55Cy Belcher 1 yard run (Harding kick)0-7
2nd08:12Roddrell Freeman 26 yard run (Chavez kick)7-7
2nd02:28Kyle Wolf 12 yard pass from Cy Belcher (Harding kick)7-14
2nd01:23Roddrell Freeman 65 yard run (Chavez kick)14-14
3rd05:13Roddrell Freeman 1 yard run (Chavez kick)21-14
4th00:26Cy Belcher 1 yard rush (Ethan Belcher rush)21-22

Recap

Windthorst scored first in the game after their special teams recovered a high snap off a Mart punt attempt with four minutes to go in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Trojan quarterback Cy Belcher punched it in from a yard out to take a 7-0 lead with 1:57 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers tied it up early in the second quarter on a 26-yard run by quarterback Roddrell Freeman.

Windthorst would respond with a beautiful 12-yard jump ball touchdown catch by receiver Kyle Wolf from Belcher, giving the Trojans a 14-7 lead near the end of the second quarter.

The Panthers would respond with another score before the half thanks to a 65-yard touchdown run by Freeman to tie the game at halftime.

On the first drive of the second half, the Panthers scored thanks to a third touchdown by Freeman on 4th down. giving the Panthers a 21-14 lead, their first of the game.

After a quick possession by the Trojans, the Panthers possessed the ball for a whopping 17 play, 11-minute drive, melting away time, wearing down the defense and marching down the field at AT&T stadium.

However, the Windthorst defense made the stops it needed to make with their backs against the wall, forcing the Panthers into a 4th-and-19 situation.

The defense held up, breaking up the potentially game-sealing touchdown and giving the Trojans the ball at the Windthorst 25 yard line with 4 minutes left, still trailing 21-14.

The Trojans drove down the field, with Belcher completing a 27-yard pass to Kyle Wolf to keep the drive alive on 4th-and-5 with 2:48 left in the game.

Later in the drive, on 4th and 12, Belcher found Wolf again for the 14-yard completion and the first down in the red zone with 1:12 remaining.

The running attack from the Belcher cousins gave the Trojans a first and goal from the one yard line with :32 remaining.

Belcher scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper, bringing the Trojans an extra point away from tying the game.

On the ensuing extra point attempt, Tryston Harding missed the kick, leaving the Trojans trailing 21-20.

However, the Panthers were flagged after two of their defensive lineman jumped offsides, negating the missed extra point and giving the Trojans another chance a yard closer to the goal line.

Instead of kicking the extra point, Windthorst tried for the 2-point conversion, and on a direct snap to Ethan Belcher, the Trojans took the 22-21 lead with :26 left.

That would prove to be the final points scored in the game, giving the Trojans the Class 2A Division II state championship.

The Trojans only possessed the ball for just over 7 minutes in the second half, but they made the last four count, driving 75 yards for the touchdown and game winning 2-point conversion.

Tryston Harding was named Defensive Most Valuable Player for his two fumble recoveries in the first half.

Kyle Wolf was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player, finishing the game with 80 yards and a touchdown on 5 catches, the final two of which came on 4th downs.

Ethan Belcher finished the game with 21 carries for 70 yards, the game winning 2-point conversion, and multiple tackles for loss on defense.

This was the sixth appearance for the Trojans in the state title game and their third win in school history, the first since 2003.

For the Panthers, it was their thirteenth appearance and their first loss in four years after winning the past three consecutive 2A Division II state titles.

Congratulations to the coaches, players, trainers and managers on an incredible season for the Windthorst Trojans.

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