Sabine-Mount Vernon

Photo by Marvin Hillhouse

Sabine’s Kile Stripland (far left) looks for running room after getting an interception Saturday in Sulphur Springs against Mount Vernon. Sabine (10-1), which defeated Mount Vernon, 20-14, for the Cardinals’ first playoff win in its school’s football history, faces Pottsboro (11-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Paris.

History can’t be changed; that’s a proven fact.

But it can be added to. And Sabine High School football added a bright chapter to its football history on Saturday in Sulphur Springs. But the job’s not done.

Sabine took on Mount Vernon on Saturday afternoon in the University Interscholastic League’s Class 3A, Division I playoffs, the first (bi-district) round, and won, 20-14, the Cardinals’ first-ever playoff win in the history of a program that dates back to 1937.

Coach Rex Sharp and his Cardinals (10-1) advance to round two, the area round. Sabine will face Pottsboro (11-0), also the Cardinals, next Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Paris.

Mount Vernon (8-3), coached by former Baylor University and Stephenville High School coach Art Briles, scored first. Sabine missed a 39-yard field goal, and the Tigers put together a grinding 18-play drive that stalled at the 15, and even though Mount Vernon’s Adrian Diaz made the kick, a personal foul on Sabine gave Mount Vernon a first down.

Briles elected to take the points off the board, and it proved to be the right decision, as Gunner Fielden caught an 8-yard pass from Clifton Holloman for a touchdown. Diaz hit the extra point and gave the Tigers the 7-0 lead, late in the first quarter.

Sabine put together a long drive of its own . Starting from their own 20-yard-line, the Cardinals scored on the ninth play of the drive on a 9-yard run by quarterback Landon McKinney. Fernando Jaimes’ kick tied things at 7-all with just over 10 minutes left in the half.

The game went to halftime tied at seven, but there was some excitement. The Cardinals were in position to score, at the Tigers’ 16, but McKinney was sacked for a huge loss, like 30 yards, and a fumble. Mount Vernon had the ball, but Sabine’s Kile Stripland fixed that, making an interception of Holloman with nine seconds left, the final play of the first half.

Mount Vernon fumbled the ball away on its first drive of the third quarter, and Sabine’s Cayden Fortson fell on it. Sabine would get the go-ahead score on a 10-yard run by Brannigan Willige, and Jaimes’ point after gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead.

Jaimes increased Sabine’s lead with a long 42-yard field goal late in the third, and then another with 7 ½ minutes left that gave the Cardinals a 20-7 advantage.

Mount Vernon wouldn’t go away, though, although it was frustrated by a turnover on downs at Sabine’s 5-yard-line, which looked like the end of the contest. The Tigers got new life when Sabine turned the ball over on a fumble at its own three – and then Mount Vernon fumbled it right back, with Clayton Simmons falling on it for Sabine.

Mount Vernon’s last gasp was a 6-yard touchdown by Holloman with 27 seconds left, making it 20-14, but an onside kick attempt failed – Sabine’s Weston Pritchard got it, not a Mount Vernon player – and the Cardinals knelt, securing that elusive playoff victory.

Pottsboro beat Kemp, 63-0, and are up next for Sabine.

The Cardinals did set one other mark Saturday: they broke the record for wins in a single season. The previous record was nine, in both 1952 and 1953.


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