It was supposed to be Taven Harris' night, a night for the Burlington High School football team to celebrate Harris breaking 'Touchdown' Tony Baker's 56-year-old school single-season rushing record.
Apparently someone forgot to give Davenport West a copy of the script.
Harris shattered Baker's record with a 16-yard run with 1 minute, 53 seconds left in the first half.
But the Falcons took the joy out of Burlington, rallying from a 14-point deficit to hand the Grayhounds a stinging 28-27 defeat in a Class 4A District 5 game Friday night at Bracewell Stadium.
It was supposed to be a night for the Grayhounds to celebrate Harris' record-setting night. Instead, it was Davenport West which was celebrating at the end.
"That was a tough one. We were in position, up 14 points in the third quarter," BHS coach Zach Shay said. "We weren't able to run the ball like we were in the first half. They kept us off-balance defensively. I wanted to get that win for our guys to feel good about themselves and then with what Taven just accomplished tonight. At the end of the day it was a tough loss."
"Every game I approach it wanting to win first. Third on my mind is personal glory," said Harris, who now has 1,492 rushing yards on 208 carries and has scored 10 touchdowns. "I did break the record and I'm happy about it. I really wish we could have won, though."
BHS seemed to be in control after taking the second-half kickoff and marching 65 yards in 14 plays with Harris lugging the pigskin 11 times for 57 of those yards, including the last five for a touchdown which gave BHS a 27-13 lead with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
The rest of the night belonged to the Falcons, specifically quarterback Zachary Trevino and wide receiver Payton Heath. Trevino kept the Grayhounds off-balance all night, completing 18-of-31 passes for 193 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those scoring tosses went to Heath, who hauled in seven passes for 112 yards.
It was a 26-yard pass from Trevino to Heath late in the third quarter, followed by a Trevino two-point conversion run, which sliced the BHS lead to 27-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
"They had a good scheme," Shay said. "They would come out one play in empty and the next play in that double wing. They really made you adjust your defense."
BHS, which was moving the ball almost a will on the ground behind Harris, who carried 31 times for 216 yards, suddenly got stuck in neutral. A three-and-out midway the fourth quarter which proved to the Grayhounds' demise. Punter Carlton Martinez-Hale bobbled the snap, allowing three Falcons to converge on him. Martinez-Hale got the kick away, but it went straight up and carried just nine yards, giving West a first down at the BHS 28-yard line with 5:03 remaining.
"I watched Carlton. He kind of had to double-catch it and that threw his whole rhythm off," Shay said. "They got the ball on the short field and scored in three plays."
The Falcons needed just three plays to find the end zone. This time, Trevino and Heath hooked up for a 12-yard scoring pass. Adam Gibson's extra-point kick gave the Falcons a one-point lead.
BHS drove to the West 47 with 1:42, but D.J. Pugh's fourth-down pass, intended for P.J. Jones, was intercepted by Malik Westerfield at the 15, sealing the Falcons' victory and spoiling Harris' record-setting performance.
BHS was whistled for 14 penalties for 129 yards, many of which put them in long-yardage situations.
"We talked about that before the game. You can't beat yourself. You can't have the personal fouls. Holding is a huge penalty, 10 yards from the spot of the foul," Shay said. "We did not execute very well. That's not where we want to be. Obviously we want to run the ball — three, four, five yards and a cloud of dust. You get us in second and long and third and long and we're going to struggle."
Harris broke the record late in the first half on a night when the Class of 1963, Tony Baker's class, was in attendance for a class reunion. The game was stopped momentarily as public address announcer Bob Enberg made the announcement to the crowd and Harris was mobbed by his teammates.
"Coming into BHS , the first things I did was look at the football records and I'm looking at his name. Freshman year I was joking around with my friends saying I was going to break it," Harris said. "Now here I am. I just think that it's hard work paying off, really. I spent the last three years trying to take my game to the next level. I think I've done a decent job doing that.
"The first thing I did was look at my parents. I was overcome with joy, but knowing we still had another half of football left, I was trying to stay focused."
"It really is an exceptional feat. It's a record that was 56 years old. It was set by an outstanding player, an NFL player," Shay said. "He's not only one of the best backs in the state, but he's almost a 4.0 student. He's an outstanding person, more importantly. It couldn't happen to a better guy. I'm proud to say I was able to coach him."
Perhaps Harris' most impressive run of the night came in the third quarter on a toss left. Harris cut back, lost his balance, kept himself upright, broke two tackles and lunged forward for 15 yards. That, in a nutshell, is Harris.
"I'm not a heavy guy, but I kind of use the momentum I have from the speed I build up to keep moving forward," Harris said. "It all goes back to fundamental. In practice we have individual time and we do drills where we have our hands on the ground. I got tackled, put my hand on the ground and stayed up, got tackled again and put my hand on the ground and stayed up again. It was kind of a cool run."
"His ability to keep his balance after getting hit — it's hard to get a big hit on him because he's so shifty," Shay said. "He does a great job of eluding tacklers."
BHS sophomore Mark Smith returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Grayhounds a 7-6 lead.
3rd Down Efficiency;5-14;4-12
4th Down Efficiency;4-4;1-2
Time of possession;25:03;22:57
Scoring by quarters
DW—Payton Heath 11 pass from Zachary Trevino (kick failed)
B—Mark Smith 94 kickoff return (Brock Dengler kick)
DW—Malik Westerfield 22 pass from Trevino (Adam Gibson kick)
B—Taven Harris 3 run (kick failed)
B—D.J. Pugh 1 run (Dengler kick)
B—Harris 5 run (Dengler kick)
DW—Heath 26 pass from Trevino (Trevino run)
DW—Heath 12 pass from Trevino (Gibson kick)
RUSHING: Davenport West — Trevino 23-99, Jacob Milem 6-27, James Allee 3-12, Heath 3-6, Team 1-(-7). Burlington — Harris 31-216, Pugh 6-35, K.T. Thompson 4-21, Smith 1-(-3).
PASSING: Davenport West — Trevino 18-31-0-193. Burlington — Pugh 2-4-1-77.
RECEIVING: Davenport West — Heath 7-112, Westerfield 4-47, Allee 4-14, Milem 1-9. Burlington — Carlton Martinez-Hale 2-77.