Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com
Steele coach Mike Jinks consoles his players Saturday night after the Knights' 34-14 loss to Spring Dekaney in the Class 5A Division II state final at Cowboys Stadium.
Sunday, Dec 18 at 4:12 PM
ARLINGTON – That noise coming from Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night was the screeching sound of Steele's 28-game winning streak coming to an end with a 34-14 loss to Spring Dekaney in the Class 5A Division II football state final.
A crowd of 15,092 watched Dekaney (14-2) outplay the Knights (15-1) on both sides of the line of scrimmage to win the state title in only its fourth varsity season.
Steele took the 5A Division II crown last year in its fifth varsity season, finishing 14-2 after stumbling to a 1-2 start. The Knights' quest for back-to-back state championships withered under the onslaught of elusive running back Trey Williams and a relentless Wildcats defense.
"They played fast," Steele coach Mike Jinks said. "We couldn't establish a running game. They did a lot of the same things that we do. We're really similar and they out-Steeled us tonight. They really did.
"My hat's off to them and their coaching staff. They were prepared and we got beat by a better ballclub."
The loss ruined the Knights' bid to become only the second team in San Antonio area history to win consecutive state titles. Judson took 5A Division I crowns in 1992-93.
Steele also fell one victory short of becoming the second 5A area team to go 16-0, a feat Roosevelt pulled when it won the 5A Division II state crown in 1995.
Williams, who has committed to Texas A&M, was voted the game's offensive MVP after rushing for 197 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
"He's an outstanding back," Steele senior linebacker Devere Carrington saidl. "I kind of underestimated him. They did their thing and we did our thing, and the best team came out on top."
Wildcats free safety Jerrett Irving, who intercepted two passes, was named defensive MVP. Irving has committed to Houston.
Armstrong was intercepted twice
Dekaney outgained Steele 326-164 in total offensive yardage, finishing with 284 yards rushing and 42 passing. Steele managed only 63 yards rushing on 25 carries, a 2.5 average, and finished with 101 yards passing.
Armstrong completed 8 of 18 attempts and finished with two TD passes, but was intercepted twice.
"We just made too many mistakes," said Armstrong, who has committed to Nebraska. ""You can't win a state championship when you make too many mistakes. They capitalized on them and outplayed us. They came up big time against us.
"This is probably the best, disciplined team we've ever played. They filled the hopes they were supposed to and dropped back and covered whoever they needed to. We had a heck of a season. We just came up a little short."
Sophomore Justin Stockton, Steele's leading rusher, was held to 25 yards on 12 carries.
"They came out here with a great game plan," Stockton said. "They have a great offense and defense. Their linebackers made plays."
The Knights hadn’t tasted defeat since falling to Kerrville Tivy in a 54-45 shootout on Sept. 10, 2010. Steele stumbled to a 1-2 start last season before reeling off a 13-game winning streak that included a 24-21 victory against Denton Guyer in the 5A Division II title game.
Wildcats came roaring back after trailing early
Things looked promising for the Knights early Saturday night before Dekaney took the upper hand.,
Steele took a 7-0 lead on a 19-yard pass from Armstrong to wide receiver Matthew Mayle with 9:14 left in the first quarter. C.J. Lynch set up the score when he recovered a fumble at the Dekaney 17 on the Knights’ first punt.
But the Wildcats scored on their next three possessions to take control of the game. Dekaney tied the game on a 40-yard pass from D’Juan Hines to Austin Garrett with 8:55 left in the half, and took the lead for good on Williams’ 1-yard run with 2:36 remaining.
Steele’s funk continued on its next series when Willard intercepted an Armstrong pass at the Wildcats’ 27 and returned it to the Steele 21. A personal-foul penalty on the play gave Dekaney a first down at the 6. The interception was the first of the season for Armstrong
Williams scored on a 6-yard run around left end on the next play, putting the Wildcats up 20-7. The extra-point kick failed.
After a scoreless third quarter, Dekaney extended its lead to 27-7 on a 5-yard pass from Hines to Sean Horn with 4:16 remaining.
Steele cut the deficit to 27-14 on Armstrong’s 22-yard pass to Matthew Mayle with 2:54 left, but Williams broke loose for his 24-yard TD to make it 34-14 on the Wildcats’ next possession,
Irving intercepted Armstrong a second time with 1:10 left.
"We'll be back," Stockton said.