KINGSVILLE (Javelinas Athletics) - Visiting Tarleton State scored the final 14 points of the game at Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday night in Lone Star Conference action to steal a 41-34 victory on the road.
The Texans (3-5, 3-2) used a number of big plays in the fourth quarter to pull off the comeback victory. After the Javelinas (4-4, 2-3) went ahead 34-27 on a Matt Stoll (College Station/A&M-Consolidated HS) 31-yard field midway through the quarter, the Texans tied the game two plays later on 49-yard pass from Nick Stephens to Jamal Mays. Then, the Hogs attempted a potential go-ahead field with 2:46 remaining, but a high snap forced a low kick that was blocked. Stephens connected with Roddy Green on a beautiful 33-yard pass inside the Javelina 10-yard line a few plays later and Clifton Vaughn capped it off with an 8-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds left. Logan Johnson sealed the victory with a sack on the final play of the game after the Javs drove to the TSU 27-yard line.
After another poor first quarter showing, the Javelinas started cooking in the second quarter on both offense and defense. Quarterback Daniel Ramirez (Sinton/Sinton HS) completed 14-of-15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the period as he guided the team to 24 points. Overall, the team gained 238 yards in the quarter as Jonathan Woodson (Missouri City/Marshall HS) caught four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another touchdown. Jake Willingham (Van Alstyne/Van Alstyne HS) added his first career touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Ramirez to get the scoring started with 10:42 left in the quarter.
On defense, the Javelinas limited Stephens to 24 yards on 1-of-9 passing after he torched the Hogs for a pair of touchdown passes on the first quarter. The first was a 6-yard strike to Clifton Vaughn with 10:17 left in the first quarter and the second went to Cordell Valentine on a 27-yard pass across the middle.
The Javelina special teams even got into the action in the first half. After tying the game at 14-14 with 5:46 left in the half, Mark Savere (San Antonio/Warren HS) forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by Cliff Baker (Houston/Wheatley HS) setting up a Stoll field goal.
The third quarter opened with the Javelinas picking up where they left off in the first half. They drove 72 yards on 11 plays covering 5:55. Ramirez completed all seven of his passes on the drive and would eventually complete 15 straight passes overall. The big play was a 38-yard strike to Christian Taylor (Houston/Westfield HS) that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Robert Armstrong (Cuero/Cuero HS) with 9:06 left in the third quarter.
The Texans came back with their own 11-play, 72-yard drive to cut it to a 31-24 game with 5:40 remaining. Stephens hit Rhodes on an 11-yard pass for the touchdown.
On the next two drives the Javelinas dodged a pair of bullets. First, Armstrong fumbled giving the ball back to the Texans at Javelina 34-yard line. The defense stood strong thanks to a sack by Ricky Marshall (Tyler/John Tyler HS) that forced a punt. On the next play, Ramirez tossed his second interception of the night. Once again, the defense forced a punt.
The Hoggies were unable to move the ball on the ensuing possession and were forced to punt from their own 10-yard line. This time the Texans took advantage of good field position to tack on three points on a Jose Serrano 22-yard field goal with 12:56 left in the fourth quarter to make it 31-27 Javelinas. This set up the final sequence of events.
The Texans were led by Stephens and Vaughn on offense. Stephens went 26-of-45 for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Vaughn rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries while catching five passes for 31 yards and another score. Rhodes finished the game with eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Green added five catches for 82 yards. Overall, the Texans had 25 first downs and held possession for 24:43.
The Texan defense recorded three sacks, forced a pair of fumbles and had two interceptions. Marquis Wadley led the team with 11 tackles while Dan Jackson had nine tackles and forced a fumble. Gaston Benson and Blair Johnson each had an interception.
The Javelinas outgained the Texans 468-428, but turned the ball over two more times than TSU. Ramirez went 30-of-41 for 339 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Woodson led the team with six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown plus 25 yards rushing and a score. He finished the game with 201 all-purpose yards as he added 83 on kick returns. Toney led the rushing attack with 68 yards on eight carries. Taylor finished the game with four catches for 70 yards while Armstrong added six catches for 23 yards. The team had 26 first downs and held the ball for 35:17.
The Hoggies defense had a pair of sacks in the game. Marcus Sanders (Houston/Westfield HS) led the team with nine tackles while Rockeem Collins (Gonzales/Gonzales HS) added eight stops. Darnell Hicks (Detroit, MI/Pershing HS) and Marshall picked up the two sacks for the team.
Ramirez became the first player in school history to pass for over 300 yards in three consecutive ball games. Stoll finished made his first two field goal attempts in the game giving him five in a row to start the season.
The Javelinas are back in action on Saturday at Angelo State at 6 p.m.