Cardea Collier

Alvarado sophomore quarterback Cardea Collier scored two rushing touchdowns but the Indians committed seven turnovers in a 2OT loss to Lake Worth.

DENTON — In a game that was there for the taking, Alvarado couldn’t quit giving the ball away.

The Indians committed seven turnovers in a 23-20 double overtime loss to Lake Worth in a Class 4A Division I bi-district playoff game Friday at Apogee Stadium.

Alvarado Coach Casey Walraven said the Indians were fortunate to even be in the game at the end after committing seven turnovers.

“It was just one of those nights,” Walraven said. “You turn it over seven times, you’re lucky to even be in the game at the end because they should be so far ahead of you. Fortunately, our defense played well most of the game and kept us in the game. We moved the ball pretty well at times on offense. But if anything could’ve gone wrong, it went wrong. They had three turnovers so you give them four more possessions than you get, that’s hard to overcome. And we had a touchdown called back on a penalty.

“Some things just can’t be explained. We had more turnovers in one game than we almost had in the entire 10-game season. It’s one of those things you evaluate it and try to fix it going forward. You take all of that into consideration, in a playoff game, and it’s not in the cards for you. We’ve got to show up better. As tough as it was to lose, we’ll learn from it.”

In the end, seven turnovers was one or two too many — and the seventh was the most costly.

The Indians lost a fumble on their second overtime possession, which gave Lake Worth (9-2) a chance to win it. Alvarado’s defense held strong and forced the Bullfrogs to attempt a 39-yard field goal. Abraham Pulido’s kick bounced off the crossbar and barely cleared the uprights as Lake Worth advanced to the area playoffs while the Indians’ season ends at 5-6.

Following a scoreless first quarter, Donte Reese’s two-yard touchdown run gave the Bullfrogs a 7-0 lead with 8:10 left until halftime.

Alvarado answered on a 52-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Cardea Collier as the Indians knotted things up at 7-7. Less than 3 minutes later, Alvarado had its first lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Collier but the PAT was no good and the Indians took a 13-7 lead into halftime.

Lake Worth scored on a six-yard run by Reese, but the Indians blocked the go-ahead PAT to keep the game tied, 13-13, with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

Alvarado had a couple of chances to win it in the final few minutes of regulation.

The Indians took over at their own 22 with 1:43 remaining when Collier connected with sophomore Lance Sansom, who took it 50-plus yards inside the Bullfrogs’ 25-yard line. But Alvarado lost a fumble on the next play.

Alvarado’s defense forced a punt and the Indian offense was set up with excellent field position at the Bullfrogs’ 26-yard line with 36 seconds to play after a negative-6 yard punt by Lake Worth. But on a reception down to the 11-yard line, the Indians fumbled on what appeared to be a play where forward progress should’ve blown the play dead. However, the officials ruled fumble and a Bullfrogs recovery. Lake Worth took a knee to end regulation and send the game into overtime.

Walraven said he couldn’t put his finger on why the Indians struggled with ball security the way they did.

“You’ve got to look at different factors,” Walraven said. “As a coach, you replay the whole thing. It wasn’t raining so that’s not it. It was cold. We hadn’t played in a chilly game. We tried to keep the footballs warm on the sideline. I think you look at the stage and atmosphere, and maybe our eyes were a little too big. I think you look at how aggressive Lake Worth was and you’ve got to give credit to them for flying to the ball so well and had lots of people around the ball. I think it’s a learning moment for the kids that you can never let your guard down with ball security.”

In the first overtime period, Reese scored on a three-yard run and Pulido’s PAT was good for a 20-13 lead. The Indians matched that on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Collier to Kaden Ford and Dylan Cox’s PAT was good, which forced second overtime.

Alvarado lost four fumbles and threw three interceptions while Lake Worth turned it over only three times.

Collier completed 18-of-31 passes for 205 yards and three interceptions to go along with 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Sansom had eight receptions for 115 yards.

Reese led Lake Worth with 130 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.

Lake Worth will face Dallas Carter (9-2) in the Class 4A Division I area playoffs.

Despite the disappointing bi-district loss, Walraven said he’s proud of what they accomplished in his first season at the helm.

“I’m proud of what we did this season,” Walraven said. “I think nine out of 10 teams we played this year made the playoffs. I haven’t looked but I know there’s several of those teams in the second round. Our schedule was very difficult and I’m proud for them going out and competing every Friday. We faced the tough part of our schedule and had the resiliency to come out and beat the No. 2 team in the state on the road and then clinch a playoff berth for the first time in a couple years. 

“These kids never experienced that. They had to trust a new coaching staff and learn throughout the season. We didn’t do what we set out to do but we are still proud of the success we had and grateful to the seniors and this entire group.”

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