WHITNEY — The Whitney Wildcats scored the final 19 points and erased a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit to stun No. 1 Grandview for a 26-21 win to knock off the defending state champions and claim the District 9-3A Division I crown.
Grandview's 19-game winning streak came to an end as the Zebras suffered their first loss since Sept. 28, 2018 to fall to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in district play. The Wildcats improved to 8-1 and 5-0 in league play to secure the No. 1 playoff seed.
It looked like business as usual for Grandview early on as the Zebra defense, led by defensive ends Dametrious Crownover and Travis Massey, dominated the first half, holding Whitney to 45 total yards.
After a 76-yard pass from Dane Jentsch to Cooper Deans set the Zebras up inside the Wildcat 10-yard line, Jentsch ran it in from one yard out to put the Zebras up 7-0 just four minutes into the contest.
The Zebras extended the lead in the second quarter when Jentsch hit Austin Boyd on a 14-yard slant to bump the lead to 14-0.
Grandview looked to be in total command but with 5:14 left in the half, the Wildcats' Devin Wilson fielded a Jentsch punt at his own 39 and raced 61 yards for the score to bring the halftime tally to 14-7.
Grandview took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 66 yards to extend the lead to 21-7. Jentsch went 4-for-4 for 52 yards through the air on the drive with 42 of the yards going to Boyd. The Zebra junior quarterback then punctuated the drive with a three-yard run, and it looked like the Zebras were again in control.
However, the Wildcats finally found some offensive success as Whitney answered with a 67-yard touchdown drive, its longest of the night. After moving the ball inside the Grandview five-yard line, the Zebra defense looked like they had Wilson trapped in the backfield for a loss, but the Wildcat signal caller scrambled out of the pocket and took it in to close the gap to 7 on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter.
After Grandview stalled on its next drive, the Wildcats inserted backup quarterback Dalton Peacock into the game. He drove the Wildcat offense to the Zebra 34, but took a massive hit from Crownover, and was forced to exit.
Wilson came back in to replace the injured Peacock and promptly hit Kolby Tanner on a 34-yard scoring strike, but the extra point sailed right, and Grandview held onto the lead by the slimmest of margins, 21-20, with 7:06 remaining.
The Zebras then fumbled for a second time and Wilson recovered on the Zebra 27.
A personal foul penalty moved the ball to the 12, but Peacock’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Luke Ferguson, giving the ball back to the Zebras and seemingly all but ending Whitney’s hopes for an upset.
However, as they had all night, the resilient Wildcats wouldn’t go away. The defense held once again, and a short punt gave the ball back to Whitney in Zebra territory.
Peacock appeared to be intercepted, but the play was nullified by a personal foul penalty on Grandview, and Whitney retained possession.
On third down from the Zebra 10-yard line, Peacock hit Tanner with 48 seconds left for the go-ahead score. The two-point conversion failed, but the Wildcats took their first lead of the game 26-21 with just 0:48 seconds remaining.
Needing a miracle, the Zebras moved the ball close to midfield, but Jentsch’s last-ditch pass fell short and the Wildcats captured the upset victory.
Whitney had just eight first downs on the night and only 24 rushing yards. Tanner had eight receptions for 114 yards and two scores to lead the Wildcats.
Jentsch completed 19-of-27 passes for 249 yards with 64 rushing yards on 11 attempts as he accounted for three total touchdowns with one interception. Deans had five receptions for 101 yards before leaving the game with an injury. Boyd had seven catches for 69 yards.
The Zebras host Maypearl in week 11 to close out the regular season while the Wildcats finish at Groesbeck.