Winnsboro emerges victor in back-and-forth

Posted 10/26/22

Wherever the Big Book of Texas High School Football is kept, it has a new entry for a game which best describes the sport. Last Friday’s Mineola vs. Winnsboro game should be one of those records held for posterity.

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Winnsboro emerges victor in back-and-forth


Wherever the Big Book of Texas High School Football is kept, it has a new entry for a game which best describes the sport. Last Friday’s Mineola vs. Winnsboro game should be one of those records held for posterity. 

Winnsboro defeated Mineola 39-36 in a game which likely would have simply gone back and forth for as long as anyone wanted to keep playing. Unfortunately, the time clock continued to tick away, and a final result had to be rendered.   

No one outside of Mineola gave the Yellowjackets much of a chance this year against the Red Raiders. Winnsboro had defeated teams who had pretty soundly thrashed Mineola, and the Red Raiders were coming off their big win over Mt. Vernon. 

But, for those with an eye on history, the Winnsboro-Mineola football rivalry is a long-standing one, and one which often produces absolute gems. Such was Friday’s game. 

The Red Raiders came out executing smartly from the start. They drove 62 yards and scored on a nicely executed dual-post route from 23 yards.  

The Yellowjackets answered. They rolled 50 yards in eight plays with Dawson Pendergrass carrying four times on the drive. His 14-yard scoring run included a twist, a spin, and pure power.  

An errant snap on the extra point was fielded by placekicker Noah Turner who calmly lofted a beautiful pass to Braydon Alley in the end zone for a 2-point conversion. Mineola led 8-6.

Excellent effort by Keke Martin and Chris Rossie on separate plays in the next Winnsboro series forced a punt. Mineola took advantage of a shanked punt to take over at the Winnsboro 43-yard line. 

Throughout the night, Dawson Pendergrass ran like a man possessed. On this drive, he provided his strongest run of the game, carrying for 11 yards over the left side. He broke through defenders at the line and bulldozed Red Raiders until sheer numbers slowed him down. It was an amazing display of strength. 

Pendergrass ran for 346 yards on 34 carries. He scored four touchdowns and threw for a fifth. Mineola fans have seen Pendergrass run before, but he had perhaps his best performance in his career. 

Two plays after crashing through the Red Raiders, Pendergrass faked toward the line, then stepped back and hit Alley for a 26-yard scoring strike. Mineola went up 15-6.  

Mineola had figuratively punched Winnsboro in the mouth in that first quarter. Winnsboro woke up.

In the second quarter the Red Raiders exercised their multi-faceted offense to score on three consecutive possessions. They led 25-15 with just over 2:00 left to play in the half. 

The Jackets needed to carry some momentum into the break. The offensive unit gave it to them. The Mineola offensive line undoubtably had its best game of the year.  

On one carry over the left side on this drive near the end of the half, Bryson Myers and Isaiah Gardner each had textbook blocks. The 21-yard carry by Pendergrass also resulted from downfield blocks by Brady Shrum and Alley. Pendergrass carried over the goal line from 17 yards out, closing the score to 25-22.

A last-ditch effort to score in the closing seconds was frustrated went Pendergrass intercepted a long Winnsboro pass attempt.  

The two teams traded long touchdown drives in the second half. Mineola took the lead twice, only to have Winnsboro retake it on the next drive.

The first of Mineola’s scoring drive was a 13-play, 66-yard beauty, all on the ground. Pendergrass scored by cutting back through the line at a sharp angle to reach the goal line. The second drive featured Pendergrass’ 77-yard highlight reel run. He slipped three tacklers and accelerated away from the Winnsboro defense.  

With time ticking away, Mineola was down 39-36. From their own 25-yard line, the Yellowjackets reached the Winnsboro 37-yard line. There, the Jackets ran out of downs and had to turn the ball over to the Red Raiders.

To their credit, Winnsboro ate up the remaining time by driving the ball 51-yards and securing the win.   

Mineola hosts Rains Friday. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.