Austin High closes season with a victory over Akins and says farewell to seniors
The crowd was cheering at house park as the Austin High Maroons took on the Akins Eagles in a bitter-sweet matchup. This would be the last time that the 2019 Austin Maroons took the field and for some the last game they will ever play as a Maroon. Austin’s seniors played like there was no tomorrow and gave the fans a thrilling game, more importantly capped off their Austin careers with a great win that came down to the final minutes with Austin winning it 41-31.
Senior night, the final game of the Austin High football season started with a small hiccup. Nick Anderson muffed the opening kickoff, luckily for them he recovered and returned the ball to the 11-yard line. Backed up in their own territory receiver Matt Ruiz on an end-around gained 23-yards getting them out of the danger zone. Following the run Austin had a 4th and 7, Austin quarterback Charles Wright got the defense to jump offsides, consequently, he threw up a fade to senior wide receiver Colby Kalbacher who mossed the defender for a 32-yard pickup. Austin finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run from senior running back Grayson Davis.
Austin's defense would stand strong as they forced Akins into a three and out. The Maroons forgot to bring the momentum back onto the field as they also punted the ball away. This gave Akins an opening to get right back in the game, and they snatched that opportunity. On a free play, junior quarterback Quincy Welch found receiver Jaishaun Upton on a 91-yard touchdown pass. Carrying the momentum forward Akins went for 2 and got it making the score 8-7 Akins.
After both teams failed to do anything with the ball Austin wound up with it again. Now with the ball, Austin was looking to put together a drive, and they did just that. Picking up five first downs the maroons soared downfield, running back Grayson Davis was already running before the first down chain had been set. Now in the red zone, captain quarterback Charles Wright found Matt Ruiz who dived over a defender reaching the ball out to get the touchdown from 13-yards out.
Austin came right back on defense with another big play. Defensive back Diego Rosales undercut a running back screen; Welch tried to throw the ball at the ground though Rosales still wanted the pick. Fully Extending and flying through midair Rosales was able to bring in the pass for an Austin interception. The very next play Charles Wright found Matt Ruiz on a vertical route for a 27-yard touchdown giving Austin a two-score lead and even more momentum.
Things only went better for Austin and only got worse for Akins. Akins had to punt once again, allowing Austin to tire out the Eagle defense by running 13 plays until capping the drive off with a 1-yard quarterback Charles Wright touchdown run.
Then ensued the best play of the game, maybe even of Austin’s season. Late in the second half, Akins had the ball down in Austin's territory, linebacker Everett Butler surged through the middle of the offensive line hitting Welch and jarring the ball free; Abrion Boudreaux recovered and returned the fumble 80+ yards for a defensive touchdown on the last play of the half.
This play sent shockwaves through the Austin sideline and fan section. It was the perfect play to end the half. Going into halftime Austin had everything going their way as not only were they up, but they had dominated the 2nd quarter of the game. The biggest thing for Austin to improve was the run game and the left side of protection. They definitely got the running game going as Grayson Davis concluded his amazing Maroon career with a 109 yard and 1 touchdown game. They also sured up the left side of the offensive line as Charles had much more time in the second half.
It was almost as if Austin's final game was a little too perfect as things started turning Akins way. It started as Akins drove downfield mounting together with a 14 play drive which was ended by a Quincy Welch 2-yard touchdown run. Akins came right back scoring again as Quincy Welch found Greg Borgeson for an 89-yard touchdown. Greg Borgenson was a common target as he would score on the next drive from yards 20-yards out.
During the second half Austin managed to make two field goals, giving them an 11 point lead but that was not a lot when you looked at how much Akins had scored. Speaking of Akins they drove downfield and found themselves in a 3rd & goal situation on Austins one-yard line. On 3rd down they tried to run it in but to no avail as the Austin High defense stood strong. Then it came to 4th down, probably the deciding play of the game.
Both teams stacked the line of scrimmage just trying to outmuscle the other. Quincy Welch took the snap and immediately dived forward hoping to cross the goal line. Austin's defense surged to the middle of the line all pushing and shoving hoping to deny a touchdown. It took the refs about 10 seconds to clear out the pile and at the end of it, one ref held his fist indicating a stop by the Maroons defense.
After Austin's incredible goal-line stand, they quickly picked up a first down and the game was over. Quarterback Chares Wright came out in victory formation and kneeled down for Austin's Highs 4th win and a great end of the season.
Austin’s seniors were incredibly emotional after the game ended in a bittersweet way. It was a great win to close out the season but for some this may be the last time they take the field. With heavy hearts the players and coaches congratulated each other and said their goodbyes.
Austin will take a hit with the leaving seniors as nine of the eleven offensive starters will graduate as well as three starting Linebackers. We are all excited to see what the next season for Austin High football will look like.
Article by River Tompkins, written for Texas Sports Monthly