NAVASOTA — The sparks that would ignite an inferno never quite materialized for the Rogers Eagles in their effort to make a comeback against El Maton Tidehaven.
Instead, the Tigers turned back the Eagles’ opportunities when they needed to and came away with a 42-29 victory in a Class 3A Division II bi-district game Friday night to avenge last year’s loss to Rogers at the same Rattler Stadium.
“We’re disappointed, but it doesn’t change anything,” said Rogers coach Charlie Roten, whose team finished the year 7-4. “We still won seven games coming out of a tough district.”
Despite three turnovers that stymied their offense in first half, the Eagles found themselves back in it with two electrifying plays involving Christian Riley.
With Rogers down 17-0, quarterback Riley Dolgener found Riley behind the Tigers secondary on a post route for a 64-yard touchdown strike to close the gap to 10 points with 2:01 left in the first half.
Tidehaven appeared to be running out the clock in the waning seconds but netted 25 yards to get inside the Eagles 40. With 2 seconds left, Logan Crow heaved a pass downfield that Riley picked off and took back 80 yards for a touchdown with no time remaining, and the Eagles were back within three at 17-14.
“I got greedy on that one,” said Tidehaven coach David Lucio, whose team improved to 6-4 and will play Odem in the area round. “I saw us get a little bit of head hanging and I told them this doesn’t change anything. We took care of them 98 percent of the time. They still can’t run on us, and they can’t stop us.”
Rogers took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove inside the Tidehaven 15 with the help of a pair of Dolgener keepers for a combined 27 yards and a pass interference penalty. The drive bogged down, and the snap for a field goal got away from holder Dolgener, who tried to make a throw that fell incomplete.
“I would have liked to have had that one and we might have pulled it out,” Roten said.
The Tigers reversed the momentum with quarterback Crow keeping for a 67-yard touchdown scamper to put Tidehaven ahead 24-14 at the 5:51 mark of the third quarter.
Rogers came right back, and a shootout appeared to be brewing. Riley hit Jordan Werner on a 45-yard halfback pass to the Tidehaven 5. Two plays later, Dolgener went in from the 1 and it was a three-point game again, 24-21.
On the first play of the ensuing possession, Crow went 75 yards on a keeper before Zach Davis tackled him the 5. The Tigers had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Alex Cisneros for a 27-21 margin. Crow finished with 277 yards rushing.
“(Crow’s) a good player,” Roten said. “There were just some things we needed to do better.”
Tidehaven took control the rest of the way by adding two fourth-quarter touchdowns from Joseph Dodds and a 2-point conversion to build a 42-21 advantage.
Rogers tacked on another late score, with Dolgener going in from the 2 and running in a 2-point conversion.
For much of the first half, the Eagles were their own worst enemy with three turnovers.
“That’s uncharacteristic of us,” Roten said. “In 10 games, we had just five turnovers. It was just one of those things.”
Tidehaven took advantage with Dodds going in from the 7 for the first score at the 4:24 mark of the first quarter. Another turnover led to a 1-yard plunge by Crow for a 14-0 lead.
A 7-minute second-quarter drive led to a 36-yard Cisneros field goal for a 17-0 lead before the Eagles got back in it in the final 2 minutes of the half.
EL MATON TIDEHAVEN 42, ROGERS 29
Tidehaven 7 10 10 15 — 42
Rogers 0 14 7 8 — 29
Tid — Joseph Dodds 7 run (Alex Cisneros kick)
Tid — Logan Crow 1 run (Cisneros kick)
Tid — Cisneros 36 field goal
Rog — Christian Riley 64 pass from Riley Dolgener (Baldemar Arzola kick)
Rog — Riley 80 interception return (Arzola kick)
Tid — Crow 67 run (Cisneros kick)
Rog — Dolgener 1 run (Arzola kick)
Tid — Cisneros 30 FG
Tid — Dodds 54 run (Dodds run)
Tid — Dodds 1 run (Cisneros kick)
Rog — Dolgener 2 run (Dolgener run)
First downs 20 12
Rushes-yards 49-356 26-104
Passing yards 57 146
Comp.-Att.-Int. 6-9-1 7-18-1
Punts-average 0 2-30.5
Fumbles-lost 0-1 5-2
Penalties-yards 6-60 3-20
RUSHING — Tidehaven: Crow 28-277, Dodds 17-117, Jose Martinez 5-25, Kevin Rickaway 1-0; Rogers: Dolgener 9-68, Riley 6-29, Zach Davis 4-20, Ivan Lopez 2-14, Garrett Wolfe 3-0, Karsen Gomez 2-(-10).
PASSING — Tidehaven: Crow 6-9-1-57; Rogers: Dolgener 6-17-1-101, Riley 1-1-0-45.
RECEIVING — Tidehaven: Martinez 1-25, Jachen Duran 3-22, Jordan Duran 1-8, Rickaway 1-2; Rogers: Riley 1-64, Jordan Werner 1-45, Alex Vargas 1-6, Wolfe 1-8, Davis 1-(-1), Blayne Hoelscher 2-24.