Klein Collins had a trip to the state championship game slip through its hands.
Leading DeSoto 28-14 at halftime of a Class 6A Division II state semifinal game at NRG Stadium, Klein Collins suffered five second-half turnovers, including two critical fumbles within a 23-second span in the fourth quarter, to go from a three-point lead to an 11-point deficit.
DeSoto’s 42-31 victory kept the Eagles unbeaten (15-0) and secured a berth in the 6A Division II state championship game against Cibolo Steele at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 17. Steele advanced with a 35-14 victory over Cinco Ranch.
“You can’t win a football game when you give it away like we did,” said Klein Collins head coach Drew Svoboda, who guided the Tigers to a 13-2 campaign. “They have a good football team and started building momentum when they got those turnovers. We just couldn’t stop the bleeding.
“We didn’t get much done in the second half,” Svoboda said. “That was pretty much the story of the game. They (DeSoto) forced the issue and we didn’t do enough to seal the deal. We felt pretty good at halftime but they’re good for a reason.”
Klein Collins scored 14 points in both the first and second quarters, including a six-yard TD reception by Jaylon Johnson from quarterback Brett Bridges with 49 seconds remaining in the second quarter that gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the contest (14 points).
However, Klein Collins could only muster three points in the final 24 minutes.
“We felt like we capitalized on their missteps in the first half and the roles flipped in the second half,” Svoboda said. “It was a tale of two halves and the turnovers were a tale of the tape.
“This is an unbelievable group of guys,” Svoboda said. “To win 13 football games and play 15 games in a season is a tribute to the senior class. The hardest thing right now is realizing some of these seniors will never play another game.”