The atmosphere was crazy even by Texas standards with fans lining up for a 4 p.m. CT kickoff at 6:30 a.m., lines going around the stadium, standing room only going three and four rows deep and, according to reports, the fire marshall eventually having to stop fans from coming in.
The attendance was listed as an overflow crowd of 19,000, according to reports.
In the end, Allen downed host San Angelo Central 34-21 in what was being billed as West Texas vs. the Metroplex. Some said the matchup was the biggest football game ever to be played in San Angelo. The loss snapped San Angelo’s 22-game home winning streak.
A back-and-forth high-octane offense first half turned into a defensive battle in the second, in part because of heavy rain. Of the 55 points scored in the game, 52 came before halftime and just three after. Nonetheless, San Angelo’s 21 points were its fewest in a game this season.
In all, Central outgained Allen 385 to 324 but as hurt by turnovers.
Allen (13-0) awaits either Duncanville or Arlington Bowie in the 6A Division I regional final Saturday at AT&T Stadium. That will be a much shorter ride after the six hours needed to get to San Angelo on Friday morning.
Despite rain, Allen ran for 324 yards, led by 152 and a touchdown from Brock Sturges.
“I enjoyed the bus ride down here and spending time with my teammates,” Sturges told Gannett partner The Standard Times after the game. “Now we’re going to stop at Whataburger and head home.”
Trailing 14-7 late in the first quarter, Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke went to work as the Eagles scored 21 unanswered points.
Jonke ran for a 46-yard TD with 3:57 left in the opening quarter to tie the game at 14-14. His 10-yard TD pass to Josh Cornell with 11:46 left in the first half gave Allen a lead it would not relinquish.
Jonke hit Carson Schleker for a 43-yard score with 8:15 remaining in the half and a 28-14 lead.
Central answered as Cal Vincent connected with Henry Teeter on a 48-yard TD pass less than two minutes later to cut the margin to 28-21. Vincent left the game late in the second quarter with a shoulder injury after he got caught between two Allen players. Vincent was 15 for 20 for 154 yards and the two TDs before having to watch the rest of the game in street clothes.
Michael Ewton nailed a 48-yarder with 2 seconds left in the half and Allen took a 31-21 edge into the locker room. Ewton’s 46-yarder midway through the third quarter capped the scoring.
“We hadn’t been having turnovers all year, but in this kind of (wet conditions) it just makes it tougher, but we’re not making excuses,” Central coach Brent Davis said. “Allen came to town and they played extremely well. That’s a great football team. You can see why they’re No. 1 in the state, but I thought we went toe-to-toe with them. One of these days we’re going to get one of those guys in this third round.”