With the score tied late, the matchup of Pearland, Texas, football rivals came down to one final kick.
Who else but the homecoming queen to make the game-winning field goal?
A week after being crowned, senior kicker Claire Jeffress stepped up when her Glenda Dawson team needed her most. With 1:08 to play, Jeffress drilled a 30-yard field to give Douglas a 38-35 win over Pearland.
Jeffress had hit all five of her PAT kicks on the night. Her 30-yard field goal that just cleared the crossbar lifted Dawson (5-1) to its third District 23-6A victory without a loss, dropping Pearland to 4-2.
“I just wanted to do what I’ve always done and not think of it as any big deal,” Jeffress told the Pearland Journal’s Ted Dunnam. “My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job.”
Jeffress said previous experience in pressure situations helped her maintain composure. Two weeks ago, Jeffress’ 25-yard PAT was the difference in a 14-13 win over George Ranch (Richmond, Texas).
“That helped, and having played in the Pearland game last year helped, too,” she said. “I’ve kind of learned how to block everything out and just focus on what I do. If it’s 32 or 33 yards or less, I feel confident.”
With Dawson facing fourth-and-three at the Pearland 13, Dawson coach Eric Wells had no hesitation going to Jeffress.
“Claire is something – she just doesn’t get rattled,” Wells told the Journal. “There wasn’t even a question that she was going to kick it.
“Homecoming queen knocks it through, Dawson wins. You have to love that.”
As for Jeffress, she was happy to leave a lasting mark on the game and her team’s success.
“It means everything that I was able to support my team the way they have supported me,” she told the Journal. “From the players to the coaches to the school, everybody has completely supported me through my entire journey to my senior year.
“I’m so glad I could experience this one tonight.”
A week before, Jeffress was named the school’s homecoming queen. Friday night, she was the hero of the night. How cool is that?