'WE'RE GAMERS!' FBCA wins 1st district title, snaps Second Baptist's streak of eight straight
SUGAR LAND—Before Friday night, through the previous two seasons and nine games into this one, Fort Bend Christian Academy head football coach Jordan Black saw a team that was scratching and clawing.
At what? For what? He wasn't sure his players quite knew.
But in three incredulous hours on a snippy, still evening, with a TAPPS Division II District 4 title on the line against a Second Baptist School program that had won eight in a row and was riding a 31-game district win streak, Black's Eagles finally found out what they'd been working so hard for.
They finally understood.
The moment Second Baptist sophomore quarterback Turner Murdock's wayward pass landed in the hands of FBCA junior safety James Donovan with 41 seconds left, demons were exorcised, history was made, and tears were shed. FBCA's Eagles took down the irrepressible Eagles of Second Baptist, 27-24, on their home field to win their first district championship and beat Second Baptist School for the first time since 2006.
FBCA went undefeated in district plat at 5-0 and enters the postseason 7-3 overall. Second Baptist (8-2, 4-1) had its eight-game winning streak come to a halt.
.@FBCAathletics does it!! 27-24. Snaps @SBS_Athletics\u2019s district title streak at 8. #txhsfb @TAPPSbizpic.twitter.com/vQNXjY0Lf7— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1636166940
"Gentlemen!" Black implored to his players afterward, "you know what kind of football team you are. We are a district champion!"
Yells of joy engulfed the brisk air of a stony (Jordan) Black night.
"What does that mean?" Black asked, rhetorically. "It means every time we take the field, we don't have to doubt anymore. We know what we are. We can take the field, start fast, finish fast and beat anybody we play."
"We're gamers!" Donovan shouted from the back of the kneeling group of players. "We're gamers!"
Gamers. Creatures. Whatever the Eagles wish to go by, they've earned.
"We were ready," said junior quarterback Brady Dever, who completed 20 of 34 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns to one interception. "We wanted to win so bad. We wanted to do something this school has never done before, and that's be district champs."
Dever and the FBCA offense started impressively.
All of Dever's touchdown passes and 201 of his yards came during the first half, after which FBCA led 24-7 thanks to outgaining Second Baptist, 262-123, in total yards.
Five different receivers caught passes from Dever in the first half, with senior Marcus Chretien, who finished with 171 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches, leading the way. Junior Braylon Gardoni had two touchdown catches.
"I don't feel like a lot of people can stay in front of us," Chretien said. "We have the best receivers in all of Texas and TAPPS. We have (junior Bryan) Domino; if they're going to double me, he'll get open. (Senior) Donovan (Dixon) and Braylon on the other side.
"We're all just creatures, like we like to say. Somebody's always open. Brady always finds us."
But Second Baptist adjusted in the second half, outscoring FBCA 10-0 in the third quarter. After scoring on four of six drives in the first half, FBCA scored on just one of six in the second.
Offensively, Second Baptist made changes by running the physical 6-foot-2, 210-pound Murdock more and running tailback Eli Smith more north-south instead of east-west.
Second Baptist receiver JD Crisp caught his second touchdown of the game on a 15-yard scoring haul off a fade from Murdock in the back corner of the end zone with 7:34 left that tied things at 24-all.
\u2026. Aaaaaand we\u2019re tied. What a half by @sbs_a. I believe that\u2019s JD Crisp, again, on a 15-yard fade catch. 24-24, 7:36, 4Q. Here we go. #txhsfb @TAPPSbizpic.twitter.com/nTeL4P7jHf— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1636164912
Each team's next drives stalled until FBCA's Emanuel Montoya nailed a 23-yard field goal with 2:34 left, which would prove to be the game-winner.
On Second Baptist's ensuing possession, on third-and-eight from the Second Baptist 31-yard line, Murdock threw to his right, which Donovan read perfectly.
It was Donovan's third interception of the game, and second of the second half.
"We were in man," said Donovan, who also had five tackles. "I saw my guy breaking out on an out. I knew they liked the little, short passes. I jumped it."
FBCA outgained Second Baptist School 378-325 in total yards. FBCA had four takeaways to Second Baptist's two.
Aside from Donovan, Dever and Chretien, running back Sam Leblue had a strong game for FBCA with 134 yards on 25 carries. Crisp led Second Baptist with seven catches for 207 yards. Smith had 97 yards on 17 carries.
"District champs, now," senior linebacker Tayvian Guidry said. "This is a step forward for the next generation, and it's big to show them this can be done."
FBCA discovered a lot about itself during the game.
As Second Baptist made its dramatic comeback in the second half, FBCA never wavered. That was different.
"It's tough to keep your head up when they make a run like that, but we really did a great job of doing that," Donovan said. "We struggled with that in the past, as far as always getting down on ourselves. But we kept our head up and kept a good, positive attitude."
Black saw a team that is starting to "get it." The win was not the byproduct of one random night of glory in early November. It was an entire season in the making.
"We've gone through adversity," Black said. "Early on in the season, trying to find an identity, we lost three straight games. Believe it or not, it was the best thing that could've happened to us. After that, everybody started trusting each other, we came together as a team, and we're all on the same page.
"It's a great feeling, being here on this field and being a district champion for the first time in school history. This is the beginning of what we've been working for here, trying to create a program with a reputation, and these guys are buying in."
.@FBCAathletics coach Jordan Black talks to his team after their 27-24 win over Second Baptist. First football district title for the Eagles. #txhsfb @TAPPSbizpic.twitter.com/1MPYiibSvy— VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston) 1636168564
Second Baptist was expected to roll to another district title this year. It is gifted with admirable talent, both on the field and on the sidelines.
But FBCA got a considerable injection of talent with a slew of transfers in the summer. Six players who were expected to start for Class 6A George Ranch this season came to FBCA. Chretien was projected to be the No. 1 receiver for Class 6A Fort Bend Travis this season before he came to FBCA in July.
"We had a lot of guys who transferred here, so we just had to build that chemistry," said senior safety Bryce Grays, one of the transfers from George Ranch. "We made a statement tonight to not underestimate us. We just gotta keep working day by day and not take our foot off the pedal.
"It's ring season. That's all I can say."