Young's 4 TDs ignite Tompkins past Travis, on to area round
KATY—The only thing that could stop Tompkins sophomore Wyatt Young on Thursday night was dehydration. And even that didn't last long.
Late during the second half of the Falcons' 49-21 Class 6A-Division I bi-district playoff win against Travis at Rhodes Stadium, Young collapsed on the field, grabbing his leg. The way he reacted made it look like a potentially serious injury.
"Nah, man, I just cramped," Young said, laughing. "Not enough water. It felt great to come right back and score a touchdown and keep my team going."
True, not long after the brief scare, Young ran in his fourth touchdown of the game from 21 yards out with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring and advance the 10-1 Falcons to next week's area playoffs.
Young was terrific in his first career playoff game, rushing for 97 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries and catching five passes for 57 yards. He lined up primarily at quarterback in Tompkins' 'Wildcat' package and slot receiver.
"I'll play any position you need me to," the 6-foot, 165-pound Young said. "I can go catch, I can go run the ball, I can line up at quarterback and throw it out. I can do anything my team needs me to do."
.@wyatttyoung out of the wildcat. 16-yard TD run. @othsfalconfb ups lead to 14-0, 1:40, 1Q. #txhsfb @KatyISDAthletic @OTHSABClub @TompkinsHSpic.twitter.com/V9VMJVqTTO— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1636680897
Young entered the game completing all six of his passing attempts this season for 71 yards. He is third on the team in rushing with 262 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. He is second in receiving with 558 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 18.6 yards per catch.
"He is a solid football player," coach Todd McVey said. "He does a lot of good things with the ball in his hands. He hits the creases when he needs to. Being a quarterback as well, he knows our whole offense. We're blessed to have him able to move to different positions and do things for us."
It was Young's second four-touchdown game of the season. He also had four on Oct. 15 against Morton Ranch.
This performance, of course, came in a game with considerably higher stakes, and showed just how far Young has come since his first varsity game Aug. 28 against Magnolia, when he had one catch for seven yards.
"He was sitting right here afterward, and I looked at him and he was wide-eyed," McVey said, pointing to a concrete bench outside of the home locker room at Rhodes Stadium. "You know, he'd never been here. Now he understands he fits, he can play at this level. He just has to have his opportunities, and when he does, he does a good job with it."
"The game is so much faster in how it moves and how guys hit," said Young, who played on the freshman team last year. "But I learned from my mistakes and kept learning and growing."
.@wyatttyoung set up his score with this nice 23-yard burst. #txhsfb @othsfalconfbpic.twitter.com/qAWt8En8PK— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1636686364
When Young wasn't bamboozling the Tigers' defense, Tompkins' defense was filling up a highlight reel of its own.
The Falcons picked off four passes. Senior defensive back Tyler Collins got things started with a 16-yard pick-6 42 seconds into the game.
"We wanted to start the game out fast," Collins said. "We lined up, my teammates hit him, and the ball popped up. It was right place at the right time."
The Falcons' final three interceptions—courtesy of senior defensive backs Ethan Rawlings and Samuel Kalu, and junior defensive back Cody Chapman—came in the second half.
"You read their eyes and see where the receivers are running their routes," Collins said. "The quarterback's eyes will take you to where he's going to throw it, and that's what we try to work on with our zone. Read him and make a play."
Wow. A huge defensive play for @othsfalconfb senior DB Ethan Rawlings, who intercepts Njoku deep in Tompkins territory and returns it back a good bunch. Second pick for Tompkins tonight. #txhsfb @OTHSABClubpic.twitter.com/9C5Wh07ixc— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1636685909
Tompkins led 21-14 at the half as Travis senior quarterback Anthony Njoku completed touchdown passes to Gabriel Van Wyk and Robert Sims in the final 3-minutes, 28-seconds of the second quarter to make it interesting.
But the Falcons tightened up defensively. As the primary source of Travis' offense, Njoku was impressive at times, but not efficient enough because of an aggressive Falcons pass rush led by senior Sean Dubose Jr. and ballhawks in the secondary.
Njoku completed 14 of 29 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns to four interceptions. He ran the ball 17 times for 56 yards.
"We knew they were a throwing offense," Collins said. "The whole emphasis was to stop No. 2 (Njoku). Work on stopping the pass. It's all we worked on all week. We some miscommunication on the back end that gave them two cheap touchdowns in the first half. We talked it up, came back out in the second half, and kept playing. We talked more, communicated more."
McVey said he liked that his defense kept the spry Njoku in the pocket instead of allowing him to trail out into space, where he is most dangerous. The Falcons scored 21 points off turnovers.
"He's a great quarterback, great competitor," McVey said. "He kept us on our heels for a while. We were out of position and those guys made plays. Kudos to (Travis) Coach (Trey) Sissom and those guys. But we made some adjustments at halftime. Our players did a better job of doing the things we'd coached them to do all week long."