Fourth-quarter struggles cost Denton in 4-4A

Denton surprisingly made the playoffs in 2010 by virtue of winning close games in district play.

Its failure to finish in the fourth quarter may cost the Broncos a repeat trip to the postseason.

Denton (1-5, 0-2 in District 4-4A) has either led or been tied with its opponent in the fourth quarter in four of its five losses. Had a few plays gone differently, the Broncos would be one of the surprise contenders in the area.

Their two losses in district play have been the most costly. Last week against Little Elm, Denton’s Matthew Perry scored on a 6-yard run to give the Broncos a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Little Elm (6-1, 3-0) running back Matt Marrs responded with touchdown runs of 31, 8 and 53 to give the Lobos a convincing 31-14 win.

Denton suffered an even more nauseating loss two weeks prior against Wichita Falls (2-4, 1-1). After Dentton Hudspeth’s 5-yard touchdown gave the Broncos the lead with a 54 seconds remaining in the game, the Broncos gave up an 81-yard touchdown pass to give Wichita Falls a 49-46 win.

The collapse also gave Denton a dubious distinction: With the last-second touchdown pass, Wichita Falls quarterback Dylan Sheffield set the state record for passing yards in a game with 683 yards.

This week, Denton enters its toughest stretch of the season: at Lake Dallas (4-3, 1-2), vs. Denton Ryan (6-0, 2-0) and at Wichita Falls Rider (4-3, 1-2).