DALLAS -- Rockwall-Heath has been in this position before.
ESPNDallas.com’s seventh-ranked team fought back in the final minutes to defeat Frisco Wakeland, 22-21, in Class 4A Division I bi-district playoffs Friday at Wildcat-Ram Stadium.
Coach Mickey Moss didn't have too much to say in the postgame huddle and simply repeated the words “never give up” over and over.
“That’s a sign of this team in the fourth quarter. Nine of our 11 games have all been decided in the last three minutes of the ball game,” Moss said. “We have won eight of them. That says a lot about our kids.”
Wakeland struck first on quarterback Nick West’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Carson Carew in the first quarter.
Rockwall-Heath closed the gap to 7-3 with a 31-yard field goal from Ethan Smith and briefly went ahead in the second quarter after an Amaris Fields 54-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Wakeland answered when West scored on a 1-yard run with 36 seconds remaining in the first half to take a 14-10 lead at the break.
Wakeland extended the lead on Dan Harrington's 9-yard touchdown reception from West early in the third quarter.
But the offense really began to click in the third quarter for Rockwall-Heath, which started moving the ball well and was able to find holes in the Wolverines’ defense.
Rico Henderson’s 1-yard run capped off a touchdown drive late in the third quarter that pulled Rockwall-Heath within 21-16 after a missed conversion attempt.
Henderson’s 11-yard run with 3:04 left in the game finished off the late comeback for Rockwall-Heath and sent his team into the next round of playoffs.
“We just continued to play hard and execute and not make as many mistakes as we did in the first half,” Moss said.
Henderson and Moss were pleased to win, but both were already looking forward to the next game.
“Tomorrow we will recover and hit the weight room hard and condition. Every game in the fourth quarter it seems like our kids have been the strongest,” Moss said. “So, we believe we have to turn around tomorrow and hit the weight room and do a lot of running and watch film and then prepare for the next one."
Rockwall-Heath will face Kimball next Friday in the area playoffs.