By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun —
Navarro kept its postseason hopes alive on Saturday in exhausting fashion, holding off Tyler 58-45 in a turnover, mistake-plagued contest at Tiger Stadium.
No. 15-ranked Navarro (6-2 overall, 3-2 in SWJCFC play) must down go on the road next Saturday to Brenham to defeat Blinn (4-3, 2-3) in the regular season finale for both teams. A loss would eliminate the Bulldogs from the postseason.
Navarro extended its win streak to three games by jumping to a 25-point lead with 9:40 left in the game, but then had to withstand an Apache rally in the waning minutes to preserve the victory.
Navarro’s defense forced five turnovers, two of which came at the goal line.
Quarterback Carson Earp had perhaps the best game of his career at Navarro, completing 24 of 36 passes for 383 yards and five touchdowns while also adding 74 yards on the ground.
Earp fired touchdown passes of 31 and 46 yards to Jabryce Taylor in the first half. He also found Austin Collins for his 10th TD of the year in the second period and closed the first half with a 25-yarder to DelMichael High as Navarro built a 35-17 lead. Earp later had a 58-yard scoring strike to Josh Simmons in the fourth quarter.
Navarro entered the game leading the nation in rushing yards per game, but found itself struggling to establish its ground attack against the Apaches (50- carries, 185 yards). Ke’Aun Kinner battled his way to 106 yards on 31 yards, scoring on runs of 7 and 6 yards. Kinner played practically the entire game, with some spot rest from Mikechell Potts. But Potts was ejected in the second half, along with starting receiver Collins and starting linebacker Byron Walker. None will play against Blinn, per league rules.
Tight end Devin Doggett saved a potentially disastrous situation early in the fourth quarter. After No. 11-ranked Tyler had scored back-to-back touchdowns to close to within 42-31, Navarro drove from its 17 to the Apache 1. Earp tried the left side but was stripped of the ball. In the ensuring scramble, the ball popped into the air and into Doggett’s hands for a Bulldog touchdown.
Navarro 58, Tyler 45
SCORING BY QUARTERS
Tyler 7 10 14 14 — 45
Navarro 14 21 7 16 — 58
T: Sedarian Copeland 15 run (Ljundrim Kaba kick)
N: Jabryce Taylor 31 pass from Carson Earp (Carlos Macias kick)
N: Ke’Aun Kinner 7 run (Macias kick)
N: Austin Collins 14 pass from Earp (Macias kick)
T: Ryan Parker 56 pass from Copeland (Kaba kick)
N: Taylor 46 pass from Earp (Macias kick)
N: DelMichael High 25 pass from Earp (Macias kick)
T: Kaba 40 FG
N: Kinner 6 run (Macias kick)
T: Coleman Patterson 37 pass from Copeland (Kaba kick)
T: Parker 26 pass from Copeland (Kaba kick)
N: Devin Doggett recovered fumble in end zone (Macias kick)
N: Josh Simmons 58 pass from Earp (Macias kick)
N: Safety, Intentional Grounding Penalty in end zone
T: Melvinson Hartfield 13 pass from Muse (Kaba kick)
T: Parker 48 pass from Muse (Kaba kick)
YARDSTICK T N
First Downs 21 23
Rush-yards 33-142 50-185
Passing yards 371 383
C-A-I 19-41-2 24-36-1
Fumbles-lost 4-3 4-2
Punts-avg. 3-33 5-48
Penalties 10-82 10-115
Rushing — T: Sedarian Copeland 5-34, Chaston Bennett 13-31, Melvinson Hartfield 4-32, Tyler Taylor 1-4, Ljundrim Kaba 1-(-12), Ken Burks 6-34, Tevin Muse 3-19; N: Ke’Aun Kinner 31-106, Carson Earp 16-74, Mikechell Potts 2-4, Devin Doggett 1-1.
Passing — T: Copeland 13-30-1-242, Muse 5-10-1-94, Kaba 1-1-0-35; N: Earp 24-36-1-383.
Receiving — T: Willie Robinson 1-44, Ryan a78; N: DelMichael High 3-65, Edwin Mims 4-38, Austin Collins 4-56, Josh Simmons 3-70, Jabryce Taylor 6-131, Kinner 2-8, Potts 2-15.