Kingwood Park junior Sam Johansen intercepted Humble junior Chase Pena with under two minutes left to go in the game.
Senior Daniel Bresko finished the game in victory formation as the Kingwood Park Panthers beat the Humble Wildcats 31-17 on Friday night at Turner Stadium.
As Bresko was preparing to take a knee, the public address announcer announced that Porter had beaten Barbers Hill 10-7. Kingwood Park needed to beat Humble and have Porter beat Barbers Hill in order to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.
"I didn’t know it," senior Bryson Jackson said of the final score of the Porter game. "I kind of looked at it at halftime and saw Porter was up. I was still nervous, but when we got ready to take that knee, and I heard that announcement that Porter won, everything was crazy."
Kingwood Park struggled early on. The Panthers went three-and-out on their first two drives. Junior Vernon Hartfield intercepted Bresko off of a tipped ball on their third drive.
The Wildcats’ offense started at their own 16-yard line after that interception. Pena engineered a touchdown drive that included a 30-yard pass to senior Andrew Tisdale on third and 11 and was capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Pena to Tisdale on fourth and 16 with under a minute left in the first quarter.
The Panthers’ fourth drive started at midfield after a 35-yard kickoff return by senior Logan Bartholomew. They preceded to pick up two first downs but ended the drive without scoring after freshman Gabe Guerra missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.
A 33-yard punt return by Jackson set up the Panthers’ offense at the Humble 23-yard line. After a couple runs by senior Immanuel McElroy, Bresko ran a quarterback sweep to the right scoring on a 2-yard run.
A fumble recovery by Johansen off of a bad snap by Humble on the ensuing drive set the Panthers up at the Humble 25-yard line. Sophomore Desmond Benjamin finished that drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Humble proceeded to drive 57 yards in the closing minutes of the first half but had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Ayala with 16 seconds left in the half.
Kingwood Park scored on their first three possessions of the second half: a 1-yard touchdown run by Johansen from the Wildcat position which capped a 69-yard drive, a 25-yard field goal by Guerra which capped a 33-yard drive that started on the Humble 41-yard line after a failed fake punt attempt, and a 25-yard touchdown run by McElroy which capped a 46-yard drive that was set up by an onside kick recovery.
"We made some good halftime adjustments and came out strong," said Bresko who finished the game 12 for 19 for 131 yards with two interceptions.
McElroy was the team’s leading rusher with 132 yards on 17 carries.
Junior Tylan Johnson was the team’s leading receiver with 52 yards on two catches.
Humble’s lone touchdown of the second half came on a 12-yard pass from Pena to Tisdale on fourth and goal which capped an 81-yard drive which included a 29-yard pass from Pena to junior Trodale Richardson.
Pena finished the game seven for 13 for 151 yards.
Junior Austen Demas led Humble with 49 yards on 14 carries.
Tisdale led Humble with 103 yards on five catches.
Kingwood Park goes into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak. Their defense has allowed just ten points per game over that stretch, holding opponents to single digits in the first three wins.
"I think we came together as a team more," Bresko said of the winning streak. "Our defense was playing lights out, and our offense started clicking. We started putting stuff together, putting points on the board, and winning games."