HOUSTON - Cibolo Steele has grown up fast from nothing into a powerhouse football program in five years. And now, the Knights are very close to making history.
Steele advanced to its second straight 5A Division II championship game after a 51-31 win over Port Arthur Memorial Saturday night at Reliant Stadium. The Knights ran for over 400 yards while clamping down on an explosive Titan offense.
The Knights advance to meet Spring Dekaney in the title game Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Steele won its first title there last season (a 24-20 win over Denton Guyer), and is looking for another title this season.
"We're playing good football right now, and we're healthy," Steele head coach Michael Jinks said. "This year, we had a bit of the injury bug hit us and we've battled from that. But at the same time, we created some depth. A lot of young kids stepped up and had a sort-of baptism by fire. I'm proud of my football team."
Steele had control for most of the game. After Memorial took a 3-0 lead, Steele defensive tackle Cory Staud intercepted a pass and returned it to the Titan 13-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback and Nebraska recruit Tommy Armstrong gets a 10-yard touchdown run to put the Knights ahead.
After an unsportsmanlike penalty on the extra point, the kickoff from the Titan 45 was returned to the 3-yard line. After Memorial went three-and-out, punter Tayylor Labrie stepped out of the end zone as he received the punt, resulting in a Steele safety.
The bad special teams play by Memorial continued, as a bad punt gave Steele the ball at the Titan 35 to open the second quarter. A couple of minutes later, Armstrong scored from four yards out to make it 16-3.
Steele (15-0) broke the game open on its next possession, as running back Justin Stockton broke open a 93-yard TD run to increase the lead to 20.
Memorial responded with a long drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Terrence Singleton, but that touchdown was quickly answered by an 81-yard run by Armstrong that kept the Knight lead at 20.
Then with a minute left in the first half, Armstrong completed a 56-yd pass to Matthew Mayle that set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Armstrong that made it 37-10 at the half.
Armstrong kept it going in the second half, scrambling and finding tight end Marcus Olearnick for a 130-yard touchdown. Running back Jemel Robbins added a 7-yard touchdown to make it 51-10 after three quarters.
Memorial (13-2) showed some fight at the end, as Singleton rallied with touchdown runs from 11 and 14 yards in the fourth quarter and a 2-point conversion on a pass to pull the Titans back to within 20.
This is the best record for Memorial in its brief nine-year history.