After a storybook season, the Tenaha Tigers made their fifth trip to the state championship but the team's third title fell just short of their grasp.
Tenaha took on Muenster on Thursday in Arlington at AT&T Stadium in the Class 2A Division II title game. Ultimately, after a hard fight, Muenster secured a win, 27-20.
The two teams boasted the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses and defenses in the 2A classification. It was hard to tell the teams had explosive offenses after the two combined for just 17 first half points. The two teams then scored the rest of their points in the 3rd quarter.
"They leave it all in the weight room and on the track," Tenaha Head Coach Craig Horn said. "They leave it all everywhere all the time. Great kids, great work ethic. I am proud of the way we played and finished. We just didn't get it done."
Muenster was able to stop the Tigers on a key 4th down conversion and from there they ran out the clock.
"I think it was how it was built up to be. 27 to 21," Muenster Head Coach Brady Carney said. "A couple big plays here and there than went our way and their way, but it ended up being a tremendous football game."
Carney said the main reason they were able to get the win today by stopping the running game of running back Ontario Thompson and quarterback CJ Horn. The one player the Hornets could not stop on the day was Trai Gerdner.
"He is an exceptional talent," Carney said. "I heard my guys talking earlier on how hard it was to bring him down. He is exceptional and is a division one level player."
Gardner had 55 rushing yards with one touchdown. He also had 6 receptions for 108 yards and two additional scores.
Gardner may be the best player in the state to not have any college offers on the table. Horn would not under sale his star wide receiver.
"It was Trai being Trai," Horn said. "That is what you get at 6 am and at 9 at night on the film. He is a tremendous talent. He has a nice work ethic and is a phenomenal athlete."
Gardner said he was not letting the emotions of the recruiting process get to him.
"Coming into the game, it was all about Tenaha," Gardner said. "At some point its not about me at all. I was more on the side with trying to bring my town and team a championship"
Tenaha finished the year 15-1. It was their fifth trip to state. This is the first state title for Muenster. Dating back to last Spring, Muenster has won state titles in Football, Basketball and Baseball."
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