Teams with more than 20-point leads haven’t fared well at Ratliff Stadium in recent weeks.
Last week, Amarillo High gave up a 22-point lead in the Odessa High Bronchos’ 36-35 win.
On Friday, it was Compass Academy that surrendered a 21-point first half lead in the Cougars’ 28-21 loss to Alpine to start District 1-3A D-II play.
“I think it showed that our kids can fight back from adversity and overcome a lot of things,” Alpine head coach Andy Smith said. “We had a lot of turnovers in the first half. We had another turnover in the third quarter. But what a testament to our kids, fighting through adversity. They didn’t put their heads down and quit. It was exciting to see them fight through that.”
Compass Academy fell to 2-3 overall, 0-1 in district while Alpine moved to 2-3, 1-0.
“Ultimately, what it comes down to is execution,” Compass Academy head coach Floyd White said. “We have to execute in the second half. We turned over the ball too much. We kind of stalled a little on offense. Defensively, they adjusted. I have to do a better job to make sure we’re settling in.”
Turnovers were the story of the night as both teams had trouble hanging on to the ball in the first half.
An Alpine fumble on the first play was recovered by Compass Academy’s Braxton Morris and the Cougars began at the Bucks’ 23.
However, just a few plays later, the Cougars coughed up possession and the Bucks recovered at their own 3.
But another turnover resulted in Compass Academy getting the ball back with ideal field position.
The Cougars scored on a 4-yard touchdown run and Christian Altenhofen’s extra-point made it 7-0 with 3:55 left in the first quarter.
It wasn’t long before Compass Academy doubled its lead on a 15-yard touchdown run by Max Tucker and the Cougars had a 14-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
An interception by Compass Academy gave the Cougars possession deep inside Alpine territory once again late in the first quarter.
But the turnovers continued for both sides as JJ Victorino hauled in an interception at the Alpine 4 early in the second quarter.
Compass Academy’s defensive back Tanner Gahr intercepted Alpine quarterback Devon Rojo and the Cougars got possession at the Bucks’ 31 with 7:26 left in the quarter.
This time, the Cougars didn’t give up possession as Davalos scored from four yards out to help the hosts to a 21-0 lead with 4:52 remaining in the half, capping a five-play scoring drive.
Alpine tried to get something going on their following offensive drive but a run by Logan Smith resulted in a five-yard loss to the Compass Academy 38.
Facing third-and-long, the Bucks managed to convert with a 15-yard pass to Moses Riggins late in the second quarter.
Alpine finally managed to find the end zone in the form of a Logan Smith 11-yard carry on fourth down and Walt Urbanzyk’s PAT made it 21-7 with 12 seconds left in the quarter.
The second half began similar to the first half as the Cougars fumbled the ball deep in Alpine territory and Sean Mendoza recovered at the Bucks’ own 14 with under eight minutes in the third.
The Bucks made the Cougars pay as Smith scored on a 38-yard touchdown run soon after and with the PAT, Alpine only trailed 21-14 with 4:35 left in the quarter.
Alpine brought the ball down field and was threatening to score but an interception by Gahr in the end zone early in the fourth quarter ended the drive.
Compass Academy quarterback Diego Franco left the game with an injury with 10:46 left in the game.
Kasen Smart entered the game to take Franco’s place.
After the Cougars were forced to punt, the Bucks once again put together a threatening drive.
Facing fourth down at the Cougar’s 46, the Bucks converted after needing only one yard on a run.
Smith soon scored on a 26-yard run and Urbanzyk’s PAT tied the game up at 21 with 6:22 left.
Compass Academy was forced to punt with 3:35 left in the game and Alpine took over at their own 30.
Smith scored on a 70-yard run the very next play and the Bucks took the lead for the first time and the PAT made it 28-21 with 3:23 left in the game.
Smart’s pass was soon intercepted by Daedrick Hardwick on the ensuing Compass Academy drive.
The Bucks would hang on to win their first district game.