North Shore Leaves Doubters In Dust, Topples Westlake In OT 21-14
HOUSTON’S NRG STADIUM – It’s the near perfect story, a tale Hollywood might write to be an inspirational blockbuster, only it would bear the tag “based on a true story.”
North Shore Senior High School, home of the Mustangs, began their season with a measure of adversity. Under second year head coach Jon Kay, the Mustangs won their first game of the season, then lost their next three in a row. Admittedly the losses were to teams who were highly ranked in the state, making North Shore the underdogs, but the Mustangs coaching staff and players expected to win them all. However, at 1-3, the Mustangs regrouped, put the past behind them, and began a long, slow ascent to the pinnacle of high school sports. They did not lose again.
As they remained undefeated, a feat many thought unlikely as they battled more highly ranked foes in the playoffs, the challenges became greater. Dickinson was supposed to knock them out. They didn’t. Converse Judson, a team who sent them home in previous semi-final matches, was highly favored to win. They did not. And finally, in the state championship game against Austin Westlake, the Mustangs again found themselves underdogs. But the Mustangs never looked or played like underdogs.
They made plays when they needed to, like Andrew Hyacinth scooping up a fumble and returning it 95 yards for the Mustangs first score of the game.
And with seconds remaining, the game in the balance, score tied 14-14, Westlake was set to kick a potential game winning field goal; but Zafir Murphy leapt above the line and blocked the kick, sending the Mustangs and their fans into a raucous frenzy and the game into overtime.
In overtime North Shore got the ball first, and ended with QB Maciah Long bulldozing a one-yard touchdown run up the middle. Kicker Aaron Cuevas added the extra point, then it was the defenses turn. The tension mounted once the Chaparrals got a first down, but terrorizing the Westlake quarterback, the defense shut the Chaparrals down. The Mustang defense held on fourth down and sealed the state title for their team and their town.
“East side!” they chanted as fans cheered. Though not a fairy tale, the story does have a satisfying ending for the Mustangs. Telling the tale of their success after the game, #87, junior August Thomas exulted the secret to their success, “Hard work and dedication,” he exclaimed.
A sigh of relief for fans of the North Shore Mustangs, the tale of the 2015 high school football season came to an end in a fitting overtime victory for the scarlet and white.
“I couldn’t write a better script for how this game ended and the way this team has worked and improved and competed,” said Coach Kay after the game.