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Keith Whitmire's top 10 high school games at Texas Stadium

Stadium brings out the best in players from all levels

08:45 PM CST on Saturday, December 13, 2008

By KEITH WHITMIRE / The Dallas Morning News

34 points in last 3:03

Tyler John Tyler 48, Plano East 44
Nov. 26, 1994


This may be the most memorable high school football game, period.

The game appeared all but over when Plano East trailed Tyler John Tyler, 41-17, with 3:03 left in a region semifinal. Plano East proceeded to score four touchdowns, recovering three onside kicks along the way, to take a 44-41 lead with 24 seconds left.

Moments later, the improbable turned into the unthinkable when John Tyler's Roderick Dunn returned a kickoff 97 yards for the winning score.

The game became a pop culture phenomenon when the highlights spread around the country. The local cable broadcast of the game eventually aired nationally on ESPN2 and garnered even more attention because of the folksy call of the game by announcers Eddy Clinton, Denny Garver and former Lake Highlands coach Mike Zoffuto.

Garver's "Good gosh a'mighty Joe Friday!" and other catchphrases became so popular that Garver, a postal worker by trade, and Clinton were invited to appear on The Tonight Show.

Bleak to bright for Plano

Plano 29, Highland Park 28
Dec. 3, 1977


Things looked bleak for Plano when it trailed Highland Park, 28-0, with 9:31 left in the third quarter. A state quarterfinal crowd of 35,675 watched momentum slowly turn until it became an avalanche of maroon and white.

Highland Park led, 28-14, when Plano's Carl Smith intercepted an option pitch and went 63 yards for a score. Plano scored again on a 61-yard flea-flicker with 33 seconds left. Quarterback Steve Ulmer ran in the two-point conversion to complete the stunning turnaround.

Fake punt sniffed out

Southlake Carroll 22, Euless Trinity 21
Nov. 24, 2006


Fans had been pointing all season to a possible playoff meeting between the previous year's two Class 5A champions. When Carroll and Trinity, both 11-0, finally met the day after Thanksgiving, a crowd of 46,339 saw a game that lived up to the billing.

The crucial moment came with less than three minutes left when Trinity, holding a 21-16 lead, attempted a fake punt. Carroll sniffed out the fake and, six plays later, Carroll quarterback Riley Dodge scored the winning touchdown with 37 seconds left.

Penetrations decide rematch

Hurst L.D. Bell 14, Euless Trinity 14
Dec. 3, 1982


Weeks earlier, Bell defeated Trinity, 20-8, to win the District 7-5A championship before 29,000 at Texas Stadium. When they met again in the playoffs, the stakes were higher. The crowd swelled to 32,291.

Bell drove 69 yards in the fourth quarter for the tying touchdown and took a 3-2 lead in penetrations. In the days before overtime, the first tiebreaker was penetrations inside an opponent's 20. Bell ultimately advanced with a 4-2 advantage over its archrival.

Testing ground for QBs

Highland Park 38, Ennis 28
Nov. 28, 2003


The quarterback matchup alone made this one memorable. Highland Park's Matthew Stafford and Ennis' Graham Harrell went on to star at Georgia and Texas Tech, respectively.

It was Stafford, a sophomore, who had the upper hand that day by passing for 403 yards and three touchdowns to upset Ennis, which was ranked No.1 in the state. Harrell threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns to finish his high school career with a state-record 12,532 yards.

First state title game

San Antonio Lee 28, Wichita Falls 27
Dec. 17, 1971


Texas Stadium's first state title game foreshadowed future thrillers. Wichita Falls trailed, 21-6, but came back to take the lead with 6:38 remaining. Lee's Tommy Kramer threw a 29-yard touchdown pass with 2:21 left and kicked the game-winning extra point.

Lewisville's upset win

Lewisville 13, Abilene Cooper 10
Nov. 23, 1979


Cooper had been the No. 1 team in Class 4A all season and was heavily favored in this bi-district contest. Lewisville pulled off t he colossal upset with defense and the passing of Hal Stewart.

52-yard field goal wins it

Lake Highlands 31, Nacogdoches 28
Nov. 28, 1992


A game of big plays entered the final seconds tied in points and penetrations, but Nacogdoches held a 21-12 lead in first downs, the second tiebreaker. Future NFL kicker Phil Dawson decided it with a 52-yard field goal as time expired.

Agony and ecstasy

Grand Prairie 7, Kimball 3
Nov. 27, 1981


After making a goal-line stand to preserve a 3-0 lead, Kimball needed only to run out the clock when disaster struck with 33 seconds left. Quarterback Don King fumbled in the end zone and Grand Prairie's Randy Gonzales recovered for a shocking win.

Biggest crowd

Plano 13, Port Neches-Groves 10
Dec. 17, 1977


Plano's defense dominated the Class 4A state title game, but what is most remembered is the crowd of 49,953. It's still the largest crowd ever to see a high school football game in Texas.

Other games considered:

2002: Denton Ryan 18, Ennis 14 – Denton Ryan scores two TDs in the final two minutes to steal win in state semifinal, Dec. 14, 2002

1980: Odessa Permian 28, Port Arthur Jefferson 19 – PA Jefferson QB Todd Dodge loses after leading 19-7.

1988: Carter's 31-14 state title win over Converse Judson, later forfeited.

1987: Odessa Permian 35, Arlington 35 – In a state quarterfinal, Permian overcomes 21-point deficit to advance on first downs, 22-20. Dec. 5, 1987

1984: Odessa Permian and Beaumont French tie, 21-21, for 5A state title

2006: Cedar Hill-Garland state semifinal – huge goal line stand by Cedar Hill, game-winning TD run by William Cole

2007: Euless Trinity-Plano – state semifinal goes two overtimes

2008: Cedar Hill-Plano West – Cedar Hill down 28-0, wins in OT

1999: Garland-South Grand Prairie state semifinal – Garland wins in OT

2007: Abilene 22, Southlake Carroll 21 – Abilene upsets Carroll when QB Riley Dodge goes down. Carroll gets in position for winning FG but fumbles the snap.

1996: Flower Mound Marcus 39, Arlington Lamar 32 – Marcus comes back from 21-3 halftime deficit, game ends at 12:43 a.m. Nov. 22, 23 1996

1995: Arlington Lamar 20, Lewisville 18 – Matt McNew kicks 47-yard field goal with seven seconds left. Nov. 25, 1995

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