On paper the game was slated to be great but played out on the field the game was far better than any could imagine. It took an impossible drive with under a minute to secure a 37-35 win for Navasota over the Giddings Buffaloes.
With 45 seconds left in the final quarter of play Giddings took a 35-31 lead over Navasota on a one-yard run by Dillon Hernandez.
Navasota received the ensuing kick and after a short return the Rattlers had 40 seconds left to find the end zone with no timeouts remaining. Junior quarterback Ja’Mar Jessie completed his first two passes however his receivers were unable to get out of bounds to stop the clock. Jessie took a shot deep, but Giddings held on to a Rattler receiver drawing a 15-yard pass interference penalty.
With less than 10 seconds remaining and 29 yards to go, Jessie connected with John Lee at the 10-yard line. Lee secured the catch and refused to be denied fighting through tackles and powering across the goal line with one second remaining. The celebration ensued, and Navasota drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty to be enforced on the kickoff.
Giddings tried to pull out the magic with several laterals on the kickoff return but were unsuccessful.
“I can’t lie, I knew he [John Lee] had it in him. If I got him the ball I just knew he was going to make a play. I trusted him,” said Jessie.
“He [Ja’Mar Jessie] threw it up and I just went and got it,” said an excited Lee. “As soon as I caught it I knew I was getting in the end zone and we were going to win this game.”
Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus weighed in on the Rattlers game-winning score. “Unbelievable but not unbelievable at the same time. Our kids are so resilient, and I am so proud of them,” explained Dacus.
Jessie passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 68. Lee caught five passes for 71 yards and two scores. His first score was the first score for Navasota. With Navasota trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, Lee hauled in a 27-yard touchdown.
Xavier Steptoe also had two huge touchdown catches for Navasota, a 66 yarder in the first quarter and a 40 yarder to begin the second half. “It’s nothing but God,” explained Steptoe when asked about his great game. He had six catches for 141 yards. “I just try my hardest to do my best.” Steptoe said this is only his second year playing football.
With the win Navasota clinched the No. 1 seed in District 13-4A Division II. Navasota will host the Bi-District Round of the playoffs Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Their opponent is the Austin Achieve Polar Bears. Giddings will play Manor Tech Thursday in the Bi-District Round. .