Jake Brown knew what was going to happen before the ball was even thrown.
With East View clinging to a three-point lead and Rouse driving into the Patriots' red zone, the senior cornerback read the quarterback and won the jump ball for a game-ending interception, handing East View a 25-22 win against Rouse in the first game of district play Friday night at Bible Stadium.
“I just want to thank my coaches and teammates for putting their trust in me to make good plays the whole entire game,” Brown said. “It gives us extra confidence. We didn’t do what we wanted to last year and this is just an amazing feeling.”
The Patriots took the lead late in the fourth quarter when Devhaun Little caught a short pass from East View quarterback Aaron Garces and danced around defenders in the middle of the field and tiptoed up the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown.
Rouse converted a 4th and 10 from the East View 36 yard line on the final drive, one of three first downs on the series. A questionable touchdown catch was ruled out of bounds on the second to last play of the game.
It’s the first time East View has won its district opener since 2014.
“That’s as proud as I’ve ever been of a group of kids,” East View coach Robert Davies said.
Rouse sophomore Mylan Mitchell eclipsed the century mark for the third time in three games, rushing for 144 yards on 24 carries. Tavian Tate carried the ball 14 times for 79 yards and one touchdown and Isaiah Poston had 55 yards and a score.
Raiders quarterback Ethan Moore finished 8-of-16 passing for 84 yards and one touchdown and also ran for 28 yards. Poston was his only target all game with his longest reception going for 19 yards.
“It was a physical ballgame,” Rouse head coach Josh Mann said. “They know us and we know them. Our staffs are very close you get into a game like this and it’s going to be a tight-knit feel. I expected nothing different.”
Rouse started strong on the first drive of the game, calling 12 runs plays and scoring on a three-yard punch up the middle by Tate. Jacob Zepeda liked a 36-yard field goal late in the quarter to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead.
East View found its groove in the second quarter and hit a 35-yard field goal early in the period. The Patriots picked up four first downs en route to a game-tying six-yard touchdown run by Torrie Davis.
After Rouse missed a field goal with under two minutes in the half, the Patriots started driving again. The converted a first down and stopped the clock with four seconds remaining, but the ref went to go reset the ball, he dropped it and the clock ran out.
The East View sideline was furious and Davies came onto the field. He was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and Davis, who had 67 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries, was ejected.
“The way we talked to our team and our kids is that we control what we can control,” Davies said. “The official saw one thing and that’s his job to make that call and we’re going to follow that. We let our emotions get the better of us and we regained composure at the end.”
Rouse held East View to four plays on the first drive of the second half before Poston scored from 30 yards out on a reverse. The Patriots responded quickly with a five-play, 82-yard drive capped off by a 54-yard sprint up the middle by Zion Hester. They got two points after their extra point attempt was botched.
Moore hit Poston from four yards out with just under 10 minutes remaining and the Raiders failed to get in on the two-point conversion.
Little’s weaving score happened eight plays later on the next drive.
“In my head, I was thinking score,” Little said. “My coach told me we need a big play before I came out and to bring the intensity and we needed to grind. I came out thinking I needed to score and I did it.”
East View turns around and takes on Cedar Park next Friday night at Birkelbach Field, while Rouse has next week off and will use the time to prepare for its rivalry game against the Timberwolves on Sept. 29 at Gupton Stadium.
“The district is so competitive that we felt, and they probably felt the same way, that we had to win this one,” Davies said. “We get to enjoy this for about 12 hours and then we move on to Cedar Park.”