Two football games in four days!
Is baseball great Ernie Banks in charge of scheduling?
No, heavy rains and flooding caused the postponement of the Oct. 30 game at Osceola to Monday, Nov. 2, and then Highland played its regularly scheduled game on Thursday, Nov. 5 at home against Gosnell.
The Rebels needed to sweep the last two games to even be considered for the playoffs.
A tall task given that Osceola tops the 3-4A and Gosnell is third in the conference.
Playing Monday night football suited Highland well as it gave the Seminoles a scare by leading 20-7 with just nine minutes left in the game. Osceola eventually won the game 27-20 in overtime.
The defense gave up just two touchdowns against Gosnell, but the offense failed to take advantage of three chances deep in Pirate territory.
Then, four days later, the Rebels ended their season with a 14-6 loss to Gosnell.
Against Osceola, the Rebels stole momentum early by starting the game with a successful onsides kick, but that drive stalled seven plays later.
The defense halted a Seminole drive in the red zone when defensive back Jonathan Trivitt recovered an Osceola fumble at the Highland 23. However, the offense would have to punt four plays later.
The Seminoles scored on their next drive when Tony Dancy found an opening behind the right tackle to get the 12-yard touchdown. Jose Marquez' PAT gave Osceola a 7-0 lead with nine minutes left in the second quarter.
The Reb offense's final first half drive found Highland threatening. A pass from Will Edmondson to Kenny Nicholson for 16 yards on third down kept the drive alive.
Another third down pass this time to Landon Strobbe would have been good for a first down at the Seminole 31 with 39 seconds left, but an illegal procedure penalty negated the play.
A 15-yard pass from Edmondson to Michael Tarver on fourth down was two yards short and the ball went back to Osceola.
That little bit of offensive success, along with the Rebs history for putting together a strong offensive showing to start the second half, led to Highland's first score.
Michael Tarver swept to the right for a big 25-yard gain to start the drive. Scott Gatewood plowed ahead for another 10.
Blake Martin's 10-yard run was called back because of a holding call. An incomplete pass and a 3-yard run by Tarver set up a third-and-18 from the Seminiole 38. Ben Markway leapt high to catch the Edmondson pass and then while in mid-air he chunked the ball to Jake Horton to the surprise of Osceola, who wasn't expecting the hook-and-lateral.
Horton got to the 6-yard line. Tarver picked up two more yards, before catching the Edmondson pass for the TD. Strobbe's PAT was no good, so Osceola retained the lead, 7-6.
The Rebel D got the ball back when Horton and Jalen Belleton sacked quarterback Baylor Winston causing him to fumble. Martin recovered the ball at the Osceola 23.
Two Seminole penalties advanced the ball to the 2-yard line.
Nearly the entire team got behind Gatewood and pushed him into the end zone. Martin's halfback pass to Strobbe for the conversion gave Highland a 14-7 advantage with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Osceola offense had driven the ball to the Rebel 29, when a baffling play occurred. The ball was snapped and a play appeared to be run, but out of nowhere Gatewood was seen charging down the sideline with the ball. They tackled him at the Seminole 22-yard line. Gatewood would explain later that the ball was fumbled on the snap, kicked ahead through Colt Johnson's legs and into his waiting hands.
The Reb offense wasn't able to score, but the field was flipped.
On fourth down, Edmondson's pass to Nicholson was intercepted, which gave Osceola the ball at the 5 instead of the 24.
The Reb defense forced a punt that was caught at the Seminole 35.
Gatewood took the first down play 35 yards for the score. Tarver's sweeping attempt for the conversion was no good, but Highland extended the lead to 20-7.
Dancy's 48-yard return set up the Winston to Johnny Brown 25-yard score followed by the Marquez PAT to make the score 20-14 with eight minutes to go.
The Reb offense punted after three, but Sterling Stowers recovered at the Rebel 39.
Keeping the ball on the ground to run the clock, Highland managed a seven-play drive.
Punter Trivitt was brought out to punt on fourth-and-5 from the 45. Unknown to many, Trivitt had sustained a knee injury early in the game, but had played through it. Trying to kick it toward the sideline and away from Dancy, the shank landed near the sideline at the line of scrimmage.
No one covered the punt, so the Seminole's Charles Cody picked it up and had an open lane for an easy score. Trivitt pushed him out at the Highland 10.
On fourth-and-2, Winston fell in for score, but Marquez' PAT was wide right. The score was tied with 21 seconds left.
Highland won the overtime coin toss and elected to play defense first. They weren't able to stop Kedrick Veasley from scoring on the first play.
Gatewood took the Rebs first play to the right and tried to blast his way for extra yards, but the ball popped loose. Kevin Davis covered the ball to give Osceola the win.
There are no good losses, but taking the number one team in your conference into overtime on their turf comes pretty close.
Gatewood led Rebel rushers with 68 yards on 13 carries and Tarver carried 12 times for 46 yards. Edmondson was five-of-17 for 65 yards.
In the season finale, Gosnell jumped out to a 6-0 lead by moving 67 yards in five plays to open the game. Zach Perrin found a hole up the middle for the 4-yard touchdown. The Rebs stopped Gavin Sullivan short of the 2-point conversion.
Sullivan stopped Highland's first drive when he intercepted a Edmondson pass at the Highland 39, but Gatewood recovered a Perrin fumble to get the ball back.
Martin picked up 24 yards on five carries and Tarver had 25 yards on three carries, including a sweep to the right into the end zone. Martin's 2-point conversion failed, but the score was tied at 6-all with two minutes left in the first period.
Nicholson recovered the Perrin kickoff fumble at the Pirate 23, but the Reb offense could get the score. A holding call on third down made it third-and-12. Brandon Sharp took the slant pass across the field, but couldn't find that final opening to get the first down.
Late in the half, Gosnell showed its offensive prowess again when the Pirates put together a 10-play, 51-yard drive for a Isiah Love TD.
Love dropped back to pass, but couldn't find anyone, so he rolled to the left right into the end zone. Perrin completed the conversion and the Pirates led 14-0.
Markway's interception gave the ball to Highland at the 24, but four incomplete passes later the half was over.
In the second half, neither team could find the end zone.
Highland was inside the Pirate 35 twice, including its last drive. With 6:30 minutes left and starting at their-own 17, the Rebels ground out the yards and found success on three Edmondson passes; a 13-yarder to Strobbe, and two 20-yarders to Stowers. The second Stowers pass was on fourth-and-7 to keep the drive going.
At the 12-yard line with a minute left, Edmondson threw incomplete passes to Strobbe, Sharp, Stowers and the final one to Strobbe, to end the game.
Martin led the team with 23 totes for 67 yards followed by Gatewood with 40 yards on 12 carries.
Edmondson was 10 of 20 for 85 yards.
Highland finished the season 2-5 in the 3-4A and 3-7 overall.