It wasn’t easy, but it Lamar made it look that way in a dominating 28-7 win over North Shore in the 5A Division I Region III final.
It also marked the first time an HISD team has won 5A Region III in any division since Vince Young led Madison to the state semifinals in 2001.
“The press and everyone loves to bash HISD,” Lamar head coach Tom Nolen said. “I’ve been in it for thirty-some years now. Great things are going on in HISD. Great things in the classroom, everywhere, and this is just another celebration of it.”
Lamar jumped on North Shore midway through the first quarter on a Darrell Colbert to Shelby Walker 29-yard pass.
Though Lamar was able to control field position the rest of the half, neither team was able to break through and put more points on the board.
The wind picked up in the second quarter directly out of the south, North Shore drove into the wind in the second quarter and would go the same way in the third. Up 7-0 at the break, Lamar felt one more score with the wind at its back would put the game out of reach.
“We needed to get one more score,” Nolen said. “You always want to be in a situation where it takes two scores and it takes a funny bounce of the ball or official’s call out of it, so it was great.”
That opportunity presented itself midway through the third quarter on a fourth and goal from the one. Though a field goal would put Lamar up by 10, Nolen kept the offense on the field to go for the touchdown.
“We worked on it all week and the kids were fired up about it so we did it,” Nolen said. “It worked so it was the right call.”
Down two scores, North Shore’s offense found some momentum, driving all the way to the Lamar 21 where it faced a 4th-and-3. Into the wind and down 14, the Mustangs went for the first rather than attempt a field goal, but Micah Thomas’ pass was tipped and intercepted by Cravon Rogers.
Three plays later, with the final seconds of the third quarter, and the wind at their back ticking away, the Redskins hit a big play from their own 19. Colbert hit Daijon Druhet on a slant that turned into an 81-yard touchdown, putting Lamar up 21-0 and effectively ending any hope North Shore had of a comeback.
“Everybody came up, there were no safeties in the middle of the field,” Colbert said. “The offensive line gave me just enough time to get the ball to Daijon Druhet. He just ran and made the play for the touchdown.”
Colbert added the exclamation point to the victory with a 42-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 28-0 in the fourth quarter.
Lamar advances to play in the 5A Division I state semifinal and will play San Antonio O’Connor Saturday in Austin. If the Redskins win that game they will become the first HISD team to reach a state championship game since Yates did it in 1992.