MACKSVILLE — In a must-win Eight-Man Division-I District 5 game for the St. John High School football team, the Tigers fell behind 32-12 in the second quarter.
St. John fought back against the Macksville Mustangs in the third quarter to close the gap to 38-34, but fell short.
But the Mustangs clinched a district championship with a 60-40 win against their Stafford County rival on Friday night.
“First off, I really admire their kids,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “After the first half, I thought we were in good shape, and they just kept battling back. They’ve got a heck of a good team. I was impressed.”
St. John (5-3 overall, 3-2 district) took a 12-8 lead early in the second quarter on a 43-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kinser Crissman, but missed a couple of potential touchdown passes that fell through receivers’ hands.
Crissman finished with 131 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He completed 11 of 18 passes for 272 yards, another three TDs and an interception.
“Mistakes got us,” St. John head coach Nick Garcia said. “We took three touchdowns off of that scoreboard. The kids played hard. We had some mistakes that got us in the end.
“It was uncharacteristic of them. They do a good job catching the ball. That’s a good football team. Can’t take anything away from them. Hopefully, we made them sweat a little bit tonight.”
It was the last time that St. John led in the game.
Macksville scored on a 1-yard dive into the end zone by quarterback Seth Filbert, a 72-yard sprint from Adam Oak and an 11-yard pass from Filbert to Oak to close out the first half.
“As I’ve said from the scrimmage or the first day of practice, I’m glad (No.) 47’s on our team,” Kuckelman said of Oak. “He just makes me look a whole lot smarter. He just turns really nothing into something. He has that ability.
“Lots of times, it looks like I’ve made a great call, and he just turns it into a good play.”
The Tigers closed in fast in the third quarter.
St. John running back Patrick Prescott, who finished with 100 yards rushing, scored a pair off passes from Crissman, the first a 65-yard throw-and-catch and the second a 42-yard touchdown.
Prescott finished the night with three touchdowns, scoring in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run.
However, a pass interference revived a Mustangs drive after they fell into a fourth-and-24 situation.
Filbert capped that drive with a 15-yard touchdown run. Filbert completed 28 of 42 passes for 344 yards and three TDs.
“It’s huge,” Filbert said of winning the rivalry game his senior year. “It’s a great feeling. They’re a good team. They’re rivals. This is our last home game as seniors, and we come out and got the job done.”
Oak scored twice in the fourth quarter on 5- and 44-yard touchdown runs to keep Macksville ahead. Oak led the Mustangs with 131 rushing yards with three touchdowns and 186 receiving yards with two scores.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Macksville 60, St. John 40
St. John 6 6 22 6 — 40
Macksville 8 24 12 16 — 60
St. John — Reyes 25 pass from Crissman (run fail)
Macksville — Tan. Tranbarger 37 pass from Filbert (Tay. Tranbarger pass from Filbert)
St. John — Crissman 43 run (pass fail)
Macksville — Filbert 1 run (Tay. Tranbarger pass from Filbert)
Macksville — Oak 72 run (Tay. Tranbarger pass from Filbert)
Macksville — Oak 11 pass from Filbert (Oak pass from Filbert)
St. John — Crissman 2 run (Prescott run)
Macksville — Oak 4 pass from Filbert (pass fail)
St. John — Prescott 65 pass from Crissman (pass fail)
St. John — Prescott 42 pass from Crissman (Prescott run)
Macksville — Filbert 15 run (pass fail)
Macksville — Oak 5 run (Filbert run)
St. John — Prescott 5 run (run fail)
Macksville — Oak 44 run (Tay. Tranbarger pass from Filbert)