Top 13 Games Since 2010 - Part III

7. Rockdale (2014)

Winning when it matters the most. The Yoemen exemplified what exactly that meant in their 2014 state championship run. Cameron started that season with a 2-4 record, which was capped off by a tight 34-27 loss to rival Rockdale in the annual Battle of the Bell game. From that point on, the Yoemen reeled off 10 straight wins en route to their third consecutive state championship.


This state quarterfinal game was chosen to take place at Georgetown High School. Cameron had played Lago Vista at this same venue in 2012 and had no problems, but these two Milam County rivals pushed the limits of the facility. In fact, hundreds missed the opening kickoff due to traffic and the concession stand was running out of food before the game even started. If this game were to happen again, it’s safe to say it would not be in Georgetown.


Now, on to the game.


The Tigers would put the pressure on the Yoemen early by scoring the game's first points. QB Dylan McCartney would cap off the short 4-play drive by finding Pearce Loth in the back on the end zone for a 23-yard score.

The Yoemen would respond by scoring two times in a row. On the first drive, QB Reid Nickerson would find paydirt on an 8-yard keeper over the right side of the Yoe offensive line. Eric Sanchez's kick was good, and the Yoemen had the lead at 7-6. On the next score for Cameron, Nickerson hit Sicory Smith over the middle for 61 yards. Half of that yardage came off an excellent move to reverse field and outrun the Tiger defenders. The point after attempt was no good, and the Yoemen held the 13-6 lead with 4:07 still left in the 2nd quarter.

Just over a minute later the Tigers would respond. This time McCartney connected with Christian Lara over the top for a 37-yard TD. However, the extra point attempt once again failed and the Yoemen still maintained a 1-point advantage at 13-12. With minutes left in the half, Cameron needed to strike quick, and they did just that. The potent air attack from the Yoemen once again came through as Smith hauled in his 2nd TD catch of the night, this one being of the 31-yard variety. The XP was good, and the Yoemen were up 20-12 at the half.

The 3rd quarter saw the Yoemen put the game totally out of reach, outscoring the Tigers 17-0. After completing a 58-yard pass to Aaron Sims, Nickerson finished off the first drive on the 2nd half with a 1-yard rushing score. On the next drive for Rockdale, Sims alertly stepped in front of a Rockdale receiver to intercept and return a pass 42 yards for a score. Later, it would be LB Ryan Cullen getting in on the action, intercepting another McCartney pass and returning it all the way to the Tiger 20-yard line. Cameron would move to the eight before Sanchez would nail the field goal, upping the lead to 37-12 at the end of the 3rd quarter.


The Tigers would punch in one final score, but on their next possession the game was iced when John Washington intercepted McCartney for the third time. That one was also taken in for a touchdown.


Top Performers

Offense: Reid Nickerson (14-21 passing, 253 yards, 2 TD, 10 carries, 40 yards, 2 TD), Sicory Smith (5 catches, 113 yards, 2 TD), Aaron Sims (7 catches, 106 yards)

Defense: D’Andre Adams (12 tackles, 1 tackle for loss), Alex Ibarra (9 tackles, 2 sacks), Ryan Cullen (11 tackles, 1 interception), Aaron Sims (1 interception), John Washington (1 interception)


6. Teague (2014)
Of the three games that Cameron and Teague have played the past three seasons, the first is the most memorable. While Cameron was just beginning to hit their stride in the playoffs, the Lions had overwhelmed opponents all year. Teague had just scored 76 in a bi-district win over Kountze and did not have a game closer than 15 points the entire season.


The game started with excellent defense on both sides as neither team scored in the first quarter of play. The Lions eventually punched one in early in the second, but the extra point attempt was blocked and returned by Darryl Florez to make the score 6-2.


The defense provided the spark needed on Teague’s next possession when DB Jaylon Bryant jumped a route, intercepted and returned an Austin Skinner pass to the Lions 23. Yoe QB Reid Nickerson later hit Aaron Sims in the back of the end zone to put Cameron up 9-6.

After another stop on defense, the Yoemen offense went back to work. Nickerson finished off a 6-play drive with an 11-yard keeper up the middle, moving the Yoe lead to 15-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Robbie West found a small crease and was gone, returning the ball 80 yards for the score. With just seconds left in the half, the Yoemen would need to score quickly. On the first play from scrimmage, Cameron would answer back as Nickerson hit Sicory Smith for 67 yards and 7 points. That would close out the first half of play with the Yoemen on top, 21-12.

Cameron struck quick with the ball to start the third, as Nickerson went back to Sims over the middle for a 69-yard touchdown, upping the lead to 28-12.


As you would expect from an undefeated team, Teague responded. Skinner and the offense got into a groove with three touchdowns in a row, and just like that Teague was back up 31-28 with under 10 minutes remaining.

Needing to answer to swing momentum, the Yoemen would go to the ground. RB Traion Smith would cap off the 78-yard drive with a 34-yard TD run, giving the Yoemen the lead back at 35-31. Sims would end any hopes of Teague taking back the lead, as the senior intercepted a pass, returning it to the Lions 25-yard line. On a 4th and goal from the 4, Nickerson found Sims in the corner of the endzone for a TD, pushing the lead to 42-31 with just 4:02 left. With Teague driving, Bryant would ensure the Yoemen win, intercepting a pass in the end zone.


Top Performers

Offense: Reid Nickerson (9-15 passing, 210 yards, 4 TD, 1 rushing TD), Traion Smith (23 rushes, 156 yards, 1 TD), Aaron Sims (5 catches, 111 yards, 3 TD), Sicory Smith (1 catch, 67 yards, 1 TD)

Defense: Johnny Alexander (14 tackles), Johns Washington (11 tackles), Alex Ibarra (11 tackles), Jacob Smitherman (10 tackles), Jaylon Bryant (2 interception), Aaron Sims (1 interception)

5. Hallettsville (2013)

If you have a hard time differentiating what years games actually took place, just remember that 2013 was the season with all of the cold games. The Aransas Pass game in the area round of the playoffs was the coldest game I had ever attended, but this game at Texas State University was equally as frigid.


The Brahmas had lost one game in 2012 - to the Yoemen in the state quarterfinals. The same scenario played out in 2013 even though this was not not nearly as easy for the Yoe fans’ blood pressure. But, that is what makes great football games as the Yoemen held off a Hallettsville two-point conversion late to advance to the semifinals, 28-26. Hallettsville finished 2012 and 2013 with a combined 25-2 record. Both losses were to the Yoemen.


The opening quarter was a feeling out process as neither team crossed the goal line as the game remained scoreless.


The Brahmas broke the ice early on the second by marching 74 yards in just 6 plays to jump out 7-0. Cameron did not score in the first half, but it was a play by the Yoe quarterback that may have saved the game in the second. With a first down at the Brahma 25-yard line, Kopriva tried to hit a receiver over the middle, but the route was jumped and intercepted by Dalton Herrington. Kopriva was the last man between Herrington and the end zone, and the quarterback clipped his leg at the Yoe 35. The defense stepped up to keep the deficit at just 7-0 at the half.


Hallettsville gambled early in the third by faking a punt from their own 45. The risk did not pay off as the pass fell incomplete. Eight plays later, Kopriva rumbled in from two yards out to tie things up with just over 7 minutes remaining in the third.


Both offenses were now into rhythm, as Hallettsville responded with a 6-play, 74 yard touchdown drive to go back up 14-7. Cameron was not going away, as a 38-yard pass to Colton Shuffield followed by a 33-yard flea-flicker pass to Aaron Sims put up quick points. Michael Evan drilled the extra point and we were knotted again at 14.


The back-and-forth struggle continued as Hallettsville this time struck for a 45-yard pass down the Yoe sideline. The extra point attempt failed as the Brahmas led 20-14. After trading possessions, Cameron was in dire need of a score. With the ball at the Brahma 40, Kopriva and Justin Pratt teamed up for a 19 and 21 yard pair of passes to answer back. Evan drilled the point after attempt to give Cameron it’s first lead of the game with just 4:36 remaining.


Smith later put the Yoemen up 28-20 with 1:43 remaining, but Hallettsville proceeded to score with just four seconds remaining. The game would come down to one play as a two-point conversion could tie things and send the game into overtime. You could hear a pin drop in the stadium as the ball was snapped. Quarterback Nate Kowalik quickly released the ball, and for a moment, the receiver was in position to catch the ball. That was until Reid Nickerson came out of nowhere, diving in and knocking down the pass to end the game. There was no questioning who the player of the game was.


Top Performers

Offense: Jason Kopriva (17-23 passing, 216 yards, 3 TD, 1 rushing TD), Traion Smith (25 carries, 159 yards, 1 TD), Colton Shuffield (6 catches, 87 yards), Aaron Sims (3 catches, 52 yards, 1 TD), Justin Pratt (4 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD)

Defense: Somari Wright (9 tackles), Chris Lewis (6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss), Tralund Webber (6 tackles, 1 sack), Reid Nickerson (gave-winning pass deflection).