Episcopal scored 17 fourth-quarter points to rally past Booker T. Washington 17-6 in a Class 2A first-round playoff game Friday night at EHS.
The defense for ninth-seeded Episcopal (8-2) came up with big play after big play in the contest. Episcopal advances to a regional playoff game for the third straight season and will face Riverside.
BTW (5-6), a No. 24 seed, took advantage of three Episcopal first-half fumbles and led 6-0 following a one-play drive when quarterback Marquis Musco passed 76 yards to Arthur Jones with 8:52 remaining in the second quarter. The Lions missed the extra point.
Episcopal was led by fullback Clement Mubungirwa, who gained 153 yards on 26 carries and had a 30-yard TD run. Mubungirwa lost two fumbles in the first half. BTW’s Lakendrick Jones recovered the second fumble with 1:39 remaining in the first half at the Episcopal 34-yard line.
Musco ran 22 yards on first down. Three plays later, Musco ran a bootleg left for a 6-yard gain. Brannon Bienasz made a TD saving tackle on that play. Brennan Gutierrez and Joshua Posner made goal line stops on the next two plays. Posner stripped the ball from Musco and Gutierrez recovered with 11 seconds remaining.
In the second half, Episcopal’s defense held BTW to one first down and forced two turnovers. BTW was held to 24 yards rushing on 22 tries and Musco threw incomplete or was intercepted in his final six pass attempts.
“Our defense did an outstanding job and kept us in the game,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “BTW has good skill players. We were fortunate to hold them to six points. It took a total team effort. We preached all week to trust each other and stay with the game plan.”
Bienasz recovered a fumble and made a crucial interception in the second half. He made a 31-yard return on his interception from midfield with 5:48 remaining to set up Episcopal’s final gutsy score.
Austin Couvillion kicked a 33-yard field goal with 3:46 remaining for the final margin. Jarrell Rogers was steady with the hold. The unexpected snapper was sophomore Daniel Rieger, who took the cast off his broken right hand to snap.
Rieger was subbing for EHS quarterback and snapper Jason Roussel, who was injured during the second Couvillion PAT when he was illegally hit.
“That field goal was big because it made it a two possession game with limited time,” Bourgeois said. “Rieger is a tough kid and we have confidence in him. Couvillion made another big kick for us.”
Roussel passed 86 yards to sophomore Spencer Kleinpeter down the left sideline and Couvillion added the PAT as EHS took its first lead at 7-6 with 8:55 remaining in the game. Episcopal’s James Davis had a key third-down tackle to set up the BTW punt that led to the one-play drive.
BTW went for it on fourth-and-2 from its 30-yard line with 7:43 remaining and Musco’s pass fell incomplete. Posner had the coverage on the play.
Mubungirwa scored on his 30-yard run on the next play as EHS led 14-6 with 7:27 left.
BTW’s last two series ended with the Bienasz interception and with Mosco throwing incomplete on fourth down.
Rogers added 48 yards rushing on nine carries.
“Making that goal line stand was definitely a momentum swing,” Bourgeois said.