The 10th annual battle for the ‘Cotton Bowl Trophy’ between Clint and Fabens ended up as most rivalry games in this series do: a classic battle to the end, with the Lions edging out the Wildcats 24 to 22.
While it may have been a “Tale of Two Halves,” that only tells half the story. As most games in this five-decade-plus rivalry, the Wildcats squandered a 16-3 halftime lead, allowing 21 unanswered points from Clint, only to have a fighting chance in the game’s final minutes failing to tie the game on a two-point conversion.
The Wildcats jumped to a two-score halftime lead, primarily off of Clint mistakes. The first score on a safety and then extended a nine to three lead on a fumbler recovered for a 40-yard touchdown.
Clint, a team well-known for running the ball, tried a different approach in the first half of the game by passing on first and second down, but turned to their running game which helped them score 21 unanswered points in the second half for the definite lead.
“I’m proud of them, they came back after the half when we were down two scores,” Clint Head Coach Rosvel Martinez said. “It showed a lot of character and that’s what you ask for. Big win, not just because it was Fabens, a rival, but it’s our first district game so it kind of puts us in a good seat.”
The workhorse behind that comeback win for the Lions was senior running back Jesus Almanza, who finished the night with 244 yards and three touchdowns.
“The line was doing pretty good, but they were aggressive at the beginning, but somehow we pulled it off,” Almanza said. “We started believing in ourselves again, started playing Clint-Lion football like we’re used to.”
“We were trying to throw a little bit, trying to spread them out, they’re defensive scheme was pretty good,” Matinez said. “At halftime we said, let’s go back to what we know how to do, what we do best is running the ball and that’s what we did and came out on top.”
Clint held a 24-16 lead with under five minutes to play, but a rare pass attempt was intercepted by the Wildcats, who scored a touchdown with 2 minutes left in the game. Fabens failed to tie the game on the ensuing two-point attempt.
“We were just trying to put them away and just not a very smart call on my end,” Clint offensive coordinator, John Wilson said. “It’s one of those plays that if it works, you’re a genius, if it doesn’t you’re a knucklehead. I shouldn’t have put ourselves in that spot…Fabens is a heck of a team, they fought hard and it’s always like that when they play us.”
The Lions would hold on to the two-point lead and improve their record to 4-3 as the head into their bye week. Fabens will now face Mountain View to continue District 2-4A play; Fabens drops to a 1-6 mark overall.
Regardless of the win-loss records, anytime the teams get together, the result is memorable.
“It’s always special against Fabens, but it’s a district win, we move on and have to get ready for Mountain View [after bye week],” Wilson said. “It’s always nice when you get Fabens, it’s a good rivalry. I’m proud of our kids, they played their tails off.”