Strait Herron announces retirement to team after double OT playoff loss
The reign is over.
South Pointe’s pursuit of a fifth-straight state title ended Friday night with a 50-49 double OT loss to Daniel.
Then, as Stallion players wept quietly, their coach, Strait Herron, called up his wife, Brigitte, and hugged her. He told the team he was retiring from public education, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
“They’ll have a new coach next year,” said Herron. “It has nothing to do with the loss, this was decided a long time ago, it was just finding the right time to tell them. I figured while they were down, instead of them being down and bringing them back next week to tell them, just do it now,”
Each team scored on its first play in overtime, and, crucially, hit its extra point. In Daniel’s case, Clay Mohr’s kick went in off the post. Tied at 42, the teams switched ends of the field for the second overtime.
Tahleek Steele fired to Raseac Myles for a 19-yard TD in the second overtime, but Daniel’s QB Tyler Venables punched in from three yards. The Lions sent out the kicking team, then called timeout. When they came back, it was clear they were going for 2, and it was Venables that smashed his way into the end zone to send his teammates sprinting onto the field, and Stallions slumping to their knees.
“If we didn’t try to win it then, our chances were only gonna get slimmer after that,” said Daniel coach Jeff Fruster.
Check out Daniel’s game-winning 2-point conversion:
The referees made no new friends among the South Pointe team and fans. The Stallions were flagged 14 times (penalties that were accepted) and many said that Venables’ decisive two-point score wasn’t over the goal line. He disagreed, though.
“The ball crossed the plane,” said Venables. “I looked up at the ref put the whistle in his mouth and raise his hands, it was the greatest feeling ever.”
Daniel showed no fear, led by its excellent junior QB, Venables. Venables’ third TD run of the game got the Lions within one, and his TD pass to Kiandre Sims put the visitors in front, 28-21 early in the fourth quarter.
But the four-time defending champs looked deep in their guts and produced a scoring drive, Tahleek Steele keeping a fourth-and 6 play alive to find Ty Good in the middle of the field. The receiver turned around, then lunged into the end zone for the TD with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left.
Daniel tied the game at 35, marching right down the field and scoring in less than two minutes. Venables smashed in for his fourth TD, but the Lions elected to kick the extra point instead of go for two points with 1 minute, 54 seconds left.
South Pointe was unable to move the ball, then shanked a short punt. A targeting call on the Stallions moved Daniel down to the South Pointe 35 with less than 30 seconds left, but a final pass to the end zone went through a Lions’ receiver’s hands and the game went to overtime.
South Pointe couldn’t overcome the penalties that put them in so many third and very long situations offensively, or negated big plays. After years of escaping any obstacle they encountered on a Friday night, or Saturday afternoon in Columbia, the Stallions couldn’t get past the penalties Friday night.
“It was just meant to be,” said Herron. “Fifteen penalties, it’s kind of embarrassing from an officiating standpoint. I think if they go back and look, I think they’d probably be ashamed. You could just feel it, it just wansn’t meant to be for us tonight.”
Ervin rushed for over 200 yards for the third straight game and broke Stephon Gilmore’s career rushing record at South Pointe. Venables was a monster in the Daniel backfield, also topping 200 yards on the ground and scoring five touchdowns and the all-important two-point conversion.
Daniel faces Wren in next week’s third round.
D.W. Daniel;14;0;6;15;7;8 - 50
South Pointe;21;0;0;7;7;7 - 49
SPHS -- Dorian Manning 44 interception return (Wyatt Grantham kick), 10:31
SPHS -- Joe Ervin 67 run (Grantham kick), 7:22
DHS -- Tyler Venables 3 run (Clay Mohr kick), 5:44
SPHS -- Tahleek Steele 41 run (Grantham kick), 5:02
DHS -- Venables 64 run (Mohr kick), 3:58
DHS -- Venables 3 run (kick blocked), 7:16
DHS -- Kiandre Sims 11 pass from Venables (2-point pass to Hampton Earle), 10:37
SPHS -- Steele 4 run (Grantham kick), 8:08
SPHS -- Ty Good 18 pass (Grantham kick), 3:43
DHS -- Venables 1 run (Mohr kick), 1:54
DHS -- Billy Bruce 10 run (Mohr kick)
SPHS -- Isaac Ross 10 pass from Steele (Grantham kick)
SPHS -- Raseac Myles 19 pass from Steele (Grantham kick)
DHS -- Venables 3 run (2-point run)
RUSHING DHS: Kiandre Sims 7-22, Hampton Earle 1-(-2), Tyler Venables 23-213, Billy Bruce 7-45. SPHS: Joe Ervin 16-208, Marice Whitlock 7-43, Tahleek Steele 20-103.
PASSING DHS: Venables 19-33-2, 239 yards; Jackson Crosby 0-1-0. SPHS: Steele 20-27-0, 197 yards.
RECEIVING DHS: Hack Hamilton 4-82, Earle 2-39, Bruce 2-12, Sims 5-41, Brenton Benson 1-9, Javares Hamilton 3-35. SPHS: Ty Good 4-45, Whitlock 6-45, Isaac Ross 4-49, Jaylen Mahoney 1-18, Ervin 2-3, Raseac Myles 2-45.
RECORDS Daniel 10-1; South Pointe 10-2