NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Makyron Whitaker intercepted a pass to thwart a comeback bid by Nacogdoches, and Javari Johnson picked up a crucial first down to enable Texas High to take victory formation in a game that was closer than initially expected.
The 4th-ranked Tigers scored in the fourth quarter to erase a 4-point deficit and survived the Dragons, 23-20, Friday at Dragon Stadium.
Johnson finished with a workhorse effort of 25 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown, Tristan Powell added the go-ahead TD And Brandon Hall also caught a score for THS (7-1, 4-0).
David Potter connected on 11-of-21 passes for 122 yards, a TD and two interceptions. Hall had five receptions for 45 yards and his touchdown, and Tradarian Ball also had six carries for 44 yards.
Isaac Jones rushed eight times for 120 yards for the Nacogdoches (1-8, 1-4), and he also connected on 9-of-14 passes for 158 yards, a TD and a pick.
The Tigers' first drive of the second half ended with a D'Marea Weaver interception inside the red zone. Eight plays later, Cemodric Bland snagged a 50-yard TD to stake the Dragons to their first lead of the game.
After an exchange of punts, Texas High marched 65 yards on six plays with Powell bulling his way in from the 5 with 8:30 remaining in the game.
With two more possessions, Nacogdoches was driving in THS territory when Whitaker intercepted a pass to help preserve the Tiger victory.
Texas High built a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and was in Dragon territory on its fourth possession with a chance to go up three scores. However, a near sack turned into a Yoshiro Parks interception for Nacogdoches.
Hall snagged a 26-yard touchdown from Potter on the Tigers' second possession, and Johnson covered 10 yards on a scoring run with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.
Parks brought the pick back 25 yards to the Tiger 45, and in three plays Jaylon Brown hauled in a 32-yard touchdown for the home team.
THS' next drive fizzled out but the punt rolled dead at the Dragon 5, but on the second play Jones broke free around the left end for a 90-yard quarterback keeper on a read-option to knot the score.
The Tigers drove 51 yards on 12 plays, with Seth Trusty booting a 36-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining until halftime.
Texas High had 170 yards of total offense before intermission, and Nacogdoches had 187 yards in the first half.