Ticket punched: Tigers rally past Rankin in wild shootout to earn trip back to state title


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McLean running back Ben Crockett goes in for a score against Rankin during Class 1A Division I state semifinal game at Peoples Bank Stadium in Wolfforth on Saturday night. [Charla Schults/ For Press Pass Sports]

In one of the most incredible high school football games of the 2019 season, McLean was able to punch its ticket back to AT&T Stadium in Arlington in a 97-81 shootout win against Rankin in a Class 1A Division I semifinal Saturday night at Peoples Bank Stadium in Wolfforth.

The two teams had fans on the edge of their seats for all four quarters with six ties, five lead changes totaling 172 points and 1,172 combined yards.

McLean has to rally back in this game. Rankin scored 29 unanswered to take a 59-44 halftime lead. Midway through the third quarter, the Red Devils held a 75-59 lead, only to see the Tigers outscore them 38-6 the rest of the way.

The difference in the game was the Tigers physicality on both sides of the ball. McLean wore down the speedy Red Devils (12–2), who were 22-point favorites according to sixmanfootball.com, with its blistering run game while holding Rankin scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Rankin also didn’t have an answer for the reigning Class 1A Player of the Year in McLean running back Ben Crockett.

Crockett, as he’s done all season, put the Tigers on his back. In one of his best performances to date, coach Clint Linman relied on his workhorse, giving the ball to Crockett 47 times, and Crockett delivered running through the Red Devils defense with 483 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Crockett’s effort outshined Rankin spread back De’Shon Goodley. The utility back was incredible in his own right, combining for 390 yards with five touchdowns.

The Tigers will make a second straight appearance in the Class 1A Division I Six-man state title game. [Charla Shults/ For Press Pass Sports]

McLean (13-1) has now won nine straight playoff games, improving to an impressive 28-1 over the past two seasons.

The Tigers will head back to Jerry World where they will try and defend their crown against Blum in the Class 1A Division I state championship game set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, December 18.

This is a rematch of a season opening meeting where McLean downed the Bobcats 65-38 on Aug. 31.

Blum (12-2) beat Jonesboro 52-30 to advance to the state title game.

McLean 97, Rankin 81

Rankin 30 29 22 81

McLean 30 14 37 16 97

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