ARLINGTON — In only their second trip to the state football quarterfinals, the Rockwall-Heath Hawks hung tough with No. 8 state-ranked Cedar Hill.
So tough that the Hawks forced overtime in their Class 6A-II fourth-round playoff game at Globe Life Park on Saturday.
But after the Hawks were held to a 38-yard field goal by Sam Spencer on the first possession of overtime, Cedar Hill scored on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Kaidon Salter to wide receiver Javien Clemmer for the game-winning touchdown in a 27-24 Cedar Hill victory.
Cedar Hill, now 11-1 for the season, advances to the semifinals to play 11-2 Denton Guyer at 1 p.m. Saturday at McKinney ISD Stadium.
Heath finishes the season with an 11-3 record after reaching the quarterfinals for the second time since 2008.
Heath managed 363 total yards against Cedar Hill, showing balance with its passing and running games.
Quarterback Josh Hoover was 12-of-26 passing for 163 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown to Corban Cleveland. Cleveland led the Hawk receivers with five catches of 52 yards. Lance Mason finished with four for 60 yards, Jay Fair caught two for 30 yards and Jordan Nabors added one catch for 21 yards.
Preston Landis took over the rushing load following a season-ending injury to Zach Evans, the other member of the Hawks’ one-two running punch. Landis ran the ball 34 times for 196 yards, scoring on runs of 1 and 10 yards. The 1-yarder capped a 15-play, 85-yard scoring drive. The 10-yarder finished off a 75-yard drive.
Cedar Hill racked up 453 total yards as Salter went 20-of-37 passing for 266 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 83 yards on 21 carries. Kylon Ashton also rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries for the Longhorns and Kris Allen ran for a 1-yard touchdown.
The future looks bright for the Hawks as several of their top playmakers on offense should be back next season.
Hoover, a junior quarterback, passed for 3,556 yards and 36 touchdowns during the 2020 season, completing 236 of 327 attempts with 12 interceptions. Hoover also ran for four TDs.
Landis, the senior running back, led the Hawk rushers with 1,641 yards and 23 TDs on 260 carries.
Evans, who’s a junior, rushed for 1,223 yards and 14 TDs on 196 carries though missing a couple of games with an injury.
Cleveland, a senior wide receiver, led the Hawk receivers with 75 catches for 857 yards and 12 TDs.
Fair, a junior wide receiver, caught 73 passes for a team-high 1,303 yards and 12 TDs.
Nabors, another junior wide receiver, caught 38 passes for 726 yards and five TDs and also averaged 34.3 yards on six kickoff returns, returning one for a touchdown.
Mason, also a junior, caught 27 passes for 450 yards and three scores.
Heath won its three playoff games by scores of 42-14 over Garland, 56-28 over Temple and 48-24 over Cypress Bridgeland, which was ranked No. 7 by “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.”