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October 29, 2008This past Friday night, Huntsville was in an unenviable position. With the school's homecoming game going on and the District 18-4A lead on the line, the Hornets found themselves trailing Magnolia 21-7 at halftime.
With the team playing well below the level that had them sitting at 4-1 on the season and 3-0 in district play, Huntsville needed a spark at halftime. They got that and more, as they beat Magnolia in overtime, 24-21.
"Yes sir, we played a pretty good second half," said Huntsville defensive end and Texas A&M commit Kirby Ennis. "The first half was something we'd like to forget, though. We just didn't seem to have our focus on offense or on defense. It was just one of those days.
"We just had to step it up in the second half. We had to forget about the first half and step it up in the second."
While head coach Mitchell Coey and the rest of his staff did their best to fire up the team, it was Ennis and his fellow seniors who took a leadership role in the locker room at halftime.
"Coach Coey talked to us a little at first," said Ennis. "Then the offensive coach talked to the offensive guys and the defensive coach talked to the defense. We talked amongst ourselves too, just a little bit, and we just came out there like we wanted it.
"I told the defense that, at the end of the game, I wanted to see them all on their knees from being so tired from playing in the second half. I didn't want anybody to have a single bit left in them at the end of the game. I wanted everybody to give 100-percent and I told them that I didn't want to see anything left."
Along with the rest of his defensive teammates, Ennis proved that it was not just all talk. He had a big part in the Hornets tying the game at 21 in the fourth quarter. He also had a huge stop on the very last play of regulation, allowing the game to head to overtime.
"Yes sir, I blocked a punt in the fourth quarter," he said. "We were down 21-14 and I was line up over the tackle. I shed the block from the tackle and their punter kicked kind of funny, like rugby-style. He would step to his right before kicking it. I came in and blocked it and we got the ball at the eight-yard line. Two plays later, (Lonnie) Lipscomb went in for a touchdown to tie it.
"They ran a little trick play at the very end. They lined up to kick a field goal, but they faked it and threw a pass back across the field. If it wasn't for me and one of my other teammates, they would have scored and won. We got him down at like the five-yard line. I pursued him from the other side of the field and one of the other defenders flushed him back into me and I tackled him."
The Hornets started the first overtime possession with the ball and kicker Martin Juarez hit a 40-yard field goal to give the Hornets the lead. Ennis said he knew that was all they needed for the victory.
"Everybody went wild when our kicker made the kick," said Ennis. "Magnolia had won the toss and chose to go on defense first, but the crowd knew that our defense had shut them down since halftime. They knew that, after we got the field goal, we were going to win it.
"We stopped them two times and then, on third down, Adam (Ayala) came in and got the quarterback and stripped the ball. James (Davidson) jumped on the ball and the game was over. We felt like we more than made up for the first half. We also didn't want to lose our homecoming game. We were definitely excited."
In addition to his blocked punt, Ennis finished the game with 11 tackles. Two of those went for losses.
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