Running back Fisher Middleton, 10 runs for 25 yards Friday against Corpus Cristi Calallen in Floresville.

The Tivy football players lingered on Floresville’s Eschenburg Field for 30 minutes after their 53-35 loss to Calallen in the area round on Friday.

They embraced each other, their coaches, their parents and their friends. The seniors were grappling with the fresh realization that they had just played their final Tivy game.

It was easy to understand what the seniors were experiencing in that moment. Most of them had grown up playing football together. They had spent the last four years arriving at the Tivy field house every day at 7 a.m. for athletic period; they survived off-season workouts together, and won a lot of games together. All of those factors made it difficult to say goodbye to high school school football.

Only the passage of time will ease the pain of Friday’s loss. I imagine the Tivy seniors are still rather sad their high school careers are over. Fortunately, I’m here to help by highlighting the best parts of the season.

Here are the five top moments of the 2019 Tivy football season.

5. Kicking the Mules

Yes, Alamo Heights (3-7) was pretty bad this year. Still, the Mules have always been one of Tivy’s biggest rivals; games between the two schools are typically intense affairs. Former Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel never beat Heights during his Tivy career. Last year, the Antlers needed three overtimes to earn a 64-62 win over the Mules.

That’s why the Antlers’ 56-14 drubbing over Heights on Oct. 25 was so memorable. Senior quarterback Trapper Pannell threaded a 99-yard pass to Brooks McCoy on Tivy’s first offensive play, tying the record for longest play in school history and the defense forced four turnovers to secure the Antlers’ third-consecutive win over their nemesis.

Rarely has a Tivy win over Heights looked so easy.

4. 20-game conference win streak

Tivy’s 35-14 victory over Medina Valley on Nov. 9 wasn’t special per se. The Antlers committed multiple mistakes during the first three quarters, but dominated the fourth to stave off the Panthers’ upset bid.

They did, however, achieve several special milestones on that night. They finished undefeated in district play for the second straight season, and won their 20th consecutive district game — their longest winning streak in at least 20 years.

In other words, most of the seniors can graduate Tivy with the satisfaction that they never lost a district game while on varsity.

3. Rally in the ’Burg

Tivy’s 42-35 win over the Billies’ definitely featured the best atmosphere of the season. Fans packed the bleachers with 30 minutes until kickoff, and late-arriving fans circled the end zone — three rows deep in some places.

The game itself wasn’t that bad either. The Antlers trailed, 35-28, early in fourth quarter, searching for their first win of the season.

Fortunately for Tivy, senior Brooks McCoy gave the capacity crowd a dazzling performance, catching 8 passes for a then career-high 188 yards and three touchdowns. His 60-yard touchdown tied the game at 35-35. Then, Pannell strolled into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 1:12 left.

Tivy’s players celebrated the win by bathing coach David Jones in Gatorade, commemorating his 100th career win as coach.

2. 35 unanswered against East View

During the final 20 minutes of the bi-district game against East View, the Antlers played their best football of the season.

They trailed 27-21 midway through the third quarter, in jeopardy of losing in the first round for the first time since 2016. That’s when they began enforcing their will on the Patriots. Cole Miears plowed into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown; Fisher Middleton broke four tackles to rip off a 40-yard score; McCoy delivered a nasty block to help Miears find the end zone again and defensive tackle Hayden Barnett forced a fumble. All of a sudden, what was once a nail-bitter had transformed into a 56-33 rout.

1.Fourth-quarter Champion comeback

Excepting Calallen, of course, Boerne Champion was the best team Tivy faced this season. Naturally, the meeting on Sept. 20 turned into a slugfest. The Chargers led, 19-17, in the fourth. Miears, however, orchestrated another fourth-quarter comeback, connecting with Middleton on a wheel route with 8:12 left in the game. Defensive tackle Hayden Poe slammed Champion quarterback Luke Boyers to the turf for a 13-yard sack to help seal a 24-19 Tivy victory.

The Chargers (11-1) are enjoying their best season since 2010 and are in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2016. But once again, the Antlers denied them an opportunity to win the district title.

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