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By Elizabeth Tanner/The Post Dispatch—
Making their second straight Class 2A, Division 1 State Championship appearance, the Antelopes couldn’t overcome the No. 1 Shiner Comanches, falling 42-20 after losing senior quarterback Slayden Pittman to injury only six minutes into the game in Arlington on Thursday afternoon.
“Losing Slayden so early in the game was definitely a challenge to our football team,” Head Coach and Athletic Director Michael Pittman said. “He had so many different roles on our team that it was tough to overcome offense, defense and special teams. We had to move several kids around and they had to play some positions that they never had to play in a game. We were limited on what plays and schemes we could run when he went down.”
With the Antelopes subbing in junior backup quarterback Carter Rankin, the Antelopes were able to hang on for the fight with Rankin and Nathan McDaniel connecting for a 26-yard play followed by a touchdown by Avery Clarkson for a 14-6 first quarter score.
“I’m proud of the way our kids and coaches responded and kept playing and coaching hard,” Pittman said. “Our kids showed their toughness being put in that difficult situation and handling it so well. They handled the situation better than I could have ever expected and I don’t think they could have done any better given the circumstances.”
Answering the call yet again, Post completed two more touchdowns, one by McDaniel for 78-yards, to complete the 21-20 halftime score.
“It would have been easy to use something like losing Slayden as an excuse,” Pittman said, “but they kept battling to win the game and had a great shot to do so. I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”
Following a blocked and recovered punt touchdown by Shiner, the Antelopes were unable to find the endzone in the second half, ultimately falling 42-20.
“These kids are awesome,” Pittman said. “They are some of the most hardworking, goal-oriented kids that I have ever seen. They put lots of blood, sweat and tears into being the best representation of themselves, their families, our school and Post in general.”
Finishing their season 15-1, Post is No. 2 in the state for the second season in a row.
“The thing I am most proud of is the fact that they were a tight-knit team first who really loved each other and put the team first,” Pittman said. “They never cared who scored the touchdowns or who got the credit. It was always about the team first.”