High School Football

Dumas-Wilson connection ignites Paetow to comeback win

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 9/26/20

It went from a moral victory to a statement victory in a matter of minutes.

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High School Football

Dumas-Wilson connection ignites Paetow to comeback win

Posted

It went from a moral victory to a statement victory in a matter of minutes.

Paetow’s come-from-behind 21-20 win over Barbers Hill on Saturday at Legacy Stadium produced an elation from the home team that is often more synonymous with playoff wins. That’s how much the victory meant, with the third-year varsity program upending a renowned area power led by legendary coach Tom Westerberg.

But it was more the manner the win came in that provided true joy for the young men in black and blue. That’s not surprising; coach B.J. Gotte’s team has always been about the process and journey more than the results.

With Paetow trailing 20-14, junior quarterback C.J. Dumas Jr. found junior receiver Kole Wilson from 12 yards out along the back-left corner of the end zone with 21 seconds left, followed by junior Anthony Fuentes’ extra-point make that sealed the win. It capped a thrilling rally from a 13-point deficit with 8:58 left in the third quarter.

Barbers Hill is ranked No. 4 in Class 5A in the Houston high school football media poll. Paetow is ranked No. 10.

“Grit. Toughness. They’re not going to back down,” Gotte said about what he learned about his team. “They’re going to play hard for four quarters. That’s what I wanted to see. I wanted to see our guys in a battle and play somebody who’s going to help us get better. We did that. The fight was good to see.”

Dumas said he was approached by Wilson in the huddle prior to the play. Wilson said he had a corner route open.

“With the safety playing over in the middle, I knew it was going to be wide open,” Dumas said. “I just made the throw, but it was really all about the O-line giving me the time.”

Gotte said the play is called “Blue Zero X Snag.” The Panthers ran it earlier in the game but never quite got the job done.

“It’d been open all game,” Wilson said. “The line gave great protection, he threw a great pass and I came down with the ball.”

Up until that point, the Panthers’ offense had been the Damon Bankston show. The senior speedster rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to go with 20 yards on three catches.

Bankston accounted for 69 percent of the Panthers’ total yardage.

“They overpursued a lot, so I tried to hit a lot on the backside,” Bankston said. “The holes just opened up. Sometimes they clogged up, but I just kept going and the O-line kept pushing.”

Bankston was workmanlike in being dominant. His touchdown was a 59-yard burst late in the first quarter and he had six runs of 10 or more yards.

“He’s a year in our system and he knows he’s the guy,” Gotte said. “Last year, we had a tandem. This year, he’s the guy. The other guys will complement him. He knows that and he wants that challenge.”

Bankston and a relentless Paetow defensive front allowed time for Dumas to eventually find his groove.

Though senior nose tackle Andrew Rutherford was unavailable because of back spasms, Paetow showed off considerable depth in its pass rush in defensive line stalwarts Agumba Otuonye and Jacob Johnson, and senior Luis Toscano filling in for Rutherford.

Emerging sophomore linebacker Alex Kilgore, who had three sacks, was also a significant factor in limiting the Eagles to 132 total yards.

As Bankston and the defense held steady, Dumas starred when it mattered most. He completed three of five passes on the final drive and converted a 4th-and-1 via 2-yard keeper in the final minute.

Overall, Dumas completed 12 of 20 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns to one interception.

“We just wanted to keep putting pressure on them,” Dumas said. “They were dropping like flies, getting really tired. So, we kept pressing and pressing and then beat them over the top.”

Hungry to sustain the momentum from last year’s 8-3 breakout season that put the Houston high school football world on notice, the Panthers still aren’t satisfied.

“We’re trying to win a district championship, plain and simple,” Dumas said. “It’s going to take wins like this to get us there.”

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