At this stage of the playoffs, not everything is going to happen as planned.
Mistakes will be made against good teams. Plays that worked smoothly in district or even earlier in the postseason are going to be stuffed.
You can't get too high or low emotionally, and a short-term memory is a must. One of the differences between the teams still playing and those that aren't is how the tough times are handled.
Nocona quarterback/cornerback Hayden Hill earned a Ph.D Friday night in shaking off the negative and staying mentally tough.
I've never seen anything like what Hill did against a gamy Gunter side. He was involved in every critical play down the stretch.
"I've played football for a long time and I've never been a part of something that intense and crazy," Hill said afterward.
In the first half, Hill threw a 37-yard touchdown to Tate Fenoglio and was defending on Gunter's 31-yard touchdown pass. But that paled in comparison to what happened after intermission.
■ Halfway through the third quarter, Hill was intercepted. But then he ended the Tigers' threatening drive with a diving pick in the end zone.
■ The very next play, the ball was snapped over Hill's head, and Gunter pounced on the ball in the end zone as Hill failed to knocked it out for a safety. But Hill ended the Tigers' next drive with a tackle for a loss on fourth down.
■ The very next play, Hill couldn't quite handle the snap, and the Indians fumbled. Two plays later, Hill came up with his second interception of the night.
■ On the ensuing drive, Hill rattled off a 56-yard run that was pretty much Nocona's only offense in the second half. But his fourth-down pass to an open Fenoglio in the end zone was a little high.
"Really, in those situations, you can't think about the screw-ups," Hill said. "You just have to focus on the future, forget about it and keep moving on. It's tough because those were all big plays, good and bad."
In the end, the good outweighed the bad for Hill and the Indians, who face a dangerous Corsicana Mildred group Friday in the 2A Division II state quarterfinals.
Nocona wasn't the only team which dealt with and overcame adversity. Despite winning by almost 30 points, Rider allowed a staggering 520 yards rushing to El Paso Burges.
And Graham committed five turnovers against Midland Greenwood, but the Steers kept plugging away and took the lead for good in the second half.
Trips to the state semifinals will be on the line for four area teams this weekend. How those teams adapt to the bad will have a bearing if they survive.
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It's always tough when a first loss ends a season, especially in a game that was certainly winnable if one or two plays ended differently.
When you have a group full of seniors who have realistic title hopes, not even advancing to the championship game has to be incredibly hard to stomach.
That's what Notre Dame is going through after a painful 54-52 loss to Fredericksburg Heritage in which the Knights let an 18-point halftime lead slip away.
But what Notre Dame accomplished over the past two seasons shouldn't be dampened by Saturday's loss. Twenty wins and back-to-back state semifinal trips are accomplishments anybody should be proud of.