After consecutive second-half comeback playoff victories - including one on the final play of the game - Trinity fell to Pearland in the Class 5A Division I final, 28-24, when its last-minute, fourth-down pass to star Brandon Carter near the goal line was knocked away by Dustin Garrison.
Trinity, which began its season with an overwhelming 80-26 victory on national television, ended one game short. Its hopes for a second consecutive state title and a potential national championship were dashed in the process.
Trinity, No. 5 in this week's RivalsHigh Top 100, will lose a spot in the Top 10 and its perch atop the Texas rankings - a spot that very well may go to Pearland.
After flying under the radar for much of the season, Pearland (16-0) made an improbable run through the playoffs and knocked off two of the state's elite programs, Katy (Texas) High and Trinity, and have gone from unranked three weeks ago to a likely Top 15 finish.
Garrison, a senior better known for his work at running back (he had 121 yards and three TDs), said the team believed in itself all season.
"This whole year everyone doubted us," he told television reporters after the game. "They said we weren't going to do anything … but we're on top now."
Thanks to another thrilling game.
Trinity, which had trailed at halftime to both Coppell and Stony Point before rallying to win, appeared to get started on the right foot in this one when Tevin Williams raced 55 yards for a score on the school's opening possession.
Trinity had a chance to increase its lead but missed a field goal.
Then Garrison got going, scoring two of his touchdowns to help Pearland take a 14-10 halftime lead.
Pearland then used a trick play to increase its lead to 21-10 on its first possession of the second half.
Pearland lined up in its shotgun formation. The center got into his stance while the rest of the offensive line stood, hands on hips. The receivers all looked to the sideline as if to get a play signaled in.
That's when the Oilers snapped the ball and Trey Anderson hit a streaking Sam Ukwuachu for a 51-yard touchdown.
"In games like this, you leave nothing in your pocket," Pearland coach Tony Heath said of the play that his team had added to its playbook in the preseason but had rarely used. "We got it in tonight."
The lead was extended to 21-10 but it was far from over.
On its next drive, Trinity drove the length of the field and capitalized with a 4-yard run by Terrance Tusan to cut the lead to 21-17.
But Pearland, unlike so many before, refused to fold.
It converted a fourth-and-inches on the first play of the fourth quarter and Garrison went in again, capping a 15-play, 67-yard drive to make it 28-17.
Trinity wasn't about to go away quietly.
As he has done all season, Carter (who plays quarterback, running back and receiver) led the Trojans right down the field, punching in a touchdown and cut the lead to 28-24 in the fourth quarter.
Pearland had a chance to extend its lead late, but it missed a 22-yard field goal attempt with 1:57 to play.
Carter went to work again.
His second down run took the Trojans near midfield. A personal foul pushed Trinity closer. But two incomplete passes and a failed reverse left the team with just a fourth-down play from the 36 as the final seconds ticked down.
This time, the miracle ending wasn't there.
"They say to be the champ you have to beat the champ," Heath said. "Euless Trinity was great. We were one game better today."