Birdville’s last-minute touchdown gives Richland its first loss in dramatic fashion

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NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — The most memorable play of Friday’s showdown between Birdville and Richland is simply known as 22. It’s a number Birdville won’t soon forget, especially quarterback Noah Normand.

Normand ran in a 13-yard tie with 43 seconds left for the game-winning touchdown as Birdville toppled rival and previously undefeated Richland 34-30 in a 5-5A District Division I thriller at Birdville Fine Arts and Athletics Complex.

It capped off a big game for Normand, who got most of his production with his arm, throwing for 273 yards and three touchdowns.

“We call it Game 22. That’s it,” Normand said. “I don’t think they expected me to show up. Once I crossed the line of scrimmage, I knew I had it.

The winning run began when Birdville defensive lineman Anthony Martinez recovered a missed snap at the Richland 34-yard line with 3:13 left. The practice was extended when Mason Siegmund caught an 18-yard pass on a play of fourth-and-seven, setting up Normand’s touchdown on the next play.

Richland drove in the last minute, but when the Royals reached the Birdville 30-yard line with five seconds left, they were forced to settle for a short pass and the Birdville defense came to a halt at the 20-yard line when time expired, giving the Hawks a win over the Royals after losing their previous four meetings. Birdville’s last victory over Richland was a 46-32 decision in 2013.

“Getting the fourth game was really good. It really helped us. It was a very special game,” said Normand. “It’s wonderful. It’s the best thing ever.

Birdville (6-2, 5-1) moved into a tie with Richland (7-1, 5-1) – ranked No. 20 in the Dallas Morning News Class 5A Zone Poll – for second place in 5 -5A-I, one game behind Mansfield Timberview. Richland will face Timberview in Mansfield next Friday. Birdville lost a 54-28 decision to Timberview on Sept. 30.

Birdville rebounded from a 27-14 deficit. Normand threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Sekou Konaté to cut Richland’s lead to 30-28 with 5:47 remaining. Konaté finished with eight receptions for 115 yards.

Birdville had the lead for the majority of the first half, but Richland went ahead in spectacular fashion as Kadence Rhodes returned a 77-yard interception for a touchdown as time expired to give the Royals a 20-yard lead. -14. Richland tied the game at 14 all on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Morton to Grant Peretz.

Morton passed for 189 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and finished with 359 passing yards and three touchdowns. Birdville wide receiver Triston Johnson had 106 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, passing a defender and sprinting 40 yards for a 72-yard touchdown from Normand on the third play from scrimmage.

Richland receiver Dominique Johnson led all players with 10 receptions for 146 yards while Peretz finished with 126 yards and two touchdowns.

Bynum Martinez and Jayden Nafegar had one interception each for Birdville while Brycen Johnston had two tackles for a loss, including a sack and a forced fumble for the Hawks.

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