SAN ANTONIO – Industrial senior Karston Wimberly watched hopelessly as the clock reached zero with his team on the losing end of Friday’s Class 3A, Division I regional game against Columbus.

It was a feeling he and the Cobras weren’t used to, having won 10 consecutive games and suffering only one loss all season.

Both teams exchanged points and forced four lead changes, but it was the Cardinals who came away victorious with a 34-28 win.

Columbus (11-2) snapped Industrial’s winning streak and advanced to the quarterfinals to play the winner of Hallettsville-George West.

“I’m proud of this team,” Wimberly said. “We fought back after being down most of the game. We kept coming back, and I’m just so proud.”

Wimberly passed for 80 yards and carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards in his final game at Industrial.

“Nobody thought we could make it this far, but we proved them all wrong,” Wimberly said.

The Cobras (11-2) were making their first regional appearance since 2010.

The program turned things around by winning the District 14-3A, Division I championship after finishing fourth a season ago.

“They fought until the very end, and that’s all we can ask for as a coaching staff,” said Industrial coach Jamie Dixon. “On the way up here, I texted three seniors from last year and let them know they laid down the foundation. There’s good things to come at Industrial, and I’m proud of this group. They fought until the end.”

The Cardinals carried a winning streak of their own, having won seven straight games before Friday’s game against the Cobras.

Their success from last week’s area around win over Universal City Randolph carried over quickly after quarterback Brock Schobel found Ryan Barnes for a 55-yard touchdown pass to give Columbus an early 7-0 lead.

Wimberly, fullback Blayne Moreland, Matthew Davis and Kael Estes helped drive the Cobras down field to set up Wimberly’s 3-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.

But Columbus running back Tyre Simcik, who rushed for 182 yards, scored his first of three touchdowns to give the Cardinals a 14-7 lead.

Offensive lineman Blake Rogers and Davis drove the Cobras down to the 2-yard line with 2 seconds left, but a knee injury to Rogers forced a 10-second runoff to end the half.

Even with his knee banged up, Rogers wasn’t going to leave his team behind.

He returned in the third quarter and finished the rest of the game.

“It’s hard to explain,” Rogers said. “It was a roll-up that turned into a minor knee injury, but I pulled through.”

In the second half, Davis broke away for a 53-yard touchdown run to give Industrial its first lead at 15-14.

Simcik’s second touchdown, and a 3-yard touchdown run by Moreland tied the game at 21 to start the fourth quarter.

But Kaycon Wilson caught a 3-yard pass from Schobel, and Simcik scored his final touchdown run to seal the game with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Devin Barr added a 27-yard touchdown pass from Wimberly for the Cobras’ final points of the game.

“I’m proud of the direction this program is going,” Dixon said. “I told the boys there’s nobody more proud of them than our coaching staff. These kids fought their butt off. We’re going to lose a good group of seniors, but we have a great group of young kids coming back.”

Industrial will part ways with 13 seniors, including Moreland and Wimberly, who led the team in rushing yards all season.

“We had a great season,” said Moreland, who rushed for a team-high 142 yards. “We did some things that haven’t been done in a long time. I’m proud of everybody on the team for putting in the work, and hopefully they can come back and do it again next year.”

“I love them,” an emotional Dixon added. “I love the effort they gave all year. They’re a great group of kids.”

Rogers, who will be a senior next season, hopes the Cobras can go one step further by carrying over this season’s success.

“We have to take our pride in each other and take it into next year,” he said. “We have to come into next year as hard as we can.”

Rey Castillo is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached at rcastillo@vicad.com, 361-574-1240 or on Twitter @reycastillo361.

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