FRISCO — Each punch was answered with a counter punch both teams looked for the knockout touchdown.
It turned out to be a final defensive stop in the closing minutes that eventually made the difference.
Amare Jones tortured Denison for a second straight year and this time the Yellow Jackets couldn’t take solace by at least earning a victory.
The Frisco Heritage quarterback ran for 300 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and was 13-of-19 for 200 yards and three touchdowns as the Coyotes outlasted Denison, 65-57, at Memorial Stadium as the Yellow Jackets ended non-district play with their first loss of the season.
Cameron Rose scored the deciding touchdown from 12 yards out with 3:02 remaining — the sixth combined TD of the fourth quarter — for Frisco Heritage (1-3).
Austin Emery led Denison (3-1) with 25 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns and was 12-of-22 for 217 yards and two touchdowns while DeCurious Smith totaled 11 carries for 83 yards and two scores and Bubba Roberts finished with 99 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
After Rose had put the Coyotes back in front for the final time with Jones notching the conversion, Denison had a chance to force overtime. Starting from their 42-yard line, the Jackets didn’t move after a first-down run for no gain and three incomplete passes.
Denison finished with 598 yards while Heritage totaled 651 yards.
Kenny Gaffney scored on an eight-yard with 5:01 left and Emery connected with D.J. Gray at the goal line for the conversion to tie the game at 57. Heritage needed just five plays for the winning score.
Heritage held a 57-49 advantage after Glen Mbaku caught a 34-yard TD pass with 6:24 remaining.
That countered Denison tying the game at 49 a minute earlier when, on fourth down, Emery hit Dalton Souther for a 22-yard TD.
It was an answer to a four-play drive by the Coyotes that ended with Harris, who had 119 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, scoring from five yards out.
Denison had taken a 42-41 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter on Smith’s one-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
The third quarter was less eventful. Jones hit Harris for a 28-yard touchdown pass and ran in the conversion with 3:25 left in the frame and Eric Gallegos came up with an interception to give the ball back to the Coyotes.
Denison forced a punt to set up the tying TD drive.
Roberts scored from a yard out with 4:16 left in the third as Denison held a 35-33 advantage.
A wild second quarter — four straight drives ended with touchdowns — was capped by Jones finding Jared Baehr in the end zone for a seven-yard TD pass as the first half clock expired. But Denison blocked the extra point and held a 28-27 lead at the break.
Jones was able to set up the touchdown with a 40-yard pass from midfield to Mbaku with seven seconds on the clock.
Just moments earlier Denison had scored on back-to-back possessions. Emery found Braydon Roberts for 30 yards on fourth-and-five to the Coyote 15 and then Smith took an option down the right sideline and into the end zone with 38 seconds left in the half.
Jones, who had 137 yards rushing and 94 passing had the break, had tied the game at 21 with just over two minutes left in the half on a 56-yard run down the right sideline.
That was the answer to Denison jumping ahead, 21-14, on an Emery keeper to the right sideline for 15 yards.
The Jackets were able to claim the lead after Denison forced an incomplete pass on fourth-and-five at the Denison 37.
Bubba Roberts caught a wheel route out of the backfield for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 8:05 remaining in the second quarter and Roberts ran in the conversion to tie the score at 14.
The Coyotes opened the second quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run by Harris on third-and-goal for a 14-6 advantage. It turned out to be a 14-point swing because Denison had made it to the Heritage 16 when the Jackets were stopped for no gain on fourth-and-two.
Heritage scored on its first series with Jones doing much of the damage, including the capper — a four-yard scramble with 5:04 remaining in the first quarter.
The Jackets took the opening possession and went 60 yards in 14 plays across four minutes for a 6-0 lead. Denison converted a fourth-and-one early in the drive and on third-and-long in the red zone Emery found Gray for 14 yards at the one.
Emery, who totaled 74 yards on 16 carries and was 7-of-11 for 148 yards through two quarters, punched it in on the next play but he missed the extra point.