Tucker Carter threw for 238 yards and three second-half touchdowns to lead Allen's rally for a 21-14 victory over Fort Bend Hightower in the Class 5A Division I championship game Saturday night.
It was Allen's first state championship. The Eagles finished 15-1 while Hightower, also playing in its first state title game, finished 13-1.
Carter, Allen's No. 2 quarterback most of the season, completed 21 of 30 passes. Starter Matt Brown, who threw for more than 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns, went down with an injury in the second round of the playoffs.
"Tucker stepped in and did a great job for us," coach Tom Westerberg said. "The kids knew he was a great quarterback, too. They had faith in him."
The Eagles went on a nine-play, 71-yard drive with Jeremiah Williams catching a 3-yard touchdown from Carter to tie the score at 7-7 with 2:59 left in the third quarter.
With the score still tied early in the fourth quarter, Eagle linebacker Mitch Hartshorne intercepted a pass and returned it 26 yards to the Hightower 37.
On the first play after that, Carter put his team ahead for good by connecting with wide receiver Marcus Thomas, who was all alone down the left sideline.
On the next Allen possession, Carter connected with Justin Robinson for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 with 5:17 to play.
"At the half, we just made some adjustments in what we were doing," Carter said. "We just got back to basics. We knew we had the potential. We just had to settle down and play relaxed."
Hightower got a 77-yard return from Darius Johnson on the ensuing kickoff to set up the Hurricanes on the Allen 11.
A.J. Highsmith, the son of former Houston Oiler Alonzo Highsmith, found Bryce Edwards for the last 11 to make it 21-14 with 5:00 to play.
Hightower, which opened in 1998, took a 7-0 lead on a 42-yard end-around by Darius Johnson late in the first quarter.
The Hurricanes went to Johnson almost exclusively on third downs in the first half and he converted the first three with receptions of 39, 22 and 23 yards. At the half, Johnson had five catches for 96 yards but didn't catch another pass.
"They adjusted their defense and double-teamed me in the second half," Johnson said. "We never got anything going."
The Eagles, led by linebacker Jason Butler and defensive back Jeremy Reeves, knew they had to adjust at the half.
"We didn't play our best game the first half," Reeves said. "We were all a little nervous. At the half, coach just said everything we did was not going to go to waste. We were always confident we could come back."
Carter kept the Eagles in it by completing 10 of 14 passes for 104 yards the first half. But he was intercepted in the end zone to kill one drive.