Well, it's three days until 'Football Christmas', and the Panthers are gearing up for the big state championship. J.D. is dealing with the fallout from his fight with his Dad last week, and Tyra having trouble finishing her college essay.
The Panthers are going to State so you know what that means: pep rallies! They are up against South Texas High School, who many have picked to be the best high school football team in Texas history. Their defense is well practiced in facing a spread offense and they're bigger than the Panthers and faster.
The Taylors have to deal with the fallout from last week's parking lot brawl between Mr. McCoy and J.D.. Tami and Eric are both required by law to report the abuse to social services, but Tami has a hard time making the phone call because she just spent the entire weekend with Katie trying to support her and be a good friend. But eventually they make the call.
The good people at Child Protective Services come to the McCoy's house and split J.D. and his parents up to ask them each questions. Mr. McCoy wants a lawyer present, but the social worker tells him that if he doesn't cooperate with them they can take J.D. away pending an investigation. J.D. tells the social workers that his dad has never hit him before and he's not afraid of his dad now.
J.D. confronts Coach after practice about calling CPS, and accuses him of doing it just because he hates his dad. But Coach explains that he had to call them because it's the law. J.D. storms out of Coach's office- now he plays football for him and that's the extent of their relationship. They're done, in J.D.'s eyes. Coach tries reaching out to Mr. McCoy, not to apologize but to see if the two of them can't help him through this together. Mr. McCoy doesn't want to have anything to do with Coach either.
After he finishes his pre-game media scrum, Coach Taylor tries to talk to J.D. about the upcoming game. He tells him that the team is depending on him, but that it is a freedom, not pressure. Coach asks J.D. to try and leave his personal problems off the field. In the hotel lobby, Tami bumps into Katie McCoy and asks how she's doing. Katie informs Tami that for the next year, CPS can drop by on the McCoys any time they want and they have to take parenting classes. Oh yeah and she's totally pissed at the Taylors. Tami tries to apologize but Katie won't accept it.
The night before the big state championship game, Coach and Tami can't sleep. So they head up to the rooftop where Coach tells Tami that he really has no idea what is going to happen at the game the next day. The good thing, Tami says, is that win or lose the sun will come up the next morning.
Lyla is still staying at Chateau Riggins, and is not having the time of her life. Apparently lining the toilet seat with coffee filters before she sits down is not her cup of tea (haha! A little hot beverage humor for you). She agrees to go out for milkshakes with Buddy and when he apologizes to her she says she will move back in with him. But Buddy also learns that Lyla now plans to go to San Antonio State with Tim, and they might get a place together. Buddy is not thrilled but there's not really a lot he can say since Lyla just agreed to move back in with him.
Billy has bought himself a garage. It's definitely a fixer-upper, but the Riggins boys have got a dream. Drinkin' beers and fixin' cars 24/7.
Matt is starting to think beyond football to art school in Chicago. Tami and Julie think that he has a legitimate shot at getting in, and even Shelby is pretty supportive. In fact the only person who is not supportive of Matty's dream is Gramma. Before the game, Gramma finds out from Julie that Matt really does love art and that he's really good at it. Gramma insists that she would never want to be the one to hold Matty back, but she can't stand the thought of losing him. Julie feels the same way.
Matty and Riggins go for a walk around Austin the night before the big game. They find a Frisbee on the ground (that Tim points out is probably covered in dog piss), and start throwing it around and talking about their futures. Tomorrow will being their last football game as Panthers.
Landry is helping Tyra with her college application essay, and it's proving to be pretty difficult. He hates her first draft, which ties every paragraph back in to Applebee's (which she uses as a metaphor). Basically, he thinks it reads like a 5 page needlepoint pillow. Harsh! Then Landry gets a chance to actually play in the state championship game, but Tyra wants to stay home to work on her essay. Landry drowns his sorrows at the pregame party at the Riggins house and manages to miss the bus the next morning. Tyra ends up having to drive him to Austin so he won't miss the game.
In the car on the way to the game, Tyra dictates to Landry an amazing essay about her crappy upbringing and how Jason Street getting paralyzed turned her life around. Later on, Tyra reads her essay out to Landry in the hotel room (and as a voice over to shots of the other people we know & love from the town of Dillon), and he tells her it's an unbelievable essay. And they kiss. Folks, I think Landry and Tyra are back together.
And now the moment you've all been waiting for...
"Can you play like champions?"
The day of the state championship finally arrives. The announcer informs us that this is a real David and Goliath type of situation, and the Texas State Titans are bigger and faster than any other high school team in the state of Texas. Well, we'll see.
The titans win the toss, and decide to receive the ball first and they score a touchdown on their opening drive. When the Panthers get the ball back, J.D. throws and interception that the Titans run back for another touchdown and they are down 14-0 before you can blink an eye. J.D.is falling apart on the field, yelling at Saracen to run his routes better and taking way too much time to find his receivers. Coach pulls him over to the sidelines and tells him to chill out, and it looks like the pep talk is going to work for a second when J.D. almost throws a TD pass to Riggins in the end zone...and then the Titans intercept that one and run it back for a touchdown. 21-0 for the Titans at the half.
In the locker room at half time, Coach makes the decision to pull J.D. and put Matt in at QB. The team heads back out on the field with clear eyes and full hearts, and J.D. stays behind in the locker room to pout by himself. On the opening play of the second half, the Panthers run the ball all the way for a touchdown off the punt return (thanks to an incredible block by Landry "Lance" Clarke!). Then Matt goes to work, throwing a TD pass to Riggs, and running one back himself.
With two minutes to play in the game the Panthers find themselves with the ball on the Titan's 30 yard line, only 6 points down. They run this crazy play where Matt throws a shovel pass to Riggins who then throws a pass back to Matty for the touchdown, and incredibly, the Panthers have the lead. They make it look so easy. Now it's all up to the defense to hold the Titans back. It comes down to a field goal in the final 6 seconds, and the Titans kicker makes it. The Panthers lose the State Championship game by two points despite Matt & Riggin's valiant attempts in the second half.
After the game, Coach invites everyone's friends and family into the locker room to hear his end of season speech. He tells the Panthers that he has never been prouder of a team, and that they played great football. "There's not a single person in this room that's ever gonna be the same", after this game. "You played like champions"- he tells them.
Riggins is the last one on the bus, because he takes a moment to walk out onto the field by himself and leave his cleats behind. He's played his last high school football game.
That's it for this week folks! Make sure you tune in next week for the third season finale!
I am deliriously happy over the show's renewal. *bliss*