Gatesville was poised to celebrate the conclusion of its season in style, but Liberty Hill made sure it did not happen.
After scoring 14 unanswered points to start the game and taking a 21-7 advantage into halftime, the Hornets were shut out in the second half as the Panthers completed an unblemished run through District 8-5A with a 24-21 victory in the regular season finale.
The Hornets (3-7, 1-4) recorded a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter as running back Jake Kee scored on a 1-yard run and Tyler Strange caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Speer.
Liberty Hill (9-1, 5-0) responded with its first touchdown late in the second quarter, but Kee and Speer connected on a 16-yard pass with 27 seconds remaining to give Gatesville a 21-7 lead at halftime.
It proved to be the final touchdown of the season for the Hornets.
Led by senior Kee, who finished with 24 carries for 124 yards, and quarterback Speer, who rushed for 56 yards and passed for 161, the Hornets finished with 376 total yards and 20 first downs to win the offensive battle. Liberty Hill ended with 294 yards and 13 first downs.
Kee concluded his final high school season by topping the district’s rushing ranks, finishing as one of only two players with 1,000 yards. The former district offensive player of the year had 173 carries for 1,071 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Little things prevent Badgers from forcing tiebreaker
In a game that the Lampasas Badgers needed in a big way, the little things cost them a chance to enter a District 8-3A playoff tiebreaker.
Moving the sticks, not taking advantage of turnovers and a special teams miscues were a big reason why Burnet (7-3, 3-2) outlasted Lampasas (3-7, 1-4) 42-28 on Friday at Badger Stadium.
“They changed up their D, they had outstanding linebackers and we couldn’t block them,” Lampasas running back Steven Jazdyk said. “(We made) Too many mistakes.”
The Badgers ground game couldn’t extend drive, converting only 1 of 7 (14 percent) third-down opportunities. Lampasas was 0 for 4 on third downs in the second half. Conversely, Burnet converted five of six times (83 percent) when it faced third down.
“I don’t know what happened,” Lampasas quarterback Logan Irvin said. “That one stop hurt us and I don’t know what happened from there.”
Lampasas also didn’t turn two Burnet turnovers into points.
With the game tied at 7-7, Luke Moncus picked off Burnet quarterback Derek Kiser at the Lampasas 32-yard line. The Badgers went three-and-out and punted after the turnover.
Lampasas had a 20-14 lead in the third quarter and with Burnet driving to the Lampasas 11, Luke Argo intercepted Kiser’s pass in the end zone and brought it out to the 1-yard line.
The Badgers advanced to the Lampasas 24, but would be forced to punt.
Burnet was able to score a touchdown one play after a muffed kickoff return by Lampasas that made the score 35-20 Burnet with 9:53 remaining.
“That kind of opened the floodgates,” Emerson said. “It was a back and forth game, then they got two scores up on us. Once that happened, it kind of changed the completion of the game.”
— Albert Alvarado
Tough season ends for Florence
Despite having a tough 2013 season, Jo Jo Ramirez, Parker McNeil, Wyatt Odom and Lendell Freeman did find themselves on the statistical leaderboard in District 13-2A, Div I for the Florence Buffaloes (1-9, 0-7) in 2013.
Florence senior Wyatt Odem was the No. 5 punter in the district with an average punt of more than 30 yards. He finished with 24 punts for 731 yards.
Freeman averaged more than 20 yards per kickoff return. The junior returned 23 kicks for 472 yards.
McNeil, a freshman quarterback, was eighth in passing with 286 yards.
Ramirez finished 15th in rushing after carrying 95 times for 385 yards and three touchdowns.
Florence senior Dilan Juarez’s interception was also good enough to crack the district’s top 10.
— Albert Alvarado
May claims district crown over Lometa
The district championship race came down to one game, and Lometa was unable to capitalize.
One year after the programs finished at the bottom of the district, the Hornets hosted No. 8 May in a winner-take-all game. Looking to earn its first district title since 2011, Lometa fell behind early and never recovered.
The Tigers held a 30-14 lead at halftime before winning 52-34 behind a strong rushing offense. May (10-0, 3-0 9-6M, Div. I) produced 299 of its 389 total yards on the ground.
While the loss ended the Hornets’ hopes of winning a district championship, they remain in the hunt for a state title.
Lometa (7-3, 2-1) opens its playoff run against Gordon on Friday at Dublin High School.
The Longhorns are riding a five-game winning streak after losing four of its first five games. During its run, Gordon has allowed an opponent to score 10 points only once, winning by an average score of 67-8.
Despite falling in the regular season finale, the Hornets were elevated in the state rankings, climbing three spots to No. 22.
— Clay Whittington
Salado can’t take advantage of turnovers in loss to McGregor
The Salado Eagles turned the ball over five times in their 32-17, season-ending loss to McGregor. But it was the two of McGregor’s three turnovers the Eagles did not take advantage that might have proved their undoing.
McGregor’s first two drives ended on interceptions, though the Eagles could only capitalize with points on the second when senior running back Ryan Simmons gave Salado an early 7-0 lead following a 7-yard touchdown run.
Then, trailing just 25-17 four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Eagles failed to convert a fourth-and-5 at the McGregor 27 following a Bulldogs fumble. McGregor scored the game-sealing win five minutes later, taking its final-margin lead on a 12-yard touchdown throw with 1:35 left.
McGregor scored just 12 points on the Eagles’ five turnovers.
— Kevin Posival
- No. 22 Lometa (7-3) vs. Gordon (6-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dublin: The Hornets will have their hands full against a team that is playing far better than its record indicates. The Longhorns also have plenty of playoff experience after reaching the state semifinals last season.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 366 — Points allowed by Lometa this season, 96 more than playoff opponent Gordon.
- 14 —Percentage of third-down conversions for Lampasas against Burnet.
- 0 — Points Lampasas scored off two Burnet turnovers.
- 95 — Penalty yards against Gatesville, which drew 10 flags Friday in a loss to Liberty Hill.
- 5 — Turnovers committed by Salado in the Eagles’ loss to McGregor.
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com