LAMPASAS — No game is decided on one play, but Lampasas’ evening was summed up by one mistake.
Trailing by three points with 1:44 remaining and no timeouts to burn, the Badgers defense needed a stop on fourth down to give itself an opportunity to go on a potential game-winning drive.
Instead of stopping Fredericksburg, however, Lampasas shot itself in the foot by jumping offside, giving the Billies a first down, which allowed them to run out the clock and earn a 22-19 victory.
While there was no guarantee the Badgers could have forced overtime or won the game, the team knew it blew a golden opportunity.
“Toward the end, we just lost more and more momentum,” Lampasas defensive end John Cole Vann said. “It kind of killed us. We self destructed really.”
The Badgers (1-3 overall) trailed by 10 points, 22-12, following a Fredericksburg touchdown with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter, but responded with 15-play, 63-yard drive that included three third-down conversions and a holding penalty against Fredericksburg on fourth-and-9, keeping the drive alive and setting up junior running back Cody Jandreau’s three-yard touchdown run.
Unfortunately for Lampasas, it never got the ball back as the Billies ran the final 6:21 off the clock, collecting three first downs in the process, including the back-breaker due to the Badgers’ penalty.
“Nothing against the defense, they do great all the time, but that is just being undisciplined,” Lampasas quarterback Kleg Kennedy said.
Badgers head coach Jimmy Randolph agreed.
“We had a chance to get the ball back, and we made a mistake, and we shoot our toe off,” the coach said. “But that wasn’t the difference in the ballgame. Really a lot of things (cost us).”
In particular, two Lampasas players were ejected from the game, as was a Fredericksburg player, and running back Robbie Hall — the Badgers’ second-leading rusher entering the game — suffered an ankle injury during the second quarter and did not return.
Kennedy did not use the losses an excuse, though.
“We’ve just got to get more alive,” the quarterback said. “It’s a really, really young team, and I’ve been telling everyone that we are just so young and inexperienced that it’s hard. We’ve got to get everyone out there and get the spirit going because there is no spirit right now.”
Despite allowing Fredericksburg to strike first, Lampasas took a lead into halftime.
After exchanging unproductive drives to open the game, Fredericksburg put together a 96-yard drive, ending with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Grona to Kim Ross Baethge with 18 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Lampasas went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but ended up with good field position after junior Hunter Wilkinson snagged an interception at the Billies 34-yard line. Five plays later, Steven Jazdyk found the end zone on a three-yard run, but the extra point was unsuccessful due to a high snap and the Badgers trailed 7-6 with 7:35 left in the half.
Lampasas would strike once again before halftime, scoring on a 29-yard pass from Kennedy to tight end Tyler Perkins with less than a minute on the clock. The Badgers attempted to tie the score with a two-point conversion, but Beau Webb’s run was stopped short and Lampasas held a 12-7 advantage at halftime.
Grona was injured on a sack with less than three minutes remaining in the half and needed help to the sideline. The sophomore was the Billies’ leading rusher and passer entering the game.
Backup Brayden Beard put together a solid performance in his absence, leading the Billies on a pair of scoring drives in the third quarter to build a 22-12 lead.
The Badgers were held well below their averages on offense, producing just 230 yards, including 180 rushing yards.