WACO — In his final high school game, Kaleb Hardy got a glimpse of what he can expect next year at Incarnate Word.
Standing on the Floyd Casey sidelines after rotating out, the former Florence quarterback watched in awe as future Cardinals teammate Broderick Reeves ran circles around the opposition.
“Woooo,” Hardy exclaimed. “It was exciting, I don’t know what he does for a workout, but whatever it is, it’s sick. That dude is going to be great for us and I can’t wait to play with him, again.”
Reeves, of Mexia, ran for 123 yards on just six carries, including a 71-yard go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter, as the Blue team racked up 480 yards of total offense and claimed its first-ever win, 35-21, Saturday in the fifth annual FCA Super Centex Victory Bowl at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium.
“It’s just a blessing to come out here, all the glory goes to God for this win today, … we worked as a team and we worked hard for this win,” said former Killeen offensive lineman Elika Sailiata, who played for the Blue team. The Red team, which had won each of the previous four Victory Bowls, trailed 21-13 at halftime and had no answer for the Blue’s potent running game, which totaled 283 yards on 32 carries.
Working the first and third quarters, Hardy led the Blue team on a pair of touchdown drives, including connecting with a wide-open Zane Trotter of Walnut Springs for a 2-yard touchdown pass. The 12-play, 51-yard drive gave Blue its first lead, 7-3, with 3:05 left in the first quarter.
“You can’t really miss a receiver that open, so he did a great job getting open and he got that touchdown — it was all him,” said Hardy, who capped his prep career finishing 5 of 7 for 13 yards passing while rushing for 26 yards on seven attempts.
The Red team, which was coached by Gatesville head coach Kyle Cooper as well as Harker Heights head coach Mike Mullins, featured 12 area players, including former Hornets Cole Edmiston, Tyler Jaynes and Sebastian Corrales all playing their final game under Cooper.
“It was fun, Tyler just told me the last pass I threw (in high school) was to him, … so that was pretty cool,” said Edmiston, who combined on 141 yards of total offense, including 97 yards on 7-of-14 passing and a late 8-yard touchdown to Jaynes.
Ellison tailback Isiah Cowan, who had 15 yards on four carries, punched in the extra point to pull Red within 35-21 with 3:02 left in the game. Cowan also had a 5-yard touchdown run one play after Edmiston, who has a preferred walk-on opportunity at Baylor, hit Bremond’s Corey Bienski for a 22-yard completion on fourth-and-12 to put Red ahead 10-7 around the 9-minute mark of the second quarter.
Edmiston, who played the second and fourth quarters opposite Belton quarterback Peter Shelburne,connected on his first five passes but went empty on his next six as Blue outscored Red 21-0 over an 18½ minute stretch between the second and fourth quarters.
Several of Edmiston’s incompletions were passes directed at Jaynes, but the Gatesville duo could only connect twice for 55 yards.
“That safety was real good, he was able to get over the top of my stuff,” Jaynes said. “It wasn’t like that in 3A, in 3A the safeties aren’t quite as fast as the (players) out here.”
Red scored first after Belton’s Kyle Battle opened its first possession with a 34-yard punt return as Corrales nailed a 42-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Corrales also had a 28-yard field goal with 3:02 remaining in the second quarter to pull within 14-13, but missed on tries of 44 and 37 yards in his only other two attempts.
Battle, who will play at Navy, had 115 return yards on four attempts and racked up six tackles on defense, but was disappointed he couldn’t do more in his final high school game.
“I had two picks but I let them get by me over my head,” Battle said. “It’s kind of a big disappointment to let it up and be the first Red team to lose, but I guess it had to happen. But it was a good experience, especially for those going to college to realize that everybody around you will have the same talent or better.”