By Angel Verdejo and Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Lampasas completed its run to the program's first district title since 1989, literally holding off Taylor on Friday.
The final score was 58-50 in a game that saw just one punt, 1,057 yards of offense and came down to an onside kick. The Ducks pulled to within eight points with 21 seconds left to play on a Ronald Scott touchdown run and ensuing two-point conversion.
On the onside kick, Moises Tellez's kick slowly rolled forward with players from both teams piling on the ball. The officials originally pointed in the direction of Taylor, setting off a joyous cheer from both the home sidelines and Memorial Stadium stands.
But after the officials conferred, the call was reversed and Lampasas was given possession. The Badgers then lined up in the victory formation twice to win the game and win the 25-3A title.
"It was short," Lampasas coach Joey McQueen said of the kick not going 10 yards. "They touched it short, but I was kind of disappointed in our guys. They just kind of looked at it. If it would have kept rolling, we'd have been in trouble."
Salado offense erupts in finale at Llano
After struggling to back-to-back District 25-3A losses that effectively dropped them from postseason contention, the Salado Eagles just decided to let it all hang out in Friday's season-ending 65-21 win over Llano.
Opening up its already lethal attack, Salado put up 533 yards of total offense, including 334 through the air from the quarterback combination of junior Mike Richardson and sophomore Ryan Simmons.
Simmons was a scoring machine for the Eagles (5-5, 2-3 25-3A), rushing, catching and passing for scores. He also contributed seven extra points and threw for a two-point conversion following his 20-yard touchdown reception from Richardson. In all, Simmons accounted for 27 of Salado's points. But he wasn't alone, as six different Eagles scored touchdowns Friday, including senior receiver/tailback Peyton Best, who caught pair of touchdowns (19, 52) from Richardson and ran in another.
Florence ends season with another close loss
Florence ended another long season with another close loss, 28-21 to Hearne on Friday.
The Buffaloes lost six of their seven games despite holding the lead at some point - usually late in the second half - seeing leads to Thorndale, Little River-Academy and Cameron Yoe all slip away. They even lead Marlin 14-13 at the half, despite losing 35-14.
The problem might be youth and inexperience.
Florence's roster of 31 varsity players has 11 seniors on it, however only seven see extended playing time, including kicker Alex Juarez. If Florence is going to make strides next season, it will be due to the experience that five juniors and six sophomores who started gained this season.
Making matters harder Friday was that Florence was without junior quarterback Kaleb Hardy and instead had to start senior wide receiver Ben Futrell behind center. The move turned the Buffaloes into a running team, as Futrell carried the ball 30 times for 205 yards.
Gatesville's playoff streak ends at two seasons
The Hornets were eliminated two weeks ago before ending their season Friday with a 29-24 loss to Robinson.
Despite missing the postseason, many key offensive contributors will return next year after gaining some valuable experience this season.
Quarterback Cole Edmiston completed more than 50 percent of his passes in his first year under center, throwing for 1,123 yards. That includes a 192-yard performance against Robinson - his second-highest total this season.
Also returning is running back Jake Kee and wide receivers Tyler Jaynes, Colton Williams, Matt Wallace, J.D. Nolte and Danny Byrd.
By the Numbers
43 for 495 - Number of receptions and yards Ben Futrell had this season to lead District 12-2A DI despite seeing action at quarterback in three games for Florence and rushing the ball 74 times for 476 yards.
9 for 105 - Penalties and yards Salado compiled in a season-ending 65-21 win over Llano.
9.8 - Yards per rush the Badgers averaged in their 58-50 win over Taylor. Three different Lampasas rushers reached the 100-yard mark, while Marcus Kehoe and Brandon Scott combined for three touchdowns of at least 57 yards.
6 - Turnovers the Gatesville Hornets committed in their 29-24 loss to Robinson to end the season.
Lampasas (9-1) vs. Boerne (6-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dripping Springs - The Badgers' running game is in full swing, racking up 400 yards per game and 588 in the regular-season finale against Taylor. Lampasas last won a playoff game in 1998. Boerne made the playoffs for the first time since advancing to the second-round in a 9-3 season in 2005.
Staff writer Nick Talbot contributed to this report.