BELTON — There was no title on the line Friday night at Tiger Field. The Lake Belton Broncos and Katy Jordan Warriors fought like they were in a title fight, though, and the Broncos knocked out the Warriors with less than 2 minutes remaining to secure a 35-28 win in a battle of second-year schools.
“It feels great,” Lake Belton running back Micah Hudson said of the win and the Broncos’ 5-0 record. “But the job’s not done. We’ve got to keep fighting.”
Especially knowing a rematch in Katy with the Warriors, whom Lake Belton beat twice last year, is three weeks away.
The Warriors (1-4) almost did enough to pull off the win Friday.
With the Broncos up 28-14 in the third quarter, Jordan began a drive on its 23 and moved the ball past midfield before quarterback Colin Willetts connected with a wide-open Nathan Salz for a 45-yard touchdown to cut the gap to 28-21 on Jake Kilander’s extra point.
The Warriors’ Jose Gulizia successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick, and Willetts hit Salz for a 38-yard gain to get Jordan inside the Lake Belton 10. After a run by Ifaenyi Monye got the Warriors to the 1, Willetts scored on a quarterback sneak and Kilander tied it with the extra point with 8:22 to play.
Zion Jones then recovered a second onside kick, giving the Warriors the ball at the Broncos 43.
“We’ll have that fixed next week and we’ll be good to go,” Lake Belton coach Brian Cope said of the onside kicks.
The Broncos defense came to the rescue, and the Warriors were forced to go for it on fourth-and-7 at the 40. They gave the ball to Monye, who was held to just 2 yards as Lake Belton took over with 6:31 to play. Monye finished with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
After getting to the Jordan 37, Broncos quarterback Connor Crews lofted a pass toward Hudson, who leaped over his defender, turned and scored the game-winning touchdown with 4:47 to play.
“Honestly, I get that (leaping ability) from basketball,” Hudson said. “I’ve been dunking since I was in the eighth grade.”
The Warriors had one last chance to even the game again, starting their final drive of the night at their 30. An 18-yard run by Willetts and a 34-yard pass from Willetts to Connor Babin highlighted a series of six plays that got Jordan inside the Broncos 10.
But an incomplete pass and some short runs left the Warriors facing fourth-and-goal at the 2, where Monye took the snap out of the Wildcat formation and was immediately hit by the Broncos defense to seal it.
“The kids executed, and our coaches had our guys ready to go,” Cope said. “What a great win for the Broncos.”
While the rematch looms, Cope said he’s not thinking ahead.
“We are worried about Llano right now,” Cope said of next week’s opponent. “What a great opportunity for our kids. Llano was in the state semifinals last year. So that will be another big challenge.”
Hudson finished the night with 59 yards rushing on nine carries to go with five catches for 136 yards — including the game’s opening touchdown when he hauled in a pass between two defenders and broke free for a 67-yard score less than a minute into the game.
“If the ball is in the air, I go for it,” Hudson said. “It’s either mine, or it’s nobody’s.”
LAKE BELTON 35, KATY JORDAN 28
Jordan 7 7 0 14 — 28
Lake Belton 7 7 14 7 — 35
Jor — Ifeanyi Monye 11 run (Jake Kilander kick)
Jor — Monye 46 run (Kilander kick)
LB — Hudson 4 run (Jackson kick)
LB — Hudson 17 run (Jackson kick)
LB — Daud Kahn 45 pass from Crews (Jackson kick)
Jor — Nathan Salz 45 pass from Colin Willetts (Kilander kick)
Jor — Willetts 1 run (Kilander kick)
LB — Hudson 37 pass from Crews (Jackson kick)
First downs 16 17
Rushes-yards 45-259 43-176
Passing yards 190 181
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-16-0 7-11-0
Punts-average 4-27 3-31.7
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-34 5-29
RUSHING — Katy Jordan, Monye 23-138, Chad Casper 10-43, Willetts 6-16, Salz 4-20, Kanaan Ibarra 1-1, team 1-(minus 9). Lake Belton, Crews 15-78, Hudson 9-54, D’Arius Wilkerson 6-28, Javeon Wilcox 1-16, Daniel Hardin 5-10, team 2-(minus 10).
PASSING — Katy Jordan, Willetts 9-16-0-190. Lake Belton,: Crews 7-11-0-181.
RECEIVING — Katy Jordan, Salz 6-135, Connor Babin 1-34, Casper 1-22, Brycie Coffie 1-10. Lake Belton, Hudson 5-136, Kahn 1-45, Wilkerson 1-0.