Bandera football fans have waited 25 years for a season start like they are getting so far in the 2019 season.
With the Bulldog’s 35-12 rout of Comfort on Friday, Sept. 20, Bandera went to 4-0 to begin the year, its best start since 1994, officials said.
And it came during Homecoming 2019, which featured the crowning of the Bulldog Queen – Alena Swan – and King – Bulldog senior lineman Emmett Evans – at halftime, along with an energetic performance by the Bandera High School Band.
Bandera hoped to make things very uncomfortable for Comfort, which beat the Bulldogs last year.
And it didn’t take long, as Bandera scored just four minutes into the game when quarterback Solomon Mac-Neil hit running back Tommy Cardenas on a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Kicker Blaise Salazar added the first of his five points after touchdowns on the night to make the score 7-0. Roughly five minutes later, MacNeil connected with tight end Mason Phair on a 26-yard TD pass. The kick made it 14-0.
No one scored in the second quarter, but Bandera struck paydirt again at the 4:08 mark of the third period with a razzle-dazzle play.
MacNeil handed the ball off to running back Gunnar Brown, who then threw a deep pass to a wide-open Phair for a 33-yard score.
With the successful PAT, Bandera had a 21-0 lead and momentum going in to the last quarter.
But at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bobcats scored twice in three minutes for a 21-12 game and what Comfort hoped was a rattled Bandera team.
The Bulldogs came right back, however, with two more scores: a MacNeil to Phair 10-yard TD pass with 3:07 left in the game and a MacNeil 75-yard TD run with 25 second left on the clock.
The Bandera offensive had 215 yards rushing and 355 yards of total offense.
The Bulldog defense held the Bobcats to only 63 yards rushing. The defense also had four sacks of the quarterback, five quarterback pressures and two, huge pass deflections on deep passes. Brown and Garrett Meier were the Bulldogs’ Defensive Players of the Week.
The win followed a 40-12 victory over the St. Anthony Yellowjackets at the University of the Incarnate Word stadium in San Antonio on Sept. 13.
In that game, Cardenas’ 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter gave Bandera the lead 10-6 at halftime, and the Bulldogs outscored the Yellowjackets 30-6 in the second half for the victory.
The Bulldogs will try to make it 5-0 when they travel to Crystal City for a Friday, Sept. 27, game at 7:30 p.m.