After a slow start in Friday night’s regular season finale in Carrizo Springs, Bandera got rolling in the second half and rolled to a 28-10 win over the Wildcats to finish at 8-2 and move into the Class 4A state playoffs as the No. 2 seed from District 14-4A Division II.
Bandera will play Lago Vista, the third seed from District 13-4A DII, in the first round of the playoffs at 7pm Thursday Night at Comal Pieper High School.
In Friday night’s game against Carrizo Springs, the Bulldogs rode the play of their defense to keep things tight until the offense got rolling. The Wildcats led 2-0 at the half after a safety, and didn’t put any offensive points on the board until late in the fourth quarter.
Bandera got on the board and took its first lead of the night on a 6-yard touchdown run from Jesse Cardenas with 4:22 remaining in the third quarter. A quick stop from the Bulldogs’ defense followed up by a 41-yard run from Cardenas set up the team’s second touchdown of the night, a 25-yard pass from Riley Haley to Scott Perry.
Perry’s reception made it 14-2 with 10:40 remaining in the fourth, and the Bandera defense continued to shine. A turnover on downs set up a 32-yard touchdown run from Cardenas that made it 21-2 with 7:46 remaining.
While the Wildcats were able to get their first offensive points of the night on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 5:33 left, Cardenas returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory and give the Bulldogs their 8th win of the season.
Cardenas did a little bit of everything in the win, totaling 29 carries for 194 yards and two touchdowns while also adding a key 20 yard reception from Haley. Cardenas had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, a sack, a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and a 48 yard kickoff return for a score.
Freshman Juan Cabrera added 15 carries for 62 yards to help the Bulldogs tally a total of 264 yards rushing in the win. Haley threw for 66 yards, with Isaac Segura (1-8), Scott Perry (1-25, TD), Cardenas (1-20) and Alex Dirck (1-13) each hauling in a reception apiece.
Defensively, Jorge Cabasos had a team-high 10 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. Carson Powers had 8 tackles, Tyler Bivens had four tackles, Kevin Rodriguez had five tackles, and Eric Straeter had five tackles. Zach Quesnot and Marco Reyes each came up with a fumble recovery for the Bulldogs as well.
The victory moved Bandera to 8-2 in the regular season for just the third time in the last 20 seasons and the second time in the last four years.
The Bulldogs will now shift their focus to Lago Vista, which sits at 7-3 after losses to Cameron Yoe, Navarro and Wimberley. The Vikings have defeated Little River Academy, Giddings, La Grange, Smithville, Austin Achieve and Manor New Tech.
The winner of Thursday night’s game will advance to the area round of the playoffs Nov. 17-19 to play the winner of Sinton vs. Rio Grande City Grulla.