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Bulldogs thrill fans in homecoming loss

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The Bandera varsity football team hosted Crystal City on Friday, Oct. 9, for h omecoming in what turned out to be one of the state’s most exciting games at any classification.

Three touchdowns scored in the final 1:45 provided for a roller coaster of emotions as the Bulldogs ultimately fell 22-19 in heartbreaking fashion.

The Javelinas utilized a 12-play, 80-yard drive to take a 14-13 lead over Bandera with 1:45 remaining. But the Bulldogs wasted little time by responding with a Top 10-worthy score to regain the lead.

Bandera quarterback Tyler Moore rolled out to his left and set his feet just inside the field of play before heaving a pass to Brandon Miller, who tipped the ball away from a Crystal City defender and pulled it in with one hand before racing into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown.

Bandera’s 2-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 19-14 in Bandera’s favor with just 1:09 left in the fourth quarter.

But Crystal City responded by working its way steadily down the field before connecting on a 34-yard touchdown pass with just six seconds remaining to steal the win.

The disappointing finish overshadowed what was a strong effort from the Bulldogs for a majority of the night.

Bandera opened with a methodical 11-play scoring drive that was capped off by a 28-yard touchdown reception by Will Paul from Moore.

Crystal City answered with a long scoring drive of its own, using 14 plays and two fourth down conversions to get into the end zone and make the score 7-6 with 11:07 to go in the 2nd quarter.

A safety in the third quarter gave the Javelinas a short-lived 8-7 lead, before the Bulldogs got a stop deep in Crystal City territory that forced a punt and gave the offense its best field position of the night at the Javelinas’ 24-yard line.

It took just four plays for Bandera to regain control as Luke Barnett, making his first varsity start, punched in a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 13-8 with less than a minute remaining in the third.

The win gave Crystal City a 1-0 record in District 15- 4A Division II play, while the Bulldogs dropped to 0-1 in district.

Offensive leaders for the Bulldogs included Barnett, who rushed for a team-high 50 yards on 11 carries. Moore had 11 carries for 49 yards and was 3-of-4 passing for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Miller had one catch for 70 yards and a TD, Paul had one catch for 28 yards and a TD, and Ethan Rutherford had one catch for 19 yards.

Defensive statistical leaders included Garrett Meier (8 tackles), Moore (8 tackles), Bryce McLerran (7 tackles), Kaleb Son (6 tackles), Matthew Staton (6 tackles), Liam DeMarchi (6 tackles), Miller (4 tackles) and Paul (4 tackles, 1 pass break up).

Bandera returns to action Friday, Oct. 16, travelling to Carrizo Springs to take on the Wildcats in another District 15-4A Division II showdown.

Carrizo Springs is 1-5 on the season and is coming off a 63-21 loss to Devine.

Brady Keane is Bandera High School’s assistant football coach and head boys basketball coach.