“That was a statement game and huge game for us,” said Kenedy head coach Lin Havron. “Under the circumstances, we did an awesome job of staying in the game and not getting down.”
The Lions drew first blood in the contest with the first quarter’s lone score. With 5:40 on the clock, Rolie Zepeda connected with Weston Hallmark on a 6-yard passing score. Hallmark’s kick put the lead at 7-0 after a quarter of play. Hallmark was a perfect 3-for-3 on Kenedy’s extra point attempts.
Three Rivers countered with the second quarter’s only touchdown as Wesley Guzman scored on a 2-yard run with 3:48 to go. The extra point attempt was no good, however, leaving the Lions with a 7-6 halftime lead.
Business picked up in the second half as the Bulldogs took the lead with 5:16 to go in the third quarter on a run by Hagan Johnston. Guzman ran in the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead. The Lions countered at the 3:18 mark as Cedric Mejia scored on a 4-yard run to tie it up at 14-14.
As time expired in the third quarter, Mejia scored once more on another 4-yard run to give the Lions a 21-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs tied it up with 4:46 to go in the fourth quarter as Guzman punched it in on a 1-yard run, though the conversion attempt failed, leaving the Kenedy lead at 21-20.
Three Rivers took the lead with 59 seconds left as Johnston connected with Albert Moreno on a 25-yard passing score, with Jesse Perez running in the conversion to put the score at 28-20. The Lions retook the lead for good with 16 seconds left as Zepeda found Jeremy Rodriguez on a 13-yard passing touchdown. Rather than kick the extra point and go to overtime, the Lions went for two and got it as Zepeda passed to Kris Bryan for the lead and the 29-28 victory.
Statistically, the Lions gained 305 yards of total offense, with 215 yards rushing over 31 carries and 90 yards passing over eight completions. The Bulldogs gained 364 yards of total offense, with 329 yards rushing over 52 carries and 35 yards passing over two completions. In terms of penalties, the Lions were flagged three times for 25 total yards and the Bulldogs were flagged seven times for 51 total yards.
“We had about three or four kids out in crucial positions,” said Havron. “It kind of limited our playbook. We had a good two-point play that we practiced and it paid off.”
This week, the Lions will host the Ganado Indians for their annual Parents’ Night game.
“That’d be a huge win if we can beat them,” said Havron. “This group of seniors has turned the reputation of Kenedy around from being the district doormat. They’ve played a big role in the turnaround.”
Kickoff in Kenedy is set for Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.