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Freshman Bulldogs hold off Hawks in last minute thriller

By Brady Keane BCC Contributor

After dropping a close game to the Wimberley Texans two weeks ago, freshman quarterback Bryce Boyd said all the Bulldogs needed to improve on was coming out and playing hard from the opening kickoff. Last Thursday against Canyon Lake the Bulldogs backed up Boyd's statement by scoring on the opening drive of the game, and beat the Hawks in a close game by a score of 12-6.

"Scoring on the first drive of the game really gave us a lot of momentum," running back Trevor Leggett said. "We played hard from the opening kickoff, and pulled out a victory."

That first drive was led by Boyd in the passing game, as well as Dylan Bess, Connor Chesshir, and Trevor Leggett in the running attack. After a long methodical drive, Chesshir got the Bulldogs on the board with a 17 yard touchdown run to the outside of the Canyon Lake defense. The Bulldogs offense stayed hot throughout the first half, scoring again in the second quarter on a 20 yard touchdown pass from Boyd to Walker Hicks.

"The past few weeks, we have fallen behind early and struggled to fight back," Chesshir said. "It felt good to get on top in the beginning and finish it off with a win."

The Bulldogs defense was able to hold Canyon Lake scoreless in the first half behind the strong play of Leggett and Nick Aguirre. Aguirre had a key tackle on fourth down to stop a Hawks drive in the first quarter, while Leggett flew to the ball and was in on several plays for the Bulldogs. As Canyon Lake drove the ball down the field with time expiring in the second quarter, Aguirre intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the half and hold the Bulldogs 12 point lead.

"That turnover kept Canyon Lake off of the score board," Aguirre said. "It gave us a lot of confidence going into halftime, and really pumped the team up."

In the second half, the Bulldog offense struggled to find the rhythm it's had all season. Leggett's speed allowed him to break off several long runs, but Bandera was unable to turn any of them into touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Leggett and Aguirre continued to meet Canyon Lake runners in the backfield, and shut down any chance the Hawks had to score. Carson Wilke forced and recovered a fumble on the one yard line to prevent the Hawks from scoring late in the third quarter, and that play turned gave the Bulldogs defense even more momentum.

"In the second half, two of our drives started on the one yard line after the defense was able to force Canyon Lake turnovers," Boyd said. "Our play calling was limited, but we did a good job running out the clock and holding onto the ball."

Canyon Lake was finally able to drive down the field and score with 3:18 to go in the fourth quarter, but still trailed 12-6. After the Bulldogs' offense stalled out yet again in the second half, Canyon Lake had one final chance to steal a victory from Bandera. After driving all the way into the red zone, the Hawks tried a trick play on the final play of the game and Nathaniel Jannell saw it the whole way for the Bulldogs and made the stop behind the line of scrimmage to seal the victory.

"It felt good knowing we belonged on the same field with that team," Leggett said. "We played the best we could all game long and came out with a hard fought win."

With the win, the Bulldogs freshman squad improved to (1-1) in district play. The Bulldogs will continue their quest for a district championship tonight in Boerne, with the seventh grade games beginning at 4:30 and the freshman game set to start around 6:30.

"Playing such a close game with Wimberley last week made us realize that we are contenders for the district this season," Wilke said. "This key win against Canyon Lake gives us the momentum we need to carry us through the remainder of the season."