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Billies rally in final minute to reject Bulldogs 33-20

By Tim McGrath BCC Sports Writer

The Fredericksburg Battlin' Billies rallied for 13 points in the final minute of play to break a 20-20 deadlock while escaping from a courageous and spirited Bandera Bulldog effort with a 33-20 victory in the District 14-4A-D1 football opener played on Friday, Oct. 9, in Bandera. The Billies improved their overall season record to 5-1 and their district mark to 1-0 while the Bulldogs fell to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in district play.
The resurgent Bulldogs gave the high-powered Billies and their heralded senior quarterback Kyle Reeh all they could handle and then some while putting on their finest overall performance of the season. The Bulldogs got off to an exciting early start when defensive tackle Josh Jauer came up with a Reeh interception on the Billies' second play from scrimmage to give the Bulldogs possession at the Billies' 39 yard line. Five plays later, the Bulldogs lit up the scoreboard when senior quarterback Utah Hicks connected with wide receiver Jeremiah Silone for a 33-yard touchdown strike to put the Bulldogs up 6-0. Abram Mata tacked on the PAT and Bandera took the lead.
The Billies countered to take an 8-7 lead with :28 remaining in the first. In the second period, the Billies extended their lead to 14-7 when Reeh connected with wide receiver Blake Moffett for a 27-yard touchdown. A rushing attempt for the 2-point conversion failed.
The Bulldog offense countered with an impressive 7-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off with a Hicks-to-Silone 25-yard touchdown pass at the 4:23 mark of the second period. Mata's PAT attempt failed and the Billies lead was cut to 14-13.
Key plays on the Bandera scoring drive included a Hicks-to-Tryston Butler 17-yard completion and a Hicks-to-Wyatt Blair 31-yard connection to keep the Bulldogs on the move. The score remained 14-13 in favor of the Billies at halftime.
Both teams stepped up the defensive pressure in the scoreless third period while setting the stage for the final 12 minutes of play.
In the fourth period, the teams exchanged possessions twice before the Billies extended their lead to 20-13 on a Reeh 5-yard scamper for a touchdown with 5:07 remaining in the game. The PAT attempt failed.
With their backs to the wall, the Bulldogs once again brought the home team crowd to their feet when senior tailback Walker Starnes took a middle screen pass from Hicks and raced 75 yards through the Billies' defense for a Bulldog touchdown with only 2:30 left on the scoreboard. Mata booted the PAT and the game was deadlocked at 20-20.
The game was decided in the final minute when the Reeh hooked up with Moffett for a 41-yard TD with :55 left on the game clock before finishing the Billies' last-minute rally with an 11-yard TD toss to Jonathan Cleland with :19 remaining to secure the Fredericksburg 33-20 victory.
The Billies' defense shut down the Bulldog running game, limiting Bandera to 48 total rushing yards in 36 attempts. Hicks picked up the Bulldog offense by completing 15 of 24 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns while rushing 19 times for another 38 yards.
Bandera receivers included Silone with three catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns, Starnes (1-75-TD), Tryston Butler (5-53), Wyatt Blair (3-53), Walker Hicks (1-14), Zach Markgraf (1-9) and Andrew Acton (1-4). In other first week district play, Liberty Hill defeated Canyon Lake 31-7 while the Taylor Ducks took down the Boerne Greyhounds 42-28. The Bulldogs host Canyon Lake this Friday, Oct. 16.