HERMLEIGH â€” After making the six-man playoffs with a thrilling last-second win a week earlier, Blackwell got off to a promising start in its Division II bi-district meeting with Loraine on Friday.
The Hornets, however, couldnâ€™t finish what they started on this night after getting inside Loraineâ€™s 20 on their first two possessions. Blackwell did tie Loraine, 8-8, in the second quarter, but it was pretty much all downhill from there as Loraine won 49-22 to advance into the next round of the playoffs and end Blackwellâ€™s season.
Loraine (7-4) will face Balmorhea in the area round while Blackwell finishes its year with a 5-6 record.
Blackwell got the ball first and immediately moved into range on a 29-yard run by Jayden Jones, only to turn it over on downs at Loraineâ€™s 13.
The Hornets got another chance to take the lead after recovering a fumble at the Loraine 22, then gained eight more yards before being pushed back and giving it up again. This time, Loraine capitalized with an eight-play scoring drive to take an 8-0 lead.
Blackwell responded with an 18-yard scoring pass from Ethan Andrews to Ted Chambliss, and Wade Allenâ€™s PAT tied it at 8-8. But the rest of the half was all Loraine as it scored 26 straight points for a 34-8 lead, before scoring again to begin the third quarter.
Blackwell cut it to 41-16 on a 5-yard Jones run and Allen kick, but the Hornets couldnâ€™t overcome the damage from Loraineâ€™s surge â€” which included two touchdowns in a 19-second span shortly before halftime.
After Ricky Cantu scored his fourth touchdown of the game for Loraine with 6:01 to play, Blackwell got its final points on a 3-yard pass from Andrews to Matthew Meyer with :40 remaining.
Head coach Clint Lowry was glad to see Blackwell continue to battle in the second half after its adversity. â€śWe finished the game like we should have,â€ť he said of his team, which made the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season.
â€śThat shows we have a lot of heart and character. Iâ€™m proud of them after going into the half like we did. We made some mistakes and they capitalized on them, but these guys are fighters. They surprised a lot of folks. I think theyâ€™ve gained some respect. Iâ€™m just proud to be a part of it.â€ť
Blackwell, which had just one win â€” which came by a forfeit â€” last year prior to Lowryâ€™s arrival, appears to have a solid core for 2013 as only three seniors graduate.
Jones, a junior, rushed for 117 yards while Andrews, who is also a junior, threw for 114 yards and two TDs.
The leading defenders were Jones with 10 solo tackles, five assists and a fumble recovery; Mark Monroe with seven solo tackles and four assists; Mason Magness with six solo tackles and four assists; Chambliss with five solo tackles and six assists; Kaleb Edwards with four solo tackles and six assists; and Franck Cano with two solo tackles and six assists.