HERMLEIGH — 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, couldn’t finish what they started on this night after getting inside Loraine’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 Blackwell’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 Loraine’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 Allen’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 couldn’t overcome the damage from Loraine’s surge — 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. “We finished the game like we should have,” he said of his team, which made the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season.
“That shows we have a lot of heart and character. I’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 they’ve gained some respect. I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
Blackwell, which had just one win — which came by a forfeit — last year prior to Lowry’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.