In a thrilling district game on Friday night, the Bandera varsity football team overcame a 14-0 deficit to secure a remarkable victory against Devine. The Bulldogs' determination and belief in themselves proved to be the key to their success as they outscored Devine 24-7 in the second half, ultimately winning 31-21.
Sophomore Juan Cabrera scored the first touchdown for Bandera just seconds before halftime, cutting the deficit to seven points. The momentum carried into the second half as Bandera dominated, outscoring Devine 14-0 in the fourth quarter. This impressive victory moved the Bulldogs to a 7-1 season record and a 2-0 standing in District 14-4A Division II.
The Bandera team's recent success has been characterized by their ability to excel in the fourth quarter, outscoring their last three opponents 34-0 in that crucial period. Head coach Joel Fontenot-Amedee expressed his pride in the team's resilience and belief in their abilities.
The second half began with a spectacular 16-yard reception by senior wide receiver Corben Gonzales, setting up a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jesse Cardenas to sophomore wide receiver Jeffry Thomas. This tied the game at 14-14. Bandera's defense then forced a quick three-and-out, and a mishap in Devine's punt attempt gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to take the lead. They capitalized on it with a 24-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Maverick Short.
Although Devine briefly regained the lead, Bandera rallied in the fourth quarter. An outstanding catch by Gonzales set up a 5-yard touchdown run from Cardenas, making it 24-21 Bandera. The Bulldogs' defense sealed the victory with a crucial turnover on downs, and Cardenas extended their lead with a 38-yard touchdown run.
Cardenas was a standout performer, leading the offense with 167 passing yards and 128 rushing yards. Cabrera added 43 rushing yards, while Gonzales and Thomas contributed significantly in the receiving department. Defensively, the Bulldogs showcased a selfless and physical effort, with Dylan Gherman, Gavin Spruell, and others making impactful plays.
Bandera's recent dominance in the fourth quarter has put them in the driver's seat for the District 14-4A Division II championship. With two games left in the regular season, they have the opportunity to clinch their first district championship since 2008. Coach Fontenot-Amedee encouraged the team to "finish" and expressed confidence in their ability to do so.
JV Bulldogs dominate Devine
The Bandera JV football team got off to a fast start and never looked back on the way to a dominant 35-0 win over Devine Thursday night.
The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and marched down the field in eight plays, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run from freshman quarterback Dalton Parks. Freshman kicker Miguel Avalos, who went 5-for-5 on extra point attempts, then executed a perfect onside kick that was recovered by Parks, giving the Bulldogs the ball back and setting up a 49-yard touchdown pass from Parks to freshman Breydan Gherman.
The Bandera defense got back-to-back stops after a tackle on fourth and short from freshman Jaymin Klein and then a pass breakup from sophomore Beto Rodrigues. The Bulldogs got into the end zone again after a 14-play drive that was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run from Parks to make it 21-0 at halftime.
Jaymin Klein hauled in an interception on the first play of the second half to set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Parks to Gherman, and Klein then first a fumble on the first play of the next Devine possession that was recovered by Rodrigues.
Sophomore Riley Moran scored the final touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run to make it 35-0, and the Bulldogs’ defense took care of the rest, continuing to hold Devine in check through the remainder of the second half.
Offensively, Parks finished 11-of-14 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns while adding 12 carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Moran had eight carries for 26 yards and a score, Gherman had five carries for 22 yards and freshman Isaac Zamora had four carries for 11 yards. At wide receiver, Jaymin Klein had five catches for 56 yards, Jonah Klein had one catch for nine yards, Gherman had two catches for 64 yards and two scores, and Ruffin Scartocci had one catch for 37 yards.
The stout defensive effort included big-time performances from Jaymin Klein, Jonah Klein and Beto Rodrigues, among others. Bandera prevented Devine from advancing the ball inside the 20-yard line in the shutout victory.
The Bulldogs are now 7-0-1 on the season with just one game remaining after YMLA canceled this week’s JV game. Bandera will close out the JV season on Thursday Nov. 2 on the road against Carrizo Springs.