In a thrilling home opener at Bulldog Stadium, the Bandera Bulldogs secured a 28-14 victory over Cotulla, maintaining their undefeated start to the 2023 season with a 2-0 record. The game saw Corben Gonzales making two contested touchdown passes, while Jesse Cardenas shone with 213 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Bandera's defense held Cotulla to just 179 yards of total offense.
The Bulldogs faced early adversity as Cotulla returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, marking the first time this season that Bandera trailed. The Cowboys maintained their 7-0 lead into the second quarter.
Bandera managed to tie the game at 14-14 with 6:23 remaining in the second quarter after a well-executed seven-play drive capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Cardenas to Gonzales. Dylan Gherman's forced fumble and a recovery by sophomore Ibraham MacNeil gave Bandera a chance, but the Cowboys quickly regained the lead with a short 4-yard TD run.
The Bulldogs found success with their two-minute offense, with Cardenas connecting with sophomore Jeffry Thomas on a 35-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the second quarter, leveling the score at 14-14 heading into halftime.
The momentum from the second-quarter touchdown carried into the second half, as Bandera's defense held the Cowboys scoreless. They added two fourth-quarter touchdowns to seal the victory, with Cardenas making a 36-yard touchdown run and a 13-yard touchdown pass to Gonzales in the right corner of the end zone.
Cardenas led the Bulldogs' offense with 213 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, in addition to completing 5-of-11 passes for 70 yards and three touchdowns. Juan Cabrera contributed 57 yards rushing. Gonzales and Thomas led the receiving corps.
Defensively, Daniel Freeman led the team with 10 tackles, Carson Powers had eight tackles, and Dylan Gherman contributed eight tackles and a forced fumble.
Looking ahead, the Bulldogs will face San Antonio Kennedy in their quest to maintain their undefeated start to the season. The Rockets hold a 1-1 record for the season, and the game is scheduled for Friday at 7 pm, with homecoming festivities before and during the game.
Coach Joel Fontenot-Amedee expressed gratitude to the community for their support, emphasizing the importance of continuing to improve each week.
Bandera JV Football Ties in Cotulla
The Bandera JV football team walked away with a 21-21 tie against Cotulla after a highly contested game that was back-and-forth from the start.
The Bulldogs put themselves in an early hole as the Cowboys scored on their first offensive play from scrimmage to take a 7-0 lead. Bandera responded well, driving 10 plays and getting into the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run from Breydan Gherman. The Bulldogs took the lead after forcing a quick three-and-out and scoring on a 12-yard pass from Dalton Parks to Riley Moran.
The Cowboys closed the gap in the second half and made it 14-13 after putting together a long scoring drive, but Bandera regained control at 21-13 after a 14-yard touchdown pass from Parks to Ruffin Scartocci with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Cotulla went into its back of tricks down the stretch, though, tying the game with under a minute to go.
The JV Bulldogs moved to 1-0-1 on the season with the tie and will look to get back in the win column with a road game at San Antonio Kennedy on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 pm at Edgewood ISD Veterans Stadium.