Weather­ford grabs play­off spot with a win and some help

Star-Telegram - - Scoreboard - BY BRIAN GOSSET bgos­set@star-tele­gram.com

Fans from five dif­fer­ent schools were watch­ing Fri­day night’s reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale be­tween Weather­ford and LD Bell. The Kan­ga­roos en­tered the game with a chance to make the play­offs while Bell was go­ing for its first dis­trict win.

Rich­land and Abi­lene were other Dis­trict 3-6A teams keep­ing an eye on the score. Ar­ling­ton was the first-round op­po­nent.

Be­hind two sec­ond-half touch­downs, the Kan­ga­roos de­feated LD Bell, 28-15, from Pen­ning­ton Field to clinch their first play­off berth since 2007. They’ll play 4-6A champ Ar­ling­ton in the Divi­sion II bi-dis­trict round at 7:30 p.m. on Fri­day at Mav­er­ick Sta­dium.

“When the clock hit zero, I fi­nally could take a deep breath,” Weather­scor­ing ford coach Billy Mathis said. “I’m so proud of the way they earned this win tonight and earned a right to play an­other week.”

Lead­ing 14-9 at the break, Ken Seals, the top pro-style 2020 quar­ter­back in Texas, hit Jake Spooner for a 25-yard touch­down with 9:59 in the third quar­ter.

At the same time, Eu­less Trin­ity had a 34-3 lead against Rich­land at half­time. Abi­lene, which had a bye, needed both Weather­ford (4-6, 2-4) and Rich­land to lose in or­der to clinch the fi­nal play­off spot.

“We kept hear­ing it over the loud speaker and that made it even sweeter,” said Seals about Rich­land, which ended up los­ing 48-3.

“I was ner­vous. I knew Trin­ity was fa­vored to win, but you never know,” Mathis added.

Seals con­nected with Pey­ton Hud­son for passes of 26 and 40 yards be­fore from the 1 to push the Kan­ga­roos in front 28-9 just five min­utes later.

“It’s a great feel­ing,” Seals said. “That at­ti­tude at half­time was elec­tric. We picked up our game in the sec­ond and marched down and scored. They said it’s been over a decade and I’m just happy we were the ones that were able to do it.”

The Blue Raiders (1-9, 0-6) got within 28-15 when Landry Choate hooked up with Zion Hardy for a 18-yard touch­down on third-and-10 with 1:32 left in the third.

Bell fin­ished with 368 yards of to­tal of­fense, but fum­bled late in the game while Car­los Amaro was there for the re­cov­ery.

“I have been a Weather­ford Kan­ga­roo my en­tire life,” se­nior de­fen­sive end Thayne Gar­nett said. “I’m so stoked and grate­ful to have this op­por­tu­nity. Once the of­fense started to score, the de­fense kept rolling and there was no stop­ping us.”

Bell, which was try­ing to play spolier and look­ing to snap a 17-game dis­trict los­ing streak, came out hot with a 10-play and 60yard drive that lasted over four min­utes.

Hardy threw a per­fect half-back pass 25 yards to Con­nor Mullins for the touch­down. Bell missed the 2-point con­ver­sion, but led 6-0 with 7:46 left in the first quar­ter.

Seals led Weather­ford on the en­su­ing drive. The Kan­ga­roos went 60 yards on eight plays as Seals threw a screen to Hud­son, who scored from 17 yards out that gave them a 7-6 lead with 4:22 in the first.

The Blue Raiders re­sponded with a 34-yard field goal from Aaron Dozier to re­gain a 9-7 lead late in the frame.

But it didn’t long for Weather­ford, which scored three plays later when Seals con­nected with Rey Huang for a 54-yard touch­down pass that gave the Kan­ga­roos a 14-9 lead with 4:48 left in the half.

“I knew it was go­ing to be great and I was go­ing to give the team ev­ery­thing I had,” said Seals, who had to sit out last year af­ter mov­ing from Azle.

Hardy led Bell with 14 car­ries and 111 yards. Choate threw for 98 yards.

Seals was 13 of 25 for 256 yards and three TDs. Hud­son made five grabs for 135 yards and a TD. Spooner added three catches for 41 yards and a TD.

Said Seals, “I knew we were go­ing to do some­thing spe­cial.”

BOB BOOTH Bob Booth

Weather­ford’s Pey­ton Hud­son (4) eludes L.D. Bell’s Steven Ay­isire (3) for a touch­down dur­ing the first half.

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