The Crawford Pirates played host to the De Leon Bearcats in a district battle of top 10 teams in Class 2A. Crawford was looking to avoid its first loss at home since the 2009 season and De Leon was looking for its first win over the Pirates.
The De Leon offense was too much for the Crawford defense to contain and the Bearcats were able to get the win on the road against the 9th ranked Pirates, 38-18.
De Leon won the toss and deferred to the second half, giving Crawford the ball to start the game. The Pirates literally hit the ground running as the put together a methodical drive capped off by a 3-yard Casen Ewing touchdown run. The PAT was no good bringing the score to 6-0 Crawford with 5:24 left to play in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff Chris Cox took the ball 70 yards giving the Bearcats excellent field position. The Pirates defense held on strong though forcing a De Leon field goal by Kevin Yeager bringing in the scored a 6-3 with 4:21 left of the first-quarter.
The De Leon defense forced the Pirates into a 3-and-out and on their next possession the Bearcats coughed the ball up on a fumble. The Pirates were stopped again by the Bearcats defense, when Colton Smith sacked Gage Pearson for a loss of four, forcing another Crawford punt.
The Pirates were able to get on the board once more with a 1-yard touchdown run by Koby Smith, completing an 11-play, 61-yard Crawford possession. De Leon quickly answered, as Anthony Rangel took a toss sweep 72 yards to the house bringing the score to 12-10 Crawford.
“We did some good things up front tonight, creating some holes for our running back and quarterback,” De Leon coach David Yeager said.
The Bearcats defense made a huge fourth-down stop, as the stuffed Casen Ewing forcing a turnover on downs. De Leon was able to take the lead with :47 seconds left before the half, as Kevin Yeager hit Calvin Martin on a 41 yard touchdown pass. De Leon went into halftime with a 17-12 lead over the Pirates.
Coach Yeager said, “Having the lead at the half was nice, but stopping them on 4th down, that’s what I’m proud of, that was huge for us.”
The third quarter started off as a defensive struggle, but Crawford was able to retake the lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Trey Lacina. The touchdown came after the Pirates ran 16 plays, for 76 yards and took 9:28 off the clock.
The Bearcats only needed one play to answer Crawford, as Kevin Yeager hit Chris Cox on a 58-yard touchdown pass. The third quarter came to an end with the score 24-18 De Leon.
The Bearcats defense forced Crawford into a 4th and 11, but the Pirates converted on a fake punt. The following play Gage Pearson was picked off in the end zone by Orson Sylva. De Leon capitalized on the interception, as Anthony Rangel broke a 70-yard touchdown run.
De Leon took the momentum and the victory, scoring once more for good measure.
“We left way too many opportunities on the field, and a good team takes care of that and that’s what they did,” Crawford coach Delbert Kelm said.
De Leon moves to 5-0 on the season and 1-0 in district play, as Crawford moves to 3-2 and 0-1 in district play. De Leon will host Hico next week and Crawford travels to Hamilton.