With quarterback Tyler Webb putting up eye-popping numbers, Bosqueville has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the most explosive offenses in Central Texas.
But it was the Bulldogs’ defense that made the difference against Riesel.
The Bulldogs delivered big stops throughout the second half and Larson Hoffmeyer made a key late interception return to rally past the Indians, 24-12, on Friday night.
Trailing 12-0 in the third quarter, the Bulldogs (4-3, 3-0) scored the final 24 points on three touchdowns and three two-point conversions.
“Our defensive coordinator Mike Finnell made some outstanding adjustments at halftime and our players executed them,” said Bosqueville head coach Clint Zander. “They did some things we hadn’t seen in the first half. We also got the big interception late in the game. Their quarterback (Steven Searcy) was trying to make something happen and probably didn’t see our outside linebacker.”
Riesel (4-2, 1-1) also delivered a strong defensive effort most of the night to contain a Bosqueville offense that came into the game averaging 38 points.
“Both of our programs have gifted skill people, so you probably wouldn’t have thought you’d see a 24-12 score,” said Riesel coach Robert Little. “We kept them bottled up as long as we could.”
It looked like the Indians might pull off the road upset when they opened up a 12-0 lead after Braden Jenkins broke away for a 26-yard touchdown run with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
But the Bulldogs finally kicked their offense into gear as Webb flipped a shovel pass to Marcell Estell, who blasted down the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Tanner Sepulveda hit Jackson Zander for the two-point conversion to cut Riesel’s lead to 12-8.
“We like it when we can get Marcell out in space,” Clint Zander said. “He can make things happen quick. After his first big play, we started to relax and play football.”
On Bosqueville’s next possession, Estell exploded for a 44-yard run to Riesel’s 20. Jacob Bravo blew up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the night on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
Once again, Bosqueville converted the two-point conversion on Estell’s run to extend the lead to 16-12.
“Marcell Estell is a difference maker – he was our No. 1 priority coming into the game,” Little said. “They came out in the second half and did what they needed to do.”
Desperately trying to make something happen on fourth down at the 37, Searcy scrambled and threw a pass that was intercepted by Hoffmeyer and returned 38 yards to the 1.
On the next play, Bravo ran for the touchdown and Sepulveda hit Ryder Roark for the two-point conversion to seal the win with 2:30 remaining.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Indians drove 67 yards for the only touchdown in the first half.
Searcy got things rolling with a 19-yard run around the right side and then found an opening on the left side for 29 more yards.
Facing second-and-17, Searcy spotted Kyson Dieterich uncovered in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown pass to give Riesel a 6-0 lead with 8:36 left in the first half.
Following a Bosqueville punt, the Indians moved 71 yards to the 3. Searcy once again popped off the big run as he moved 29 yards to the 20.
The Indians picked up a first down at the 6, but with time running out Searcy missed a third-down pass from the 3 on the last play of the half.