FORT WORTH — The third-ranked La Vega Pirates jumped out to an early lead on the legs of Jar’Quae Walton and Elisha Cummings, and held on late, staving off tradition-rich Celina, 35-13, in the Class 4A Division I area playoffs on Friday night at Ranger Stadium.

Walton and Cummings combined for 350 total yards and three touchdowns as the Pirates (11-1) bounced out to a 21-0 lead early in the first half. La Vega needed that and more to get past a pesky Celina team.

It was a five-play, 75-yard drive out of the chute for the Pirates that got things going, capped off by a 31-yard jaunt by Walton, the junior’s only score of the night. Cummings joined the scoring party on La Vega’s next drive, darting up the middle from 63 yards away to put the Bobcats in a 14-0 hole.

Cummings busted another big one up the middle, this one from 54 yards on 3rd-and-8, finishing off the first-half scoring.

But the Pirate defense stole the show in the first 30 minutes, allowing just five total yards in the first half. La Vega’s front four of Raeshawn Roberts, De’Treveon Thompson, Vernon Walker III and Vincent Henderson harassed Celina quarterback Hunter Watson and running back Logan Point to no end.

The Bobcats scored on their first drive of the second half. After a 52-yard pass to wideout DJ Dell’Anno set Celina up on the 2-yard line of the Pirates, Point eventually punched it in on a fourth-down play to cut the La Vega lead to 21-7.

But La Vega answered a couple of possessions later. Landy Kinne hit Soldreveon Degrate on a 21-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-7, Pirates.

The Bobcats continued to be a thorn in the Pirates’ side, however, scoring on a 61-yard post to Dell’Anno from Watson. After the extra point was blocked, it was 28-13 Pirates.

It appeared the Bobcats had momentum on their side after a Cummings fumble. But Ara Rauls III iced it, intercepting Watson and going 44 yards to the house to finish the scoring at 35-13.

Kinne passed for 119 yards and a touchdown. Degrate grabbed three balls for 48 yards and a score.

La Vega is set to take on Melissa at 7 p.m. next Friday at Fort Worth Brewer.

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