Brady’s upset attempt falls short, ‘Cats win

The play of the Brady Bulldogs here last Friday night scared the socks off the Class 2A No. 2 ranked Comfort Bobcats (today they were No. 1), but it was six points shy of a major upset. The Dogs ran out of steam in the waning seconds of the non-district clash and lost, 20-15. ‘We are super proud of our kids,’ Brady coach Todd Bandy said after the game. ‘They played well enough to win.’ He said that a couple of calls here and there, and a few dropped passes on Brady’s last drive was too much for the squad to handle. ‘We need to learn to catch the ball before running with it,’ Bandy said. In an interview, the Brady coach said, ‘We’ve got to learn to win these type of games. And when we do we will be a great team.’ The Bulldogs played a near perfect game, having no turnovers and only four penalties. ‘This was the best ball game we’ve played in the three years I’ve been here,’ Bandy said. He praised the entire team for their effort against a formidable foe. ‘Tailback Chris Airheart had a great game, gaining 122 yards on 24 carries. He especially ran hard after his initial hit. And the offensive line took care of their front four, only allowing two long runs,’ Bandy said. He also lauded Brady QB Paden Behrens for his running effort. The junior gained 36 yards and scored one touchdown. ‘As a whole, I thought our defense did a marvelous job,’ Bandy said. Comfort came into the game averaging over 500 yards rushing and scoring over 50 points. ‘If we deduct those two long runs, 64 yards by the game’s leading rusher Cody Moore, and a 47-yard keeper by quarterback Curt Kucera, they had less than 200 yards carrying the ball,’ the coach pointed out. ‘Moore, who rushed for 142 yards on 19 attempts, is a good back (he’s 6-4, 250 pounds). We need to learn how to stop those type of runners all the time, not just most of the time,’ the Brady coach said. After week four, Brady’s district members appear to be well balanced, at least they are record-wise. Comanche has the best record, 3-1, having lost only to Llano, Brady’s opponent Friday night in a homecoming clash. The rest of the teams are knotted at 2-2′ Brady, Abilene Wylie, Ballinger, Clyde, and Early. Llano comes to town sporting a 3-1 mark with wins over Smithville, Early and Comanche. That homecoming battle will kickoff at Bulldog Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The Dogs won last year’s game in a thriller, 33-27. H Game summary: The Bulldogs won the toss and deferred to the second half. Comfort received, getting a nice runback of 40 yards from Farron Roberts to the Brady 45. The Dogs’ gang-tackling held the Bobcat runners to a minus two yards on three attempts, and Curt Kucera punted to the Brady 19. Brady got one first down, a 15-yard pass from Paden Behrens to Mackey Crawford, but the drive stalled, and Jeremy Shields punted to the Comfort 31 and Kucera returned the kick 21 yards to the Brady 48. On first down Comfort fullback Cody Moore attempted a pass, but Brady’s Channing Booker inter-cepted at the Bulldog 21. Brady got a pair of first downs on runs of 13 and 10 yards by Shields and Chris Airheart, respectively. A short gain and two incomplete passes and Shields pinned the Bobcats at their 10 with a 39-yard punt. But, the ‘Cats put together an impressive 90- yard march, all on the ground, and scored in nine plays, utilizing runs of 12, 17, 10 and 47 yards by Moore, Ty Rexrode and Roberts. Rexrode scored the first of his three TDs on an eight-yard jaunt around right end. Angel Alvarez kicked the point, and Comfort led, 7- 0, with 2:04 left in the first period. The Bulldogs answered that scoring march with one of their own. Airheart and Behrens got things rolling with runs of 8 and 12 yards as the first quarter ended. Behrens kept his team on the ground and climaxed the march with a 15-yard keeper for the score. Shields tacked on the extra point, and the game was tied at 7-7 with 9:29 left in the first half. Rexrode returned the ensuing kickoff to the 30. Kucera got 10 on first down. After that Moore and Rexrode could manage only one net yard in three tries, and on fourth down Comfort went for the first down, but Brady sophomore linebacker Matthew Watson blitzed and slammed Moore for a momentum starting two-yard loss. The Bulldogs took over at the Comfort 40 and headed goalward. With Behrens deftly mixing the pass with the run, the Bulldogs scored in 10 plays as he passed to flanker C.J. Villegas for the TD on a five-yarder. The Dogs surprised the Bobcats on the PAT, coming out in a swinging gate formation, going back to their 7-on-7 plays. Behrens passed to Villegas for the two points. Brady was shocking the Comfort team, obtaining a 15-7 margin with 1:32 left in the second quarter. Moore got a first down before Kucera punted on fourth down. Taking over at the Brady 27 with 0:01 left in the half, Behrens completed a 37-yard to Villegas as the clock ran out. Brady fans were elated with their team’s performance, and they let their squad know about it. The Bulldogs began the second half controlling the ball as they had the first 24 minutes of play. Brady held an advantage in the first half, amassing 174 yards in total offense, compared to Comfort’s 141. Airheart ran three straight plays, gaining a first down, but a holding penalty thwarted the drive and Shields punted 43 yards out of bounds at the Comfort 19. With a pair of 18-yard runs by Moore and Roberts, and a 10-yarder by Rexrode, the Bobcats, aided by a questionable personal foul penalty, reached by the Brady 11 from which Rexrode scored on an 11-yard run with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Alvarez’s kick made the score. The Bulldogs went three and out and Shields’ punt on fourth down travelled 35 yards, and Comfort took over at their own 33. The biggest play of the game came on first down when Moore broke through the middle of the Brady line and bolted 64 yards to the Bulldog 3 before he was overhauled. Comfort scored on the next play when Rexrode went in from the three. Kucera’s pass for the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, and the score remained, 20-15, with 2:10 left in the third period. Brady bounced right back, taking over at their own 29 after an 18-yard kickoff return from Flemmon Hightower, the Dogs marched into the final quarter all on the ground until they reached inside the Comfort 30-yard line after a 10-yard run by Behrens. A three-yard loss by Airheart on first down was made up on the next down on a four- yard run. Behrens, however, fumbled the snap on the next play then on fourth down, Villegas was stopped for a one-yard loss. Intent on running out the clock from their own 34, the Bobcats reached Brady territory on a 14-yard run by Kucera. He also converted a fourth down a bit later, but four plays later, with 2:24 left in the game, Roberts was stopped on fourth down, and the Bulldogs took over at their own 27. Knowing that a TD would give them the win, the Bulldogs got seven yards on first down from Airheart then Behrens connected with an 18-yarder to Booker at the Comfort 48. There was 1:43 left in the game, and on fourth down from the Bobcat 39, Airheart got the first down at the 36. With 1:13 left, Behrens fired a perfect aerial to Villegas, but the senior couldn’t make the catch at the Comfort 20. Another missed reception and a rush to Behrens by Comfort defensive end Justin Newson fell incomplete, and it was fourth down. The Brady quarterback threw one more time, but it also was incomplete. Comfort took over at their own 36 with 51 second left and ran out the clock. The Bulldogs gave the Bobcats a run for their money, but could not obtain the upset. The experience the Dogs gained, however, should aid them as their get ready to enter district play on Oct. 10 at Ballinger.

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