Johnson survives late Brandeis rally to remain undefeated; Hurt powers Taft past Harlan; Cuero’s Durham earns Play of the Week

Clemens hands Judson fourth loss, QB Gomez impresses in dominant Central Catholic victory

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SAN ANTONIOWelcome to the free KSAT 12 Big Game Coverage Newsletter. If you are interested in a wrap-up of the biggest local high school football scores, highlights, players and teams, you can sign up for the biweekly newsletter for free right here.

Every high school football season brings its fair share of surprises, and with five weeks of action in the books, the 2021 edition of KSAT 12′s Big Game Coverage (BGC) has been no different. Floresville and Taft survived upset bids thanks to stellar offensive performances and have established themselves amongst the teams to beat, but several squads were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten this past week.

Before we dive too deeply into the stats and results, let’s take a moment to highlight the biggest moments from the week that was in Week 5′s Best of BGC.

Week 5 featured some incredible runs, passes and catches all across the greater San Antonio area. Check out the best of the best, including plays from Blanco, New Braunfels, Marshall and Cuero!

>> Click here to check out the Best of BGC from Week 5! <<

The top four Class 6A teams all held serve in Week 5, but there’s been plenty of movement on the weekly KSAT 12′s Top 12 rankings once again. A number of the best area teams suffered their first loss this season. How did that affect the rest of the list? Find out who’s in and who’s out heading into Week 6!

>> See the full Week 6 rankings by clicking here! <<


Time for some game recaps, and Week 5′s Game of the Week certainly lived up to the billing!

JOHNSON 28, BRANDEIS 22

Time and time again, Johnson (5-0, 3-0) found a way to respond in pressure-packed situations against their District 28-6A rival Brandeis (4-1, 2-1).

The Broncos stormed out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter when quarterback Nico Garcia found Clark Ullrich for a 17-yard touchdown, but the Jaguars’ offense found their rhythm on the ensuing drive. Quarterback Cruz Kirwan was one of the catalysts, completing 13 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. His 8-yard TD run with a little under five minutes left in the first half cut the deficit in half heading into halftime.

Kirwan then opened the second half with a 22-yard strike to Alejandro Tavarez that tied the game at 14, and stalwart running back Ben McCreary gave the Jaguars their first lead of the game, 21-17, with an impressive 64-yard touchdown run. Three regulation minutes later, Kirwan completed his best pass of the night: a rainbow that hit receiver Ty Hawkins in stride for a 52-yard score, and suddenly the game appeared to have been blown open.

Not so fast. The Broncos mustered a pair of field goal drives in the second half and trailed 28-20 with six minutes to play. They actually had two chances to either tie or take the lead in the final minutes, but Johnson’s defense was up to the task every time. After an errant snap and the resulting safety gave Brandeis life with 29 seconds left, Mikey DiRocco ended the contest by intercepting the Broncos’ final Hail Mary attempt, and the Jaguars earned a hard-fought win in this classic rivalry for the second straight season.


THREE DEEP

MARSHALL 42, O’CONNOR 38

Last year, Marshall defeated O’Connor 36-33 in a see-saw battle. This year, the Rams (4-1, 2-1) came out on top against the Panthers (0-5, 0-3) once again in another offensive showcase at Farris Stadium.

Running back Anthony Conway had a monster game, rushing for 179 yards on just 11 carries. His elusive 47-yard touchdown run gave Marshall a 35-23 lead with 4:18 left in regulation. O’Connor didn’t go away quietly. Less than a minute later, Panthers quarterback Garon Andrade found Myles Busanet on a 58-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead down to 4. Then with 1:07 on the clock, Aidan Lara stepped in at QB and found Colorado State commit John Locke for the go-ahead 15-yard touchdown. Locke finished with five grabs for 79 yards and that score.

But the Panthers couldn’t stop Conway and the Rams offense. Forty seconds later, Conway called game and found the endzone for the fourth time on a four-yard pitch to take a 42-38 lead. Marshall’s defense got the decisive stop, securing a capstone moment to the program’s best start in over a decade.

>> Click here to watch all of the highlights from Friday night! <<

TAFT 42, HARLAN 35

The Taft Raiders (5-0, 3-0) kicked off Week 5 with a remarkable rally in the closing minutes of their District 29-6A tilt against Harlan (2-3, 1-2) on Thursday night to remain undefeated.

The Hawks cruised out to a commanding 28-14 lead on the arm of quarterback Noah Farris, who threw three touchdown passes in the first half, and the legs of running back Jacob Gonzales who posted 215 total yards from scrimmage. The Harlan junior caught TD passes of 58 and 37 yards, and scored an 18-yard touchdown on the ground midway through the third quarter to give the Hawks a 35-21 lead.

Harlan wouldn’t find the endzone again.

Taft quarterback Justice Hurt took over from that point forward, accounting for three touchdowns over the final 14 minutes of regulation. He completed 10 passes for 116 yards and three scores while rushing for a whopping 216 yards and two TDs. His 1-yard plunge with 2:25 left to play seemed to tie the game, but a missed extra point meant Harlan still held a 35-34 lead. The Raiders got the ball back and completed the comeback with Hurt’s final touchdown of the night, a 26-yard toss to Logan Morant. As a result, Taft is 5-0 for the first time this decade and has scored 37 points or more in four of those wins.

>> Click here to watch all of the highlights from Thursday night! <<

FLORESVILLE 37, LA VERNIA 35

Floresville kept on rolling and improved to 5-0 after a back-and-forth battle with La Vernia (1-4), and Tigers quarterback Braeden Fuller continues to impress.

The dual-threat senior completed seven of his nine passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. He now has 13 passing TDs on the season. If that wasn’t enough, Fuller added 112 yards and a score on the ground. Meanwhile Princeton commit Dareion Murphy rushed 17 times for 103 yards and a touchdown of his own, wide receiver Brandon Cortez caught three passes for 147 yards and the Tigers defense fended off the Bears’ dramatic fourth-quarter comeback attempt.

>> Click here to watch all of the highlights from Saturday night! <<

Let’s check in with the experts!


COVER TWO

We have reached the halfway mark of the high school football season and the biggest stunner in Week 5 had to be Alamo Heights’ 7-0 victory over Wimberley in Wimberley. The Texans had been averaging 24.5 points a game this season, and still scored a field goal in their only loss prior to the Mules, a 21-3 defeat against Cuero. Give a lot of credit to the Mules’ defense.

The biggest upset to me was Clemens’ 17-14 victory over Judson. Admittedly, the Buffaloes were at home and Judson has been struggling this season since their Week 1 victory over DeSoto, but when was the last time you saw the Rockets start 1-4 overall and 0-2 in district?

Big props to the Lanier Voks who remain undefeated with their 4-0 start. That includes a 2-0 district record after their 34-13 victory over Kennedy. And how about the Brackenridge Eagles starting off 4-1 overall and 3-0 in district following their 48-14 victory against Burbank? Can’t wait to see what happens in Week 6.

Friday, I was able to watch one of the best high school quarterbacks in Texas: Austin Novosad from Dripping Springs. The junior is 6′3″ and a pro-style quarterback. In the two offensive series I watched, Novosad went 6-of-7 for 75 yards and two touchdown passes against McCollum. For the game, he completed 18 of 24 passes for 250 yards and 7 touchdowns in the Tigers 63-21 win. Novosad stands tall in the pocket, has great composure, and throws a nice ball. Currently, he’s the 8th leading passer in Texas, all UIL classifications, with 1,570 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Lastly, I want to thank all the nice McCollum parents who stopped by to say hello while I was waiting for my 6:00 pm live shot from Tiger Stadium. I always enjoy interacting with KSAT viewers.

>>Click here to watch all of the highlights from this week’s BGC Road Trip!<<

In case anyone forgot, Central Catholic quarterback Sylas Gomez can really sling a football. The Army commit was on point early in the Buttons’ dominant 50-0 victory over San Antonio Christian on Friday. In the first quarter, Gomez connected with wide receiver Jaxon Deason twice on touchdowns of 31 and 36 yards. He finished 6-of-7 for 166 yards and three scores. Deason caught five passes for 101 yards. Those two will be fun to watch as the season builds towards the playoffs.

A special shoutout goes to the East Central student section and the Hornet band. Both helped create an electric atmosphere on Saturday night. Quarterback Caden Bosanko and an explosive Hornets offense gave the home crowd every reason to get hyped. Bosanko hooked up with wide receiver Jack Stewart five times to the tune of 106 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Austin Vivier led a dominant ground game that posted 194 combined rushing yards in a 49-0 win over South San. The Hornets are 3-2 this season with wins over Canyon and Roosevelt. The back half of their schedule might be tough, but East Central has already improved off of last year’s 2-7 record and will be tough to defeat moving forward.


Watch Big Game Coverage Preview show Thursday at 4 p.m.

Greg Simmons and Larry Ramirez will get you set up for Week 6 of the high school football season with our weekly Big Game Coverage Preview show, featuring breakdowns of KSAT 12′s Game of the Week and some of the biggest matchups to watch. Which teams will they feature this week? You’ll have to watch to find out!

Andrew Cely, KSAT 12 Sports Producer and Reporter

If you have any questions about this newsletter or story ideas for the season ahead, feel free to reach me via email at acely@ksat.com.


About the Author:

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.