Welcome 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.
We’ve reached the final week of the 2021 high school football regular season! Before we look ahead, we need to look back at Week 10 of KSAT 12′s Big Game Coverage (BGC), which featured some of the best action we’ve seen all season long. That includes Johnson’s remarkable comeback victory over Reagan in the de-facto District 28-6A championship game and O’Connor’s stunning upset of Taft on Saturday night.
Enough talk. Let’s get to the highlights! First, a recap of some of the biggest moments from the week that was in Week 10′s Best of BGC.
Week 10 featured all kinds of jaw-dropping plays from the greater San Antonio area. Check out the best of the best, including plays from Judson, YMLA, Burbank and Central Catholic!
The Taft Raiders and Reagan Rattlers each suffered key losses this week. Did that knock them out of the Top 12? Find out who’s in and who’s out of our rankings heading into Week 11!
Week 10′s Game of the Week was an instant classic!
JOHNSON 46, REAGAN 43 (OT)
The District 28-6A title was up for grabs at Heroes Stadium on Friday night, as undefeated Johnson took on Reagan in the Battle of Stone Oak. Four of the last five meetings between these two programs had been decided by a single possession. You can add Oct. 29′s epic to that list.
It certainly didn’t look that would be the case late in the third quarter. By all accounts, Reagan appeared to be on their way to a decisive win in their biggest game of the season. The Rattlers had built a 33-14 lead thanks in part to quarterback Lance Lorenz’s two touchdown passes and a banner day for running back Carson Green, who finished with 160 rushing yards and two scores. That sizable lead meant Reagan’s defense could pin their ears back and continue a recent stretch of dominance that had limited opponents to just 35 points over their previous six games.
But six regulation minutes later, the Rattlers’ 19-point lead had practically evaporated. Jaguars quarterback Cruz Kirwan first found wide receiver Canaan Fairley on a 33-yard touchdown strike -- their second TD connection of the game -- then dumped it off to dynamic running back Ben McCreary on the next drive for an 89-yard touchdown that made it a 33-28 game early in the fourth quarter. Suddenly, the blowout had turned into a shootout. McCreary finished the night with 255 total yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Rattler running back Javier Colsa appeared to stem the tide with a 46-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive, but seven minutes remained in regulation, and Kirwan answered less than two minutes later with a 37-yard touchdown toss to Alejandro Tavarez. Reagan had a chance to put the game on ice on the very next possession, but ended up settling for a 29-yard field goal that gave them a 43-35 advantage with 1:53 left in the game.
One minute and 13 seconds later, Kirwan found Fairley in the end zone for a two-yard touchdown. Fairley had a monster game, catching 10 passes for 159 yards and three scores. Still, the Jaguars needed a two-point conversion to tie the game, and they pulled out a trick play with the game of the line -- a direct snap, double-reverse pass from Ty Hawkins to Tavarez in the back of the end zone. Once down 19 points, Johnson had rallied to force overtime with the game all tied up 43-43.
In extra time, defenses found their footing. Johnson went three and out on the first possession of OT, but despite a delay-of-game penalty, kicker Harrison Stone booted a go-ahead, 43-yard field goal that gave the Jaguars a 46-43 lead. Johnson’s defense then rose to the occasion, holding the Rattlers to a three-and-out. But Reagan’s ensuing field goal attempt fell short, and the Jaguars stormed the field in celebration. Their undefeated season is still alive, and now they have a district title to show for it.
O’CONNOR 35, TAFT 28
Heading into Saturday night’s District 29-6A tilt between 2-7 O’Connor and 7-1 Taft, most would have expected the Raiders to run away with a convincing victory. The Panthers had other plans.
Although both squads traded touchdowns in the first half, possessions were limited due to O’Connor’s efficient, ball-control style of offense. A 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aidan Lara to Myles Busanet gave the Panthers a 21-14 lead at the break. The strategy remained effective in the second half, as O’Connor scored the next 14 points. First, Lara fired a bullet pass over an outstretched defender’s hand to Colorado State commit John Locke for a 25-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Then, he dumped it off for Kyle Gill, who knifed his way through the Raider defense en route to a 24-yard score and a stunning 35-14 advantage early in the fourth quarter. Lara’s final stat line was impressive. He completed 15 of 21 passes to eight different receivers for 294 yards and four touchdowns.
Taft was not done yet. Over the course of the next four regulation minutes, running back TJ Andrews scored a five-yard touchdown and quarterback Justice Hurt found Jamel Criswell on an 80-yard TD pass that cut the Panther lead down to seven with 5:20 left on the clock. Hurt has been punishing defenses all season long, and Saturday night’s box score reflected that once again. He posted 290 total yards of offense and three touchdowns, and he got a chance to lead the Raiders on a game-winning drive in the closing minutes.
With the ball inside the red zone and :17 left to play, Hurt rolled out and slung it a sliding receiver. The ball bounced off of an outstretched arm right into the hands of O’Connor junior defensive back Dominic Vasquez. Interception. Game over. A cruel bounce for Taft, and a thrilling finish for O’Connor. That was the Panthers’ final game of the 2021 high school football season. What a wonderful note to go out on! The Raiders will wrap up their regular season next week against Jay.
STEELE 35, JUDSON 30
After upending then-undefeated Smithson Valley last week on a last-second touchdown pass, all eyes were on the Judson Rockets to see if they could do it again in Week 10 against 8-0 Steele. They certainly proved they were capable of pulling off another upset in the early goings.
Judson stormed out to a 14-0 lead on the arm of quarterback Michael Burroughs, who completed a 38-yard TD pass to Anthony Evans and ran for a two-yard score of his own. Steele answered back with a pair of rushing touchdowns: a 62-yarder from Teshaun Singleton and a 19-yarder from Jaydon Bailey. Bailey was stellar all night long, racking up 175 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. The Rockets still led 17-14 at halftime.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, and Judson had possession of the ball midway through the fourth quarter trailing 28-24. The Rockets moved across midfield, looking for the go-ahead score, but Steele’s Josh Fahrner held Judson’s running back up, ripped the ball away and took it back 66 yards for a back-breaking defensive touchdown. 35-24 Steele with 6:51 remaining in regulation.
Now needing two scores, Judson opened up the playbook and dialed up a 16-yard touchdown pass from running back Nathaniel Stanley to Gavin Harris that cut the deficit down to just five points. The Rockets’ offense would never see the field again.
Steele quarterback Connor Vincent rushed only four times for 41 yards, but the majority of that yardage came on third-down scrambles in a game-clinching drive that burned away the final 4:35 of regulation. The Knights emerged victorious and are still the only undefeated team in District 27-6A. They will put that record on the line again next Friday in one last colossal district showdown against Smithson Valley.
BOERNE CHAMPION 35, FLORESVILLE 28
Thursday night’s District 15-5A Division II showdown between Boerne Champion and Floresville was the literal definition of a back-and-forth battle.
Charger running back Alex Rodriguez opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Tigers running back Dareion Murphy answered with a one-yard TD plunge of his own. For the next two quarters, both teams traded touchdowns -- every time Champion would score, Floresville answered. Rodriguez was incredible, tallying 242 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 33 carries. Murphy was just as impressive, finishing with 247 total yards from scrimmage and three scores.
With the game tied at 28 in the closing seconds of the third quarter, Champion quarterback Karson Kaiser found Kannon Brooks in the flat, and the junior wideout sprung free for a 44-yard touchdown and a 35-28 lead. That would prove to be the game-winner in a crucial game for playoff positioning, as the Chargers secured the second seed in district.
I can’t tell you how much fun I have had watching high school football this season in part because of our partnership with Texas Sports Productions that allows us to see so many games live, especially in the fourth quarter where many of these games have been decided this season.
That of course includes No. 3 Johnson vs. No. 8 Reagan in a battle of the District 28-6A unbeatens for at least a share of the district title.
Johnson pulled it off, but had to go to overtime in order to win 46-43 and are now poised to finish undefeated this season for the first time in school history.
The most creative two-point conversion was the key to send the game into overtime when Matthew Flores-King lateraled to Ty Hawkins who was able to find Alejandro Tavarez in the end zone to tie the game at 43 all.
Ironically, Harrison Stone would boot a 43-yard field goal in OT that proved to be the game winner
It was good to see Reagan running back Carson Green returning in his second game since he had been injured to finish with 160 yards, two rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD as well.
Equally as entertaining was Steele’s ability to stay undefeated (9-0, 6-0) by holding off upset-minded Judson, who you remember lost their head coach two weeks ago and just shocked Smithson Valley last week. We watched as Steele’s defense was able to strip the ball in crunch time, and it was scooped up by the Knights’ Josh Fahrner who raced to the end zone for a 35-24 lead in the eventual 35-30 victory.
We’ve seen players leap over defenders multiple times throughout this season, but Central Catholic’s Braeden Flowers might have pulled off the most impressive jump I’ve seen in my time covering high school sports. The 6-foot-4, 250 pound big man leaped over a defender, landed in stride, threw out a stiff arm and cruised into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown in the Buttons’ 42-6 victory over Katy St. John XXIII on Friday night. The play itself was incredible, and it was also symbolic of how spectacular this season has been for Central Catholic. Quarterback Sylas Gomez has that offense humming. They have now scored 35 or more points in six consecutive games, all wins. The Buttons will wrap up their regular season against Antonian next Friday. I’m really excited to see what they can do in the playoffs this year.
Speaking of the playoffs, high school volleyball’s road to the UIL State tournament at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland officially begins today! There are some great matchups in the Bi-District round. Keep your eyes peeled for coverage of area matches on KSAT 12 over the next few days on air and online!
And one final congratulations to Wimberley tennis. The Texans earned the program’s first team tennis state title by defeating Argyle 10-7 in the UIL Class 4A championship on Friday afternoon at College Station. It’s also the first state title won by a team from the greater San Antonio area this year! Next up, cross country teams will take center stage and race for UIL State championships this coming Friday and Saturday in Round Rock.
Watch Big Game Coverage Preview show Thursday at 4 p.m.
This Thursday, Larry Ramirez returns and joins Greg Simmons in studio to help get you set up for Week 11 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 we 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.