SAN ANTONIO – The Brandeis Broncos offense put on a show as they vanquished their longstanding rivals the O’Connor Panthers 45-35 in the final game of the KSAT 12 Pigskin Classic on Saturday night.
The Panthers’ offense rolled to 497 total yards and scored five first half touchdowns, thanks in large part to the play of senior transfer quarterback Lincoln Philyaw.
Philyaw, who was named the Davis Law Firm Player of the game, completed 20 of 30 passes for 397 yards and five passing touchdowns, all without an interception. He also rushed for a touchdown as well.
Junior kicker Ryan Villasenor iced the game on a kick from 34 yards out with 33 seconds left.
O’Connor opened the scoring with a nine play, 60-yard drive, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Ryder Dorn.
Brandeis, however, quickly struck back, as senior running back Trey Pepito took a carry and ran 46 yards to the Panthers’ side of the field. They’d take the lead on Philyaw’s first scoring pass of the night, a 22-yard touchdown to senior Devin Moody, to go up 7-6.
Following a punt on O’Connor’s next possession, a completed pass from Philyaw to Ethan Collida for 17 yards and a Jaden Perez reception for 16 yards would put the Broncos in scoring range. Philyaw took the snap and ran into the endzone from 18 yards out, putting the Broncos up 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers responded with their own five-play, 60-yard touchdown drive, making it a one score game at 14-12 after a failed two point conversion.
The first half fireworks didn’t stop as Brandeis roared back in just two plays, with a 19-yard rush from Collida and a 30-yard touchdown catch from Jaylin Baker. The Broncos would go ahead, 21-12.
Philyaw later found running back Pepito for his third touchdown pass of the night, a 73-yarder to extend Brandeis’ lead to 28-12.
O’Connor showed its mettle and tried to claw back as receiver Luke Valdez caught a 36-pass from Dorn, setting up the Panthers’ answer. Dorn on a scramble would create his own magic, completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Valdez after nearly fumbling, cutting the lead to 28-18.
In the biggest defensive play of the night, the Panthers’ got a stop on a corner blitz, causing Philyaw to fumble and senior defensive lineman Mateo Carrizales would pick up the ball for a scoop and score, making it 28-25.
Philyaw, undeterred, answered yet again, executing another first half touchdown drive. Passes were completed to Jaylin Baker for 13 and 12 yards before converting a 3rd and 20 play, again to Baker, for 25 yards. Brandeis and Baker would score on the next play, a 33-yard touchdown pass to take a 35-25 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Brandeis scored a touchdown on its first possession as Jaden Perez had a catch and run from 68 yards out, extending the lead to 42-25. Perez caught 6 passes for 118 yards in the game.
A 30-yard field goal from Lane Rigby for O’Connor made the score 42-28, and with just over four minutes to play in the game a Dorn pass to Zach White completed a four-play, 66 yard drive cut the Brandeis lead to 42-35.
The showdown between the Panthers and Broncos is a revival of last year’s season opener for both teams, a game that Brandeis won, 27-17.
Last season didn’t go according to plan for O’Connor, as they finished with just a 4-6 record. Their four wins came during district play.
Determined to get off to a fast start this year, they hope to rebound against their main rival in the Alamodome.
In an interview with KSAT 12 Sports, O’Connor Head Football Coach David Malesky said when O’Connor and Brandeis play, you can throw records and the previous years out.
“We’re really grateful to be a part of this and play the game, with the rivalry that O’Connor-Brandeis already is anyway, and now it’s just magnified in terms of being in the Alamodome,” Malesky said.
And while O’Connor was having its struggles last season, it was an exciting season for Brandeis, as the Broncos finished 9-3 overall and 7-1 in district play, ending the year as a District II area finalist.
Brandeis Head Football Coach Charles Bruce said it’s easy to get up for the season opener, especially when it’s a rival.
“Oh, it’s going to be exciting, we’re looking forward to it, we’re looking forward to playing O’Connor,” Bruce said. “I feel like it’s going to be a playoff atmosphere, it’s always a great game, and it’s one of the biggest rivalries in the state of Texas.”
O’Connor: at home versus Johnson on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
Brandeis: at home versus Brennan on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m
About the KSAT Pigskin Classic
The second-annual KSAT Pigskin Classic kicked off Aug. 25 and 26 at San Antonio’s Alamodome and tickets are now on sale.
This year’s KSAT Pigskin Classic is even bigger than last year’s inaugural event, with four high school football games to kick off the Texas high school football season.