Game of inches

Football comes up short in area playoff game, 28-21


Davis Kuhn

Derek Mata warms up his arm before playing Madison. Mata, a senior, passed for over 150 yards in football’s season-ending loss to Bowie.

Jackson Posey, Sports Director

Despite a late surge, football lost their area playoff game to Bowie on Friday night, 28-21. The Bulldogs, led by running back Noah Camacho (201 yards, 2 touchdowns), will advance to play the winner of Brennan and Los Fresnos on Nov. 27.

The scoring opened up immediately, as Bowie marched 74 yards down the field to the end zone. Multiple quarterbacks lined up under center, but it was Camacho who finished the job, taking the ball off right tackle and in for a touchdown.

With 2:32 remaining in the first quarter, the Rangers answered back with a touchdown of their own. Malachi Lane took full advantage of a Bowie turnover on downs, blowing past the front seven for 50 yards down to the Bulldog 9-yard line. On the next play, Kyler Clarke froze a defender with a stutter-step on an end-around before waltzing into the end zone. Tie ball game.

The second quarter began just like the first, with a Camacho touchdown. He shedded several would-be tacklers before breaking into the second level and rumbling 42 yards for his second score of the night.

The Bulldogs extended their lead again on their next drive. Part-time quarterback Grason Foradory faked a handoff on the 3-yard line before charging up the gut himself, giving the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead they would carry into halftime.

The third quarter brought with it several uncommon plays – for instance, a busted punt play that resulted in Ranger punter Manuel Osorio scrambling for 21 yards on fourth-and-11 – but they resulted in a grand total of zero points.

The scoring picked back up early in the final frame, however, thanks to a fortunate error by the Ranger offense. Capitalizing on a missed field goal, they drove deep into Bulldog territory thanks to a 29-yard catch-and-run by Zack McDonald. 

On third-and-2 from the Bowie 21-yard line, Derek Mata managed to gain 13 yards on a quarterback dive before the ball squirted out and into the end zone. Center Britt Stolle quickly dove on it, securing his first career touchdown and bringing the Rangers within a score of tying up the game.

But the Bulldogs had other plans. After three chunk gains, they slid wide receiver Max Barnes into the backfield for a direct snap. The seas parted in front of him, and he ran 38 yards untouched into the end zone.

Down 14 points with seven minutes remaining, Ranger head coach Larry Hill put the ball back in Mata’s hands. Friday saw a prolific performance by Mata, who completed 11 of 19 pass attempts and racked up 179 total yards, and he delivered again on this drive. He hit Dylan Domel for completions of 31 and 7 yards and TJ Hunt for 29 yards en route to the red zone. Travis McCracken pounded the ball in from the 10-yard line to lower the deficit back to seven points.

The Rangers forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but found themselves facing a fourth down of their own after a short completion to McDonald in the flats fell short of the sticks. With two yards to gain, Hill called McCracken’s number – and he was promptly flipped down at the line of scrimmage by linebacker Saul Garcia.

Four clock-killing runs later, leading 28-21, Bowie quarterback Conner Kenyon kneeled out the clock on the Rangers’ season.