By Stephen R. Farris
Special to The NavCo Chronicle
The 2022 high school football season has come to a close for The NavCo Chronicle, as our last area team bowed out this past Friday night in a tough, tough, battle played out at Wildcat Stadium in Palestine.
The Wortham Bulldogs battled it out against the Price-Carlisle Indians in the area round of the playoffs, fighting back from a 21-point deficit before falling in the end by a mere four points, 40-36.
The Bulldogs trailed 14-0 in the second quarter of play, when Cash Perez forced a fumble and Yancy Bean made the recovery inside the Indian’s 20-yard line. A short time later, running back Kymani Johnson took the ball into the end zone from six yards out to pull the Bulldogs within a touchdown of the Indians.
Down 28-6 before the half, quarterback Ryken Lewis hit receiver Lance Jones for a 29-yard touchdown to make it a 28-14 ball game. Still trailing 28-14 in the third quarter, Lewis looked to be sacked in the backfield, but managed to get the ball to running back Tanner Bean. Bean broke several tackles enroute to a 12-yard touchdown reception, pulling the Bulldogs to within one touchdown, 28-22.
Still in the third quarter, Lewis went to the air again, this time hitting Derek Bullard with a 60-yard pass to the Indian 13-yard line. On the next play, Lewis handed it off to Bean, who took the ball in from the 13 for the score to give Wortham a 30-28 lead.
The lead didn’t last long as Price-Carlisle went back up, 40-30 in the fourth quarter. Wortham attempted to come back late in the game, when Lewis was flushed out of the pocket and threw the ball up for grabs into the end zone. Two Bulldog receivers were in the vicinity, along with a couple of Indian defenders. The ball was tipped up in the air, but a diving Isaih Tull grabbed it before it hit the ground for a Bulldog touchdown.
Wortham had a chance towards the end as defender Jon Ross Black stripped the ball away from Indian’s running back Clayton Hart at the 19-yard line of the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, Wortham was unable to get the ball into the end zone as time expired.The Wortham Bulldogs battled the Price-Carlisle Indians last Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Palestine, during the area round of the UIL Class 2A Division II state football playoffs. Photo by Melissa Perez.
The Indians (11-1) move on to the regional round in Class 2A Division II. Wortham ends it’s season at (9-3).
The Bulldogs the game with 322 total yards of offense, while giving up 428 to the Indians. Both teams were even in turnovers. The Indians had three fumbles and the Bulldogs had three interceptions.
Tanner Bean was the offensive leader for the Bulldogs, finishing with 21 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while catching five passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the 2022 season with over 1600 yards rushing and scored 31 touchdowns.
Elsewhere from the Bulldogs district, Class 2A Division II No. 1 state-ranked Mart Panthers (12-0) crushed the Cushing Bearkats, 77-7, to move to the regional round.
In Class 3A Division I, the No. 2 state-ranked Malakoff Tigers mauled the Winnsboro Raiders, 55-10. Malakoff (11-1) advances to the regional round to face the West Trojans (11-1) this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Corsicana.
This season went by pretty fast. Best of luck to all of our area coverage teams as they enter basketball and soccer (for a few). See y’all next year!