The Kaufman Lions beat the Mexia Black Cats 31-14 by churning out rushing yards and catching passes when it counted.
“It was a very proud moment,” Coach Todd York said of the win. “We knew their team had exceptional athletic ability, we had a long bus ride to an away game and they were pumped up because it was their homecoming.”
The Lions won the opening toss, deferred to the second half and then held the Cats to three and out. The Cats returned the favor and the teams traded offensive series for most of the first quarter. With a third-and-four on the 26 yard line and 2:11 left to play in the first, the Lions picked up the first down and two plays later were on the 8-yard line. On the next play, Jacob Holley took the ball to the one as the quarter ended.
To open the second quarter, the Lions had a second and goal from the one but couldn’t move the ball. On the third down play, quarterback Clay Rhodes kept the ball and headed for the end zone but an illegal motion play moved the ball just back outside the 5-yard line. Laxavier Battee picked up one-yard on the next play bringing in Jose Mata to try for a field goal on fourth and four. Mata’s kick sailed through the uprights and the Lions got on the board first 3-0.
The Mexia team couldn’t muster any offense and Kaufman got the ball back on their own 49-yard line. The Lions then put together an offensive series that would end with Battee taking the ball into the end zone with 4:01 left in the half. The scoring drive would include an 11-yard pass from Rhodes to Cameron Duncan, and runs from Desmond Williams, Holley and Josh Ramirez. Mata connected for the PAT and Kaufman went up 10-0.
Mexia would get on the board with 59 seconds left in the half when Broderick Reeves found the end zone. The extra point attempt fell short and the half ended 10-6.
Kaufman’s halftime adjustments were the key to the second half, York said. “We went in at halftime with the score 10-6 and talked about what needed to be done. Our team did a great job coming back and played the best 24 minutes of football they’ve played all year long.”
When the game resumed after Mexia homecoming activities, the Lions would start on their own 30 and work their way down the field behind the running of Battee, Holley and Ramirez. Battee would take the ball into the end zone from the 11 and Mata’s kick would put the Lions ahead 17-6 with 7:46 left to play in the third.
The Black Cats would answer by stringing together an offensive series that ended with Ladarius Chivers took the ball on the Kaufman 19 and picked his way through the Lions secondary to find the end zone. The Cats were successful in their two-point conversion attempt and with 4:28 left in the third period, the Cats would close the gap to 17-14.
The Lions would march right back down the field and Duncan and Rhodes would connect for a 5-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 left in the period to put the Lions up 23-14. Mata’s kick made the score 24-14.
The Mexia team would come close to scoring again after Kaylon Watson found the sideline and rambled for 46-yards to the Kaufman 9. They team would pick up four more yards before the Kaufman defense took over and forced a five-yard loss. As the fourth quarter began, the Cats had a 3rd and nine. The Kaufman defense would again step up and drop the ball carrier for the loss and force a fourth down. The Cats tried for a field goal but the ball fell short to keep the score 24-14.
The Lions would add to their lead with 6:53 minutes left in the game when Ramirez found the endzone from four yards out and Mata’s PAT sailed through.
“We’re hoping to take the win and build on the rest of the year,” York said.
The Lions will face the Rains Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Homecoming game.
Prior to the game, the 2012 KISD Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced.
At 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12, the 2012 KISD Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon will take place. Tickets are $10. Service organizations are invited to coincide their meetings with the Hall of Fame luncheon for $8.50.
For additional information or tickets, call Paulette Murrah at 972-932-2622.