In their 40th meeting, the Cougars and the Unicorns put on a show to remember.
In a contest with five lead changes, the Cougars (3-0) came out on top over the Unicorns, 35-32.
New Braunfels (2-1) got on the board first, as quarterback Leighton Adams connected with wide receiver Lance Beeghley for a 10-yard back-shoulder grab in the corner of the end zone to go up 7-0 with 4:29 left in the first quarter.
Canyon answered quickly on a 72-yard pass from quarterback Deuce Adams to wide receiver Xayvion Noland. It was the gunslinger’s first completion of the contest. The Cougars missed the point-after attempt, leaving them one point behind at 7-6.
The Cougars made up for it on their next possession early in the second quarter as they drove 56 yards in nine plays, capped off by a 7-yard connection from Deuce Adams to Noland. A successful 2-pt conversion gave them a 14-7 lead.
New Braunfels started the following drive hoping to take the lead but could only muster a 35-yard field goal and trailed 14-10.
An interception thrown by Leighton Adams in the final minute of the half gave the Cougars the ball at the opposing 25-yard line.
With a chance to go up by double digits, the Cougars got 12 yards away, but on a quarterback keeper, Deuce Adams fumbled the ball out of the end zone, giving the Unicorns the ball back to end the half.
At the start of the second half, Eli Adams fumbled on the kick return, giving New Braunfels possession on the 11-yard line. The Unicorns did not make anything of the opportunity, as they ultimately went backward and missed a 32-yard field goal.
The Unicorns finally took back the lead on their next possession, as a 39-yard run by running back Tyree Johnson set up Leighton Adams to punch it in at the goal line, for a 17-14 lead.
The Cougars responded by traveling 78 yards in 13 plays, with Deuce Adams connecting with Eli for a 13-yard touchdown to go up 21-17 with 3:07 left in the third.
New Braunfels struggled in its following two possessions, as the team turned the ball over twice, including a fumble recovered by the Cougars 13 yards away from the end zone.
The contest picked up in the final period, as the Cougars punched it in via a 13-yard run by Elias Gonzalez, extending their lead to 28-17 with 10:23 left in the ballgame.
Canyon’s defense took its foot off the gas pedal the next drive, watching the Unicorns go 75 yards in eight plays. Running back Mteule Pettes ran in for the score, followed by a 2-pt conversion to receiver Vantz Mills, making it a one-score game, 28-25, with 7:17 left.
As the Cougars went three-and-out on their next drive, the Unicorns took the ball back at their 30-yard line with 5:16 on the clock.
It did not take long for the Unicorns to get on the board again as Leighton Adams found Mills down the middle of the field for a 46-yard touchdown, taking back the lead and the momentum, 32-28.
With 3:27 left at their 20-yard line and town bragging rights on the line, the Cougars proved the moment was not too big for them. They traveled the field’s length in nine plays, capped off by a clutch touchdown from Deuce Adams to Eli Adams, to vault ahead 35-32.
However, with 1:44 still left, the Unicorns still had a chance to tie. They started strong as Leighton Adams connected with receiver Elijah Gonzales for 30 yards, but the moment was fleeting as they turned the ball over on downs, and Canyon could finally celebrate.
The victory snaps New Braunfels’ seven-game winning streak in the rivalry, but the Unicorns still hold the series lead 32-8.
The Cougars will start district play next Friday against Boerne Champion, while New Braunfels will host non-district Pflugerville Weiss.