LAMPASAS — Down 23-7 at halftime, the Canyon Lake Hawks came back to defeat the Lampasas Badgers in a 34-30 bout Friday night.
The win makes the Hawks (6-3 overall, 5-0 in district) the sole winner of the District 13-4A-I championship heading into the playoffs.
The Badgers set the stage early in the first quarter, forcing a fumble and recovering at the Hawks’ 49-yard line. A big run by freshman running back Jett Walker set the team up at the 20-yard line, leading to a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
Lampasas did not waste time, scoring only two minutes later as senior wide receiver Ethan Moreno caught a 44-yard touchdown pass. Another 2-point conversion gave the Badgers a 16-0 lead.
Down two scores, Canyon Lake got its first score late in the first quarter. The Hawks recovered a muffed punt, leading to a goal-line score from senior running back Helijah Johnson.
Into the second, the Badgers scored a 24-yard touchdown pass courtesy of Moreno and senior wide receiver Owen Stubbs, keeping Lampasas in the lead at 23-7.
The Hawks pushed through with what they had in the third quarter and eventually scored a touchdown courtesy of senior running back Helijah Johnson. They failed to convert on the 2-point attempt, leaving the score at 23-13.
The Badgers almost got a two-score lead off an 89-yard touchdown run, but they were called for holding, erasing the points.
Canyon Lake used the opportunity to score a touchdown of their own, courtesy of senior wide receiver Chase Anderson, making it a one-score game at 23-20.
With a slim lead, Lampasas slowly worked its way up the field for a touchdown, only leaving 3:32 on the clock.
The Hawks quickly responded as Johnson ran in for a 10-yard touchdown, and the Hawks trailed 30-27 with 2:07 on the clock.
Canyon Lake failed to recover on the onside kick, but Johnson recovered a fumble on the Badgers’ third play, giving the Hawks possession at their 43-yard line with 1:34 left and no timeouts.
With an opportunity to win the game, senior quarterback Hunter Anderson found Chase Anderson first for a 33-yard completion, bringing the Hawks within field goal range at the 12-yard line.
With 1:10 to go, the Badgers called the timeout, stopping the clock and giving the Hawks a chance to regroup.
A few plays later, on a third-and-goal scenario with 0:37 left, the Badgers took another timeout, leaving the Hawks a chance to draw up a play.
Out of the break, Hunter Anderson rolled out to his left, avoided pressure, and threw a pass into traffic, but it was miraculously caught by senior wide receiver Marshall McConnell in the end zone, giving the Hawks a 34-30 win.
The Hawks will face Uvalde in the bi-district round of the UIL Class 4A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 at Edgewood Veterans Stadium in San Antonio.