SPRING BRANCH — Closing the regular season on its senior night, Smithson Valley blew out Seguin 56-17 on Friday.
The win makes Smithson Valley the sole bearer of the District 12-5A-I title, finishing with an undefeated district record.
“It’s a tough, competitive league,” head coach Larry Hill said. “I think everybody recognizes that, so be able to get through unscathed — yeah, we’re excited about it.”
The experienced Rangers (9-1 overall, 7-0 in district) were dominant in all phases of the game against the Matadors, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.
Despite visible lightning in the area, the game started with no delays and finished with no hiccups, leaving the Rangers to have an incredible start, as they went up 35-0 in the first half.
The first of those scores came at the hands of senior Brayden Badfidis, who dodged multiple defenders for a 33-yard touchdown.
The next three were passing touchdowns from senior quarterback Chase Senelick. He connected with freshman wide receiver Quentin Sampson for a 33-yard score and a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second, junior linebacker Nicholas Dudzikowski intercepted a pass, setting up the Rangers for a 5-yard touchdown from Senelick to senior wide receiver Kyler Clarke on a slant pattern.
On the following drive, the Rangers went for it on fourth-and-17 at the Matadors’ 24-yard line and converted as Senelick connected with senior safety/wide receiver Weston Ross for an 18-yard completion. It was one of three times the Rangers went for it on fourth and long.
“We have confidence in our guys, No. 1,” Hill said. “We felt like we missed on some opportunities earlier in [those] drives. Almost every one of those plays were plays we came right back to because we felt like we just left some crumbs on the table there. And we were in plus territory, and we have a lot of confidence in our defense. If it doesn’t work out, we’re gonna be alright.”
The series resulted in a touchdown from Senelick to Clarke on a shovel pass.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Matadors wanted to run a reverse on the return, hoping to get it to their dynamic playmaker senior wide receiver Devin Matthews. However, the Matadors messed up on the handoff, leaving Smithson Valley junior defensive tackle Jaxson Maynard to recover the ball and score a touchdown, extending the lead to 35-0.
With just over two minutes remaining in the first half, the Matadors ran a successful reverse on the kickoff, allowing Matthews to take it 34 yards. The return helped set up a 39-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half, bringing the score to 35-3.
Out of halftime, the Matadors marched down 75 yards in 15 plays, scoring a 4-yard touchdown on fourth and goal to cut into the lead, 35-10.
The Rangers responded with a touchdown in the fourth, handing the ball off to sophomore back Brad Sowersby eight times, including a 3-yard touchdown run.
Smithson Valley continued to pour it on, as Dudikowski caught his second interception of the night in the Matador backfield and ran it back for a touchdown, making it 49-10.
“He’s a great athlete, has great instincts for the game,” Hill said. “I think that shows on plays like that. That’s not just a physical, but a mental [play]... That’s not surprising; he’s that kind of player.”
Matthews got loose on the ensuing possession, scoring a 27-yard catch and run. Still, the Rangers topped it, as senior running Isaiah Vivians ran for a 92-yard rushing touchdown, bringing the contest to a 56-17 final.
“Isaiah has shown the ability to come in late in games and finish games off for us,” Hill said. “Ninety-two yards — that’s pretty special.”
With the regular season concluded with another solid all-around performance, the Rangers will turn their attention toward the playoffs. They will host the No. 4 seed in District 11-5A-I at home in the bi-district round starting Nov. 10-12.
“We got a little momentum before going into playoffs,” Hill said. “We know the road continues to get tougher, obviously, but we’re tickled with tonight’s outcome.”