By Brandon Holland
There were a lot of expectations and importance placed on last night’s game between the Judson Rockets and Cibolo Steele Knights, and both teams delivered, putting on a classic game for the spectators at Lehnhoff Stadium. After a tightly-contested affair, Judson came out the victor 51-48.
Unbeknownst to everyone in attendance, they were about to witness a 14-point come-from-behind battle, which including four lead changes, a special teams touchdown, onside kicks, hook-and-later, a double reverse throw, and turnover-free game.
To begin the evening Judson won the coin toss and deferred until the 2nd half. Steele promptly took advantage on the 2nd play of the game, as 5-Star Texas A&M Commit Jaylon Jones took a jet sweep 59 yards to the house to give Steele a 7-0 lead. After a defensive stand resulting in Judson being forced to punt. Wyatt Beagle found the end zone via a 20 yard TD run, capping off a 13-play drive, giving Steele the early 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
But, Judson quickly answered five plays later in a drive that featured De’Anthony Lewis runs of 40 yards and a 2-yard TD run. The Rockets had continued success in their run game on their next possession and tied the game at 14 on their next drive ending in Lewis’ 2nd TD of the evening.
The last score before halftime was by Steele with a 1-yard TD plunge by D’Quavion Thomas with just over four minutes to go until intermission. At this point, it was a modest 21-14 score with Steele in the lead.
Both teams ramped up the offense to begin the second half with a purpose of staking their claim as the top team in 26-6A. Judson came out the gates with a power run by Junior RB De’Anthony Lewis that went for 63 yards down to to the Steele 6-yard line. Judson promptly scored three plays later on an RPO by QB Mike Chandler, tying the game up at 21 all.
On the ensuing possession, Steele continued to pound the ball with Thomas and after six straight run plays found themselves in the end zone again with Thomas capping it off with a 2-yard run, giving Steele the 28-21 advantage.
At this point, the crowd sensed things were heated, with the intensity turned all the way up as both bands and fans are rocking supporting their schools.
After a kick return to the 30-yard line for Judson, Chandler had his longest throw of the game in which he accounted for 70 of his 179 yards passing to Senior WR Amarea Bailey on a go route. Chandler would finish the night 5 of 11 passing for 179 yards and a TD as well and rushing for 130 yards and 3 TDs. Chandler’s TD pass tied the game with each team having 28 points apiece.
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After both teams surprisingly stalled out on offense for a series, Sr. DB Xavier Spencer steps in as punter and boots a 49-yard punt to pin Steele inside their 5-yard line.
On first play for Steele, Thomas busted loose for a 42-yard gainer, moving the Knights close to midfield. The following play brought controversy as QB Beagel connected with Jaylon Jones for a 10-yard pass and he was promptly blasted by Judson DB Keron Napoleon which jarred the ball loose from Jones. It was called an incomplete pass by the officials but Judson fans weren’t happy as they believed it was a fumble. Three plays later, Thomas strolled in for an 11-yard TD. its now 34-28. The following extra point was snapped over the holders head and Judson Sophomore Trayline Payne took the loose ball back for a 2 point conversion.
Steele kicked it to DeAnthony Lewis who fielded at the 25 and returned the kick for 55 yards to the Steele 15 yard line. Judson kept feeding the beast in Lewis, who two carries later rumbled into the end zone giving Judson its first lead of the game 36-34. The extra point was good, with Judson ahead 37-34.
Four plays into the 4th quarter, Steele scored on a 32-yard TD pass from Beagel to Daryn McKnight. Steele regains lead 41-37 over Judson.
Both teams stonewalled each other on consecutive drives on 4th and 1 foa r turnover on downs and now Judson is back in possession.The Rockets put on an impressive 13-play drive again capped off by QB Chandler taking it in for a TD. the game is now 44-41 with 4 min remaining in the game.
Steele then mixes up runs and passes for seven plays and winds up back in the end zone from a RB Draw play to Thomas. The score is now 48 -44. with 1:59 remaining in the game.
Judson’s Chandler started the next drive scrambling for a 19 yard gain. which is promptly taken back due to a holding call. On the next play the down is 1st and 14 , The long distance connection happens again from Chandler to Amarea Bailey for 42 yards. there is now 1:29 remaining. on the very next play, Chandler connects with a 39 yard deep ball to Antony Shelton putting Judson at Steeles 3 yard line. ON the following play with 59 seconds left QB Michael Chandler battles his way into the end zone giving the Rockets a 51-48 lead.
Steele then runs an opening drive hook-and-lateral play that is almost taken to the house by Jaylon Jones but he was pushed out of bounds by Judson’s Alan Caracheco at the 45 of Steele. Judsons defense came up with a huge sack on the following play by Senior Dajuan Carmichael. After a deep ball attempt and a less successful hook and lateral. Steele was forced to attempt a hail mary from 55 yards out and the play was broken up by Keron Napoleon to end the night.