CADDO - The final “Bryan County Bowl” (for awhile, at least) featured long runs on both sides of the ball, but in the end the Caddo Bruins took a 34-20 win over the junior varsity Lions from Durant.
Tanner Grace of Caddo danced around the JV Durant defense on his way to three touchdowns of 20, six and 65 yards respectively. Durant’s Tyler Stovall scored two of the three Lion touchdowns - both from over 90 yards out.
In the end, it was the swarming defense for Caddo (2-1) which prevented the JV Lions from making up yards and got the offensive Bruins into good field position. A second quarter interception for sophomore Zack Walker of the Bruins put some defensive points on the board for Caddo.
“Those guys can really go when they want to,” Caddo Coach Jeremy Proctor said. “I can’t say enough him, and about these seniors coming back and really becoming a force. When you need those little yards, those tough yards, you go to those guys right there. And we go to Tanner, he’s our work horse and the guys know that and it helps us out a lot.”
Caddo took a 20-0 lead midway through the second on a keeper for QB Wyatt Wright, Walker’s INT and Grace’s first TD on a 20-yard run. Senior Joao Lima hit two of the three point-after attempts.
But moments after Grace found the end zone, Durant’s Zachary McCullar broke the defense for a 70-yard score. Evan Armor got the point-after and the Lions trailed 20-7 at the half.
The defenses banged away in a scoreless third quarter, with nice stops on both sides of the ball. Austin Hawthorne had eight tackles, and Juan Chavez had a hand in many stops, as did Logan Toler, Allen Baker, Dustin Foskey and others.
“We didn’t have a week one game, and that helps get your defense ready,” Proctor said. “So this will really help catapult us into the districts.”
Durant rallied for 13 points in the fourth quarter, but those were met by 14 from Caddo. William Voyles got the ball into the red zone to start the fourth, setting up an opening-play score from the six for Grace. Stovall returned the ensuing kickoff for a 95-yard score for the JV Lions making it a 27-13 game.
Caddo was forced to punt on the next drive, and Durant returned John Woods was thrown down by Chavez. The Bruins recovered a fumble on the very next play.
But McCullar and Gunnar Springfield kept pressure on Grace and other Caddo ball carriers. The JV Lions regained possession, setting up an impressive pass from QB Dakota Finley to Stovall for a 90-yard combo touchdown. Armor’s kick was good and it was 27-20 Caddo with 6:50 to go.
Grace had one last dance in him, a 65-yard shake-and-bake for a touchdown and a 34-20 lead. The Bruins defense held out and Caddo picked up a win.
The Bruins will return to 8-man football (Class B) in 2014, meaning the 11-man Durant JV squad won’t be calling next fall. Caddo travels to Stratford next Friday for their first district contest.