Bulldogs top Junction, set for Refugio

The Thorndale Bulldogs (5-6) had a bad taste in their mouths after losing to Junction (3-8) in the first round of the postseason in 2016.  The teams’ 2017 battle had a different outcome and the only thing on the Bulldogs’ mouth this time were smiles as Thorndale defeated Junction 48-7 on Friday night in Marble Falls.

Bulldogs head coach Scott Hawkins was please with the team’s performance and of the dedication the players have shown all season.

“We are very proud of our kids, these kids give us everything they have all the time. We, as a team, have had several battles and distractions this season as well as setbacks. the Bulldogs have never given up, have never quit,” Coach Hawkins said. “I can't say enough about each one of these young men and the dedication that they have put into the season thus far.”

The win sets up an area round showdown with No. 3 and defending state champion Refugio.  Game time is early, with a 2 p.m. kickoff on Friday at D.W. Rutledge Stadium/Converse Judson High School (900 S. Seguin Road) near San Antonio.  The Bobcats are 9-1 on the season and were champions of District 15-2A Division I.  Their only loss came on Sept. 29 at Geronimo Navarro.

Refugio only played two home games this season, as district facilities suffered damage when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Coastal Bend in late August.

Thorndale is the third place squad from 13-2A.

The Bobcats defeated its bi-district opponent Ben Bolt 57-0 last week.

“Refugio is the defending state champion—they are very talented, have great team speed and size,” Coach Hawkins said of the Bulldogs’ next opponent.  “We have seen all of these before. It is going to be a tough battle.  I will be surprised if it will be anything like the last two weeks. We will have to fight for everything we get this Friday, but hey, that is what football is all about.”

The winner of the Thorndale-Refugio contest will play the winner of Weimar and Holland in the next week’s regional semifinals.

In the win over Junction, the second place team from 14-2A, the Bulldogs tallied 307 rushing yards and 87 in the air.  The Bulldogs were not forced to punt at all in the contest.

Thorndale’s defense held the Eagles to just 144 yards of offense—76 rushing and 68 passing—and forced Junction to punt away the ball on five of its possessions.

Mason Fisher led the way defensively with six solo tackles, one assist, one sack and two tackles for loss.  Kolt Cauble recorded five solo stops on the night and with Scott Guzman and Ashton Albert collecting four solos and two assists each. Guzman also had a sack and two tackles for loss.

Lane Niemtschk collected to solo tackles and two assists and also knocked down two passes and intercepted another.  Cayden Nicholson tallied two solo tackles and two assists.

Also recording stops on the night were: Luke Leschber (2), Corey Preusse (2), Trey Ortiz (1), Corbin Preusse (1), Evan Ivy (1), Michael Herzog (1), Tyler Shillings (1), Cain Brymer (1), Mason Lindig (1).

Also recording pass deflections were: Cain Brymer (1), Trey Ortiz (1).

The Bulldogs put up 34 points in the first half alone against the Eagles.

Things got started when Coleby Driver found Trey Ortiz for a 53 yard touchdown reception with 9:53 to go in the first quarter. The conversion run attempt failed, but the Bulldogs led 6-0.

Luke Leschber would score on Thorndale’s next possession from 10 yards out.  Mason Fisher’s point after kick was good, lifting the lead to 13-0 with 5:49 left in the first.

Kolt Cauble punched it in from the one just six seconds into the second quarter.  Fisher’s PAT put Thorndale up 20-0.

The Bulldogs went to the air again for their next score.  Driver would find Ashton Schaefer on a 34-yard scoring route with 7:13 left in the second. Fisher’s PAT extended the lead further to 27-0.

With 2:19 left in the first half, Jagger Rubio scramble in from 17 yards out for a touchdown. Fisher’s PAT put the Bulldogs up 34-0 at the break.

The Eagles finally got their only score of the night on their first possession of the third quarter.  Brian Black broke loose for a 40-yard touchdown run.  Dustyn Lancaster’s PAT was good, cutting Thorndale’s lead to 34-7 with 10:35 left in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs answered back with a Scott Guzman touchdown run from four yards out with 5:38 left in the frame.  Another Fisher PAT extended Thorndale’s lead to 41-7.

The final touchdown came when Leschber punched it in from the two and Fisher’s six PAT of the night was true.

Leschber ran for 98 yards on 18 carries on the night, with Lane Niemtschk collecting 73 and Rubio 71.  Guzman garnered 50 points and Cauble had 15.

Driver completed two of two passes for 87 yards, both completions for touchdowns—one each to Ortiz and Schaefer.

Junction was led by a 50 rushing performance from Jordy Garza.  Brian Black completed four of his 15 pass attempts for 52 yards.  Top receiver was Trevor Humiston with two catches for 28 yards.