CEDAR HILL – Bullard gave the high-powered Mexia Blackcats all they could handle for four quarters plus, only to have a game-winning two-point try in overtime come up inches short in a 35-34 barnburner, at Cedar Hill's Longhorn Stadium on Friday night.
It wasn’t fireworks as everyone projected for the speedy Blackcats.
However, popping off big plays when they needed them late in the game made up a 28-14, fourth quarter deficit for the overtime win.
Bullard quarterback, Tristen Shewmake led the way the entire game running for three scores, and threw to two-way gem, Jaxson Elliot for two other scores in the contest.
Answering the Blackcats overtime score, and kick, Shewmake took control once again,
The senior set up the overtime touchdown with two runs down to the Blackcats, 7-yard line. Shewmake then found Elliot across the middle for the score, and possible even-up with the PAT kick.
Electing to end the game win of lose, the Panthers made the final call.
Shewmake dropped to pass then tucked and ran up the middle. Shewmake plunged for the goal line and appeared to have made the mark. However the ball was marked just inches short of the end zone, ending the Panthers season.
Both teams were deliberate all night long, mixing in timely passes with their respective established rushing attacks.
Mexia drew first blood when quarterback, Jaden Proctor sprinted in for a 30-yard run to start the scoring. The six-play drive was then capped off by Gustavo Martinez with the point-after kick for a 7-0 lead, and taking 2:28 off the clock.
Bullard bounced right back behind the senior signal-caller, Shewmake.
The senior ran for 36-yards of a 58-yard drive, running off the right side for the final 5-yards in the 2-minute, 24-second drive for the score. Ivan Ruiz was true with the PAT boot and a 7-7 scoreboard.
The next Blackcat drive took over at the 46-yard line after a failed onside kick attempt.
Seven plays later, J. R Deichler snagged a 10-yard scoring toss from Proctor to regain the lead, at 14-7 after the conversion.
It was the Panthers turn again as they churned out a huge 14-play drive that consumed 8:41 off the clock and resulted in another Shewmake touchdown tally from 2-yards away.
The Bullard defense made some big defensive plays that forced two Mexia punts and a turnover as the Panthers scratched their way to a lead.
Three straight fumbles by Mexia aided the Bullard defense in slowing the Blackcats, and eventually setting up a go-ahead score.
On the second play of the drive, Proctor lost the ball for the second consecutive play, after a nice run that was scooped up by Panther, Riley Long at the 30-yard line. Long converted to running back, and bulled down to the 5-yard line for a first down, and goal for Bullard.
One play later, Shewmake plugged in for the lead from 5-yards, and a 21-14 lead change.
The third Mexia fumble cost valuable field position, resulting in the first of two Blackcat first half punts to wind down the half.
Shewmake was on a mission, rolling up 94-yards on 14 carries, and his three rushing TD’s in the opening half of play alone.
Bullard took the second half kickoff and again began marching down the field.
Two Mexia penalties helped keep the ensuing drive alive before Shewmake found Jaxson Elliot from 8-yards out for the score, and 28-14 lead.
Another Bullard scoring opportunity fell short one drive later when Blackcat, Jalen Busby intercepted a Shewmake ofting in the Mexia end zone.
Panther, Bryson Luscombe then returned the turnover favor from the Blackcats with an interception of his own and the quarter ended with Mexia on the drive, down by two scores.
The ‘Cats finally got the offense rolling, and answered back with two long scores.
‘Cat’s running back, Jarrell Wiley busted loose for a 36-yard jaunt, and the score tightened with 10:52 remaining after another Martinez PAT kick was good.
Two possessions later, a trick-play tied the game with 5:56 left in regulation.
The Blackcat quarterback threw a lateral pass to the wide out, Deichler who then found Busby in the end zone for a tie game at 28-28.
Mexia started overtime with a three-pay score, capped off by Dre’Vaun Cooper’s, 14-yard run. Martinez then booted what would be the eventual game-winner.
The Panthers end the year with a 3-8 record.
Mexia (7-3), district runner-up to Waco-Connally advances to play Sunnyvale, a 25-13 winner over Pittsburg, next Friday night in the area round of the playoffs.
Class 4A, DII Bi-District Football
At Longhorn Stadium, Cedar Hill, TX.
Mexia 35, Bullard 34 OT
Mexia 14 0 0 14 7 - 35
Bullard 7 14 7 0 6 - 34
M: Jaden Proctor 30 run, Gustavo Martinez PAT kick good), 9:28
B: Tristen Shewmake 5 run, (Ivan Ruiz PAT kick good), 6:50
M: J. R. Deichler 10 pass from Proctor, (Martinez PAT kick good), 2:25
B: Shewmake 2 run, (Ruiz PAT kick good), 7:42
B: Shewmake 5 run, (Ruiz PAT kick good), 6:37
B: Jaxson Elliot 8 pass from Shewmake, (Ruiz PAT kick good), 9:08
M: Jalen Wylie 36 run, (Martinez PAT kick good), 10:52
M: Jalen Busby pass from Deichler, (Martinez PAT kick good), 5:56
M: Dre’Vaun Cooper 14 run, (Martinez PAT kick good).
B: Elliot 9 pass from Shewmake, (PAT run no good).