The Playoffs Are Here So Let’s All Cheer!
By Chris Forgey – BloomingGroveTX.com
Rice is nice as everyone knows
But Friday night belonged to Blooming Grove.
When you’ve got what it takes it usually shows
When the playoffs kickoff, to Waco we’ll rove.
The playoffs are here! The playoffs are here!
And our Lions have passed the first test.
The playoffs are here so let’s all cheer
As our Lions compete with the best!
No matter what comes we’re proud of our team
We’ll give Rogers too much and more.
The offense! The defense! The special teams!
Through it all our Lions will roar!
Lions Extend Season with Win Over Rice; Will Face Rogers in Playoffs.
It was simple. Win and you’re in. Lose and your season is over. The Blooming Grove Lions came into the last regular season game of the year needing a win over Rice to snatch the final playoff seed in District 9/3A-2. The Rice Bulldogs faced the same situation. With both teams entering the game with 1-3 district records, only one of them would qualify for the post-season. The game promised to be a hard-hitting battle between two hungry teams.
Rice took the ball first and was not able to muster very much offense in the beginning. The Lions drew first blood on a 38-yd drive capped off by a Jr. Juanya Pyburn 6-yd run for a TD. After Sr. Tyler Ellis’ extra point, BG led 7-0.
On Rice’s next possession they seemed to be staggering offensively, much like they had earlier in the quarter. However, on 3rd down from their own 26 and facing another possible punt, Jr. QB Dylynn Anderson dumped off a short pass to Sr. RB Chris Atchley who plowed through the BG defense for a stunning 74-yd TD. Score was quickly tied 7-7, which was the score at the end of the first period.
The 2nd quarter turned into a defensive battle in the trenches. Both teams’ defenses managed to hold the opposing offense to little or no yards. Both teams kept to fairly conservative game plans on offense, attempting very few passes and mostly running the ball. The offensive highlight of the 2nd quarter came when Rice RB Chris Atchley broke loose and was headed for a second potential TD but was cut short by a TD-saving tackle by Sr. Dylan Newland at the BG 46-yd line. Rice punted later on that drive. BG was able to sustain two drives deep into the Bulldogs’ territory but both times came up short on converting a 1stdown when they needed them. On both drives the Lions kicked 32-yd field goals. With the score 10-7, BG got the ball at their own 20 with less than a minute left in the half and drove to the Rice 15, only to settle for a second Tyler Ellis 32-yd FG. Score at the half was BG 13, Rice 7. The first half was a dogfight between two teams desperate to extend their seasons.
BG got the ball first in the second half and scored on a 3-yd Juanya Pyburn TD run. Up 19-7, Coach Lawrence Williams opted for a 2-point conversion and was successful on a short run by Pyburn to make the score 21-7 in favor of the Lions. Down by two touchdowns with their season on the line, Rice went to work on offense and put together an impressive drive of their own. BG Jr. Lane Goodwin also had a TD-saving tackle on a long run by Rice RB Chris Atchley, who was the Bulldogs’ key weapon on the evening, scoring all of their TDs and gathering most of their yards on offense. Atchley scored on a 12-yd TD run to cut the Lions lead to 21-13. However, the extra point was missed. That missed extra point would eventually haunt the Bulldogs. The Bulldog kicking game was ineffective for most of the game. The missed extra point was huge but they also were rarely able to kick the ball off for more than 20 or 25 yards, giving BG favorable field position to start several drives.
The 4th quarter began with Big Blue up 21-13. But the Bulldogs were not ready to call it a season just yet. Starting at their own 20-yd line, QB Dylynn Anderson fed the ball to Atchley numerous times on another time-consuming and efficient ground attack. On this drive, it was Juanya Pyburn who stepped up with a big tackle to prevent Atchley from scoring his third TD on the night. Eventually, Atchley found the end zone on a 14-yd run which put Rice within two points of the lead. Atchley was given the ball for an up-the-middle run on the 2-point conversion attempt but this time the BG defense was ready for him. Atchley was stopped short of the goal line and the score remained 21-19 in favor of the Lions. With time becoming a factor, the Lions took over at their own 40 and needed to control the ball the rest of the way and either run out the clock or score another TD to put the game out of reach. On perhaps their most important offensive drive of the season, they were essentially able to meet all three objectives. The BG offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, giving Ellis and his arsenal of running weapons plenty of room to romp down the field and burn up the clock. Jr. Tyler Baumgartner had a nice 18-yd run. Ellis had a nice 18-yd run of his own and was complemented with several punishing runs by Sr. Daniel Camarillo. Throughout the game Ellis was also able to count on Jr. Jared Obenour for the occasional run for key yardage. When Ellis scored on a 6-yd keeper with 57 seconds to play, it put the Lions up for good. Needing two scores with less than a minute to play, Rice had a 55-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by Jr. Sergio Gonzales but it was stopped short on another fantastic BG open field tackle, this time by Jr. Brody Owens. Had Gonzales gone all the way it would’ve made the last few ticks on the clock even more exciting. But for the Bulldogs it wasn’t meant to be. The game ended with the only turnover of the night, an inconsequential BG interception on the final play of the game. Final score: Lions 28, Rice 19.
Big Blue ended the regular season on a short 2-game winning streak which put them in the playoffs. Beating Rio Vista and Rice on the last two games of the regular season was necessary to keep their playoff hopes alive. In the end, the players, coaching staff and hometown fans were rewarded with a playoff berth. Their next task will not be an easy one. The Lions (6-4 overall, 2-3 district) will face the Rogers Eagles (8-2 overall, 5-0 district), a tough team who enters the post-season on an 8-game winning streak and winners of the District 10/3A-2 title. The game will be played next Thursday, November 13, 7:30 pm, at the Waco ISD Sports Complex, 1401 S. New Road, in Waco.
Chris Forgey – www.bloominggrovetx.com
Watch the game in it’s entirety here:
Photos courtesy Cindie Phipps
SCORING BY QUARTERS:
Rice 7 – 0 – 6 – 6 – TOTAL 19
Lions 7 – 6 – 8 – 7 – TOTAL 28