Center opens district with dramatic win at Bullard

Roughriders lose lead, but come back to win, 39-35

2017 Center Roughriders (1-4)

Sept. 1 L @ Rusk 48-21

Sept. 8 L vs. Gilmer 56-17

Sept. 15 L Gladewater 17-3**

Sept. 22 L @ Diboll 45-42

Sept. 29 W @ Bullard* 39-35

Oct. 6 vs. Palestine* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 13 @ Chapel Hill* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 20 vs. Carthage* 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 27 @ Henderson* 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 3 vs. Kilgore* 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 10 BYE

* District game ** Homecoming

GAME STORY

The Center Roughriders kicked off 4A-Div. I District 9 play with a close 39-35 win over the Bullard Panthers, ending a four-game losing streak. 

“These are that games that matter,” head coach Barry Bowman said. “Probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was but we found a way to win in the end. It’s good to be 1-0.”

The Riders started the game off with confidence and determination to win. Freshman Marquez Hall scored a touchdown only 30 seconds into the game. Sophomore Alexis Lopez scored the extra point. 

Bullard responded a minute later with a touchdown of their own. The Panthers scored the extra point, equalizing the score to 7-7 with 10:53 remaining in the first quarter. 

Sophomore Devon Robinson gave the lead back to the Riders with 5:27 left in the first quarter. Lopez scored the extra point. 

With a minute left in the first quarter, Sophomore Jayden Hicks increased the lead after a 58 yard run. However, Lopez’ kick was deflected, keeping the score at 20-7. 

In the second quarter, Bullard scored another touchdown and extra point in 3 minutes, bringing the score to 20-14. 

The Riders were unable to score on their turn with the ball, despite being inside the goal line. Lopez did manage to score the field goal and further the lead to 23-14 

Bullard were forcefully attempting to claw their way towards an equalizer. With a minute and half remaining in the second quarter, Bullard scores yet again and brought the score closer together at 23-21. 

Senior Kaleb Parks ended the short lived celebration a minute after with a touchdown, ending the half with a score of 30-21. 

The second half started off well for the Riders, who recovered a Bullard fumble at kick-off. Yet, the Riders could not take advantage. So Bullard did. After scoring a touchdown with 5:33 left in the third quarter, Bullard brought the score back to a two point deficit at 30-28. 

The youth and inexperience of the Rider defense came back to haunt them. Only 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, Bullard finally made the comeback they were looking for. The score was now at 35-30.

The Rider offense could not take advantage yet again with the ball but Lopez scores another field goal, with the score now at a close 35-33.

Doubt crossed the minds of many, as it looked like the Riders losing streak would continue on for a fifth game. With 4:47 left in the final quarter, Hicks threw a touchdown pass to senior Jaterious Evans, putting the Riders back in the lead at 39-35. The Riders could not convert the two point conversion. 

In the final minute of the game, Bullard was at the Rider goal line. However, determined to finally end the losing streak and start district off with a win, the Rider defense did not allow Bullard to cross into the end zone for four downs. The ball was turned over to the Riders and the clock was left running. 

Once the buzzer rang, loud cheers from the Rider players, coaches, and fans rang throughout Panther Stadium. The four game losing streak was buried. The game was a roller coaster to say the least. It was a lot closer than many predicted but the sensation of the first victory was overwhelming. 

The Riders will hope to transition the momentum gained from tonight’s game into next week’s district game against the Palestine Wildcats at Roughrider Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Bowman said. “But we’re gonna remain in the race until it’s over.”

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter

Center's Marques Hall scores, PAT good, 7-0

Bullard scores, PAT good, 7-7

Center's Devon Robinson scores, PAT good, 14-7

Center's Jayden Hicks scores on 58-yard run, PAT fails, 20-7

2nd Quarter
Bullard scores, PAT good, 20-14

Center scores on Alexis Lopez' field goal, 23-14

Bullard scores, PAT good, 23-21

Center's Kaleb Parks scores, PAT good, 30-21

Third quarter

Bullard scores, PAT good, 30-28

Fourth quarter

Bullard scores, PAT good, 35-30

Center scores on Alexis Lopez' field goal, 35-33

Center's Jaterious Evans scores, PAT fails, 39-35

FINAL