WACO — The visiting Kerens Bobcats got big plays from all three phases of the game - offense, defense, and special teams – but it was not enough to overcome a big night from Reicher Catholic’s quarterback Jake Boozer as the Cougars outlasted the Bobcats, 52-34, in both teams season opener Friday night.
Boozer passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another 143 yards and 3 scores on the ground as Reicher beat Kerens in a high-scoring game for the second consecutive year. The teams have combined for 150 points in the two games.
At first for the Bobcats, the season could not have started any better as Kerens recovered a Cougar fumble on the opening kickoff deep in Reicher territory. A nine-yard run and a eight-yard pass by quarterback R.J. Mornes quickly moved Kerens into a first-and-goal situation, but a penalty and an incomplete pass on fourth down stopped the drive.
Surprisingly, the defenses dominated the first quarter as the teams struggled to move the ball, combining for a total of 87 yards of offense.
With the start of the second quarter, the teams would begin to trade big plays and touchdowns.
Reicher got the scoring started on the second play of the quarter when Boozer found Eric Ochoa for a 38-yard touchdown pass to give the Cougars the first points of the night. Ochoa would have 5 catches for 78 yards and two scores on the night.
Two possessions later, it was the Kerens defense’s turn for a big play as Adaybran Davis picked off Boozer and returned it 51 yards for the first Bobcat points of the season to cut the Reicher lead to one, 7-6.
After Reicher pushed the lead back to seven, 13-6, the Kerens offense put together its best drive of the night, moving the ball 62 yards in six plays to pull back to within one, 13-12. Daniel Fernandez did the honors with a 1-yard plunge with just over 4 minutes remaining in the half.
The teams would again trade touchdowns as Kerens took its only lead of the night, 20-19, on a 60-yard run by Corey Davis with 2:34 remaining in the half.
Corey Davis finished the night with 134 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns.
After the Kerens defense forced a three-and-out with three incompletions on the ensuing possession, the Bobcats were in great position to add another score before the half and take control of the game.
But a fumble by the Kerens offense gave Reicher the ball at the Kerens 12-yard line with 1:24 remaining in the half.
Three consecutive carries by Boozer gave the Cougars another score and a lead they would not relinquish, 25-20, at halftime.
Reicher would take control of the game early in the third quarter on an eight-play drive that would push the lead to two scores for the first time, 31-20, midway through the period.
Kerens would use another big play by their special teams to pull within five points late in the third quarter when the Bobcats defense forced a punt, and a bad snap gave Kerens the ball deep in Reicher territory.
It would take Corey Davis one play to rush for a 19-yard touchdown to close the gap, 31-26.
Unfortunately for Kerens, the teams would stop trading scores as the Cougars scored the next three touchdowns to put the game out of reach.
It started with the ensuing possession as a 55-yard screen pass from Boozer to Ethan Fuentes set-up a short, 6-yard run by Austin Duron with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Fuentes would put an end to any doubts with an 87-yard interception return for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
The Bobcats would close out the scoring over the last 30 seconds on big runs by Josh Brown and Corey Davis, the latter with a 42-yard score with just six seconds remaining.
Kerens (0-1) looks for its first win of the season when the Bobcats make the western trek across Navarro County to face Golden Circle rival Blooming Grove next Friday.