Smith, Bonham steal one from Cats, 21-20
By Richard Greene
The Pilot Point Bearcats kept District 12-3A MVP Dra Smith bottled up most of Friday night.
But the Bearcats’ own mistakes gave the Bonham Purple Warriors’ quarterback one chance too many and he made them pay. Smith orchestrated a two-play, 65-yard for a touchdown with 1:07 remaining. He then ran in the two-point try to lift Bonham to a 21-20 season-opening victory at Massey Stadium.
Smith ran for 44 yards on 17 carries. He added 112 yards through the air, completing 9 of his 20 attempts with an interception.
“The last drive he said give me the ball,” said Bonham coach Cody Bounds. “That’s what the great ones do. He wanted the ball and the guys on the team said give him the ball and I’ll block for him. I’m proud of him.”
Pilot Point dropped the game despite outgaining Bonham 412 to 217. The Bearcats were flagged for 12 penalties for 120 yards, including a penalty on a 38-yard touchdown run by DaCoven Bailey that would have put the Bearcats up two scores in the fourth quarter.
Pilot Point also committed two turnovers, including Bonham’s Jacob Kemp 63-yard interception return that tied the game at 13 with 1:12 left in the first half.
“Penalties and turnovers — the same old story,” said Pilot Point coach Rob Best. “We gave them a touchdown and had one taken away. You can’t do that and win. We’re a good football team but we can’t overcome those mistakes.”
After what would have been Bailey’s third touchdown of the night was wiped off the board, Pilot Point turned the ball over on downs at the Bonham 35 with 1:36 remaining. The Pilot Point defense had held Smith to 31 yards rushing and 66 yards in the air through 46 minutes and Best thought his team would be able to hold the lead.
“As well as we had played defense, I thought we’d hold them,” Best said. “The defense kept him bottled up most of the night.”
On first down, Smith connected found Greg Moses loose in the Pilot Point secondary. Fifty-six yards later the Purple Warriors were at the Pilot Point 9.
“We had a missed call,” Bailey said about the pass play.
The next play, Smith dashed around the right end to the end zone to make it 20-19.
Bonham coach Cody Bounds elected to try for two rather than kick the extra point. Smith proved his coach right with another run around the end to pay dirt to give his team its lone lead of the night.
“You go for two on the road,” Bounds said. “For our team as hard as they fought it was all or nothing.”
Suddenly down, Pilot Point started with the ball at its 12 with 54 seconds left. A pass interference call moved the ball out to the 27 but Pilot Point never moved another yard.
Pilot Point had its opportunities to put Bonham away behind the big night from Bailey. The sophomore put Pilot Point up 13-0 midway through the second quarter with his second touchdown of the night — a 5-yard reception from Travis Garrett.
Bailey opened the scoring with a 65-yard run up the middle in the first quarter. Bailey finished with 136 yards rushing on 10 carries. He caught four passes for 54 yards.
Bonham’s two big plays — a 50-yard touchdown run by Tristan Hart and the interception return by Kemp — knotted the game at halftime at 13.
Pilot Point broke that tie midway through the third with Tristan Jurecka rumbling into end zone from 14 yards out. Jurecka, who did not play in either of Pilot Point’s scrimmages after having ankle surgery over the summer, rushed for 102 yards on 18 carries.