However, Dilley had other ideas.
The Wolves responded in the second half with 21 unanswered points to take a 27 – 20 lead midway through fourth quarter.
“We did not perform well enough in the second half and they did,” Head Coach Randy Palmer said.
The Bulldogs dominated the first half scoring, putting up three touchdowns on rushes from Senior Troy Chowns (23 and 3 yards) and Junior Wes Guzman (39 yards).
Chowns led all rushers in the game with 74 yards on ten carries, and Guzman added 63 yards on seven carries.
Early in the second quarter, Dilley quarterback Will Urban found the endzone on a one yard rush, bringing the score to 6 – 13.
A couple of missed extra points by both teams would play a pivotal role later in the game.
In the closing seconds of the first half, Dilley looked in position to knot up the score deep in the Bulldog redzone. A great Three Rivers pass rush caused Urban to throw an errant pass that was deflected by Sophomore Dillon Guajardo as the first half clock struck zero.
Palmer said he was pleased by his team’s first half performance and pressure on defense.
After exploding for 14 points in the third quarter, all the momentum and swagger had shifted to the Dilley sideline. In addition, a third quarter kickoff return for a touchdown by Guzman called back for a block in the back led to stalled drive by Three Rivers.
Palmer was displeased with his team’s offensive execution in the second half, saying that the team “did not execute at a high enough level.”
However, it was another key play on special teams, that brought back hope to the Three Rivers’ faithful.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Senior Kaleb Gee rushed off the corner and recovered a bobbled snap by the Dilley punter in the endzone for a Bulldog touchdown. Gee also collected 18 tackles and three sacks in the loss.
“He played hard with a great motor,” Head Coach Randy Palmer said. “[Gee] made plays all over the field.”
A missed extra point brought the score to 26 – 27 with about six minutes left in the contest.
Dilley then put together a clock-chewing drive that stalled giving the ball back to Three Rivers with about three minutes left and no timeouts.
The Bulldogs started to pick up steam driving to the Dilley 36 yard line. With about a minute left, a Bulldog pass was intercepted by a Dilley defender, sealing a Wolves’ victory.
With the loss, the Bulldogs move to 2 – 2 in District 14 2A II, and are in the middle of a heated playoff race. Three Rivers will host district leader Poth (7 – 0, 3 – 0 District 14 2A II) Friday at Furlow-Johanson Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm.
The Pirates defeated the Wolves 41-0 in Poth two weeks ago.
“They are a good ball club and their kids play hard,” Palmer said.
“We’ll have to have a good week of preparation and play at a high level on Friday night.”