YORKTOWN – Last Friday night, the Kenedy Lions battled the Yorktown Wildcats in the 15-2A Division I finale.
In one of the closest duels of the 2019 season, the Lions emerged victorious, by the score of 46-43, and secured the third playoff seed.
Furthermore, with the victory, the Lions have clinched their first winning season since 2014.
Kenedy head coach Shawn Alvarez said, “Yorktown has historically been a good football team, especially in the 90’s.
“This was one thrill ride of a game, and I’m so proud of these seniors that have endured so much in their four years with Kenedy football.”
The Wildcats drew first blood in the first 18 seconds of the game to go up 6-0.
The Lions roared back at the 4:16 mark, as Oscar Hinojosa scored on a two yard run. Jaydin Chapa passed to J’ren Salais for the conversion to put Kenedy up 8-6.
That score stood through the rest of the first quarter and into the second quarter.
With 6:19 to go, Salais added to Kenedy’s lead with a 14-yard run of his own.
The missed kick left Kenedy ahead 14-6. However, with 20 seconds left, Yorktown countered with a touchdown run to put it at 14-12.
The missed conversion left the Lions ahead at the break.
In the third quarter, both teams turned up the heat with two scores apiece.
Yorktown took the lead at the 7:33 mark, followed by Kenedy countering a minute later on a 14-yard run by Salais.
This made the score 20-18 in the Lions’ favor at that point.
The Wildcats added another touchdown at the 4:54 mark of the third quarter to go up 24-20.
But, the Lions roared back with 33 seconds left in the quarter to go back up 26-24 thanks to a 13-yard touchdown run by Salais.
That run was his third touchdown run of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the back and forth affair continued. The Wildcats went up 30-26 at the 9:01 mark with a touchdown run.
The Lions rallied back with 4:35 to go thanks to a 28-yard touchdown run by Oscar Hinojosa to go back ahead 32-30.
14 seconds later, Yorktown clawed back with a long touchdown pass.
On the ensuing Kenedy possession 10 seconds afterward, with 4:11 to go, Hinojosa broke free on a long, 54-yard touchdown run.
This gave Kenedy the lead again at 38-36.
Yorktown’s final counterpunch came with 3:29 to go with a long touchdown pass and extra point to go up 43-38.
The Lions retook the lead for go with 10 seconds left to play, as Salais scored his fourth touchdown run from two yards out.
The ensuing conversion run by Hinojosa sealed the deal for the Lions.
The Lions gained 26 first downs across 64 plays. However, they also committed 11 penalties for 108 total yards, and controlled the ball for over 32 minutes.
This week, the Lions will enter the 2A Division I playoffs against a familiar foe.
They face the Three Rivers Bulldogs for the second time this season, with this round taking place in Mathis. Kenedy will be the Home team for this Bi-District matchup.
Alvarez said, “We know what Three Rivers can do, and they do it well. Coach (Arturo) Lozano has a great bunch. We’re going to get back to work on studying them again, and go out there on Friday night and do what we do.”
Kickoff is set for Friday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
James Ratcliff is a high school sports contributor for The Karnes Countywide. He can be reached at 830-216-3864.