Billies downed by Pirates in bi-district football action
The Battlin’ Billies gave Waco La Vega all it could handle in the Class 4A DI bi-district round and were within two scores at halftime.
La Vega’s speed proved to be too much in the end.
Fredericksburg High School football lost to the La Vega Pirates, 47-23, on Friday night in Pflugerville, ending the Billies’ season in the first round for a second straight year.
The Billies had the lead halfway through the first quarter and pulled within 12 points late in the second quarter, but La Vega responded to every FHS score with a sudden strike from the offense.
“I’m proud of the way we battled,” FHS head coach Lance Moffett said. “This was a great football team we played. We had to play our hearts out. It got away from us in the fourth quarter. We thought we could flip the switch (on them).”
Pirates running back John Richards led his team with several explosive plays, including touchdown runs of 57, 60 and 76 yards.
The Billies held a 7-6 lead halfway into the first quarter after senior linebacker Caleb Wilkins forced La Vega quarterback Jamal Williams to fumble the ball at the La Vega 25-yard line.
It took five plays for FHS to get the ball in the end zone, with junior Hobbs Price running past the goal line untouched for the score.
Senior Daylon Nebgen’s kick gave FHS the lead with 6:56 on the clock in the first quarter.
La Vega responded with Richards’ 70-yard run to score to retake the lead at 12-7 after a failed point after attempt.
Richards struck again after FHS turned over the ball on the next drive, running 60 yards for a touchdown. The Pirates hit the extra point for the 19-7 lead with 4:46 left in the first.
Another FHS turnover led to a La Vega scoring drive that extended the deficit to 26-7.
The Billies’ defense held La Vega in check for a long stretch in the second quarter and produced a score of its own after Wilkins and senior defensive end Trevor Kozielski teamed up to sack Williams in the backfield.
The duo’s hit knocked the ball loose and senior defensive tackle Cullen Yates scooped up the ball and raced 61 yards down the field for a touchdown, pulling the Billies with 12 points of the Pirates.
“That’s not a common thing for a defensive lineman to score a touchdown,” quarterback Brant Bowers said. “They had four turnovers, a bunch of sacks. That’s what kept us in the game.”
The Pirates struck back fast, getting seven more points on Richards’ 76-yard TD run and an extra point following the score.
Nebgen, kicking with the wind at his back, made a 45-yard field goal as the half expired to put FHS within 17 points, which was as close as the team was to the lead for the remainder of the game.
FHS’ season ended with a 6-5 record, including 1-3 in District 14-4A DI.
Billies coming back
Bowers took over the offense during the second quarter and threw for 147 yards and a touchdown.
The junior threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Shae Slaughter in the fourth quarter.
Junior running back Willie Sebera ran for 50 yards to lead the team.
FHS loses a good core of seniors — including seven starters on defense — but brings back a lot of offensive skill players next season.
Bowers, Sebera, Price, sophomore safety/wide receiver Jarrett Beard, junior wide receiver/safety Joshua Handley, and junior tight ends Don Flannery and Hayden Ahrens are projected to return for the FHS offense.
“Even though we had a lot of seniors, we had a lot of young guys playing this year,” Bowers said. “I think if we can learn from what we did this year and learn from our mistakes, then we can go out next year and do what we need to do.”
Three-fifths of the offensive line returns, with sophomore guards Landon West and Travis Cates, and junior tackle Dalton Keener eligible for another season.
The defense has heavy losses, but defensive ends Christian Avilez and Ahrens will be back along with junior defensive tackle Jacob Wubbolding.
Junior outside linebacker Dax Dietrich, junior cornerback Gary Sorola, and safeties Beard and Price also return for the defense.
The graduating seniors are Javier Sorola, Caleb Wilkins, Daylon Nebgen, Will Flannery, Jaime Ortega, Sean Majors, Shae Slaughter, Trevor Kozielski, Calvin Todd, Cullen Yates, Eston Epton, Bryce Erwin, Ryan Cates, Kyle Ritter, Gideon Kruse, Kaiser Forcade, Jacob Wienecke, Luis Neri and Dominick Petsch.
La Vega leaders
Richards ended the night with 289 rushing yards on eight carries. Senior running back Cameron Henry had 11 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns, and Williams threw for 211 passing yards and two scores for La Vega.
“I thought the defense played well,” La Vega head coach Willie Williams said. “The offense stunk up the place the first half and made too many turnovers. They gave us some problems. They did some things we didn’t expect.”
La Vega advances to an area-round game against Kingsville King. That game is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.
Score By Quarters
FHS 7 10 0 6 – 23
La Vega 19 14 7 7 – 47
La Vega-John Richards 57-yard TD run, (XP no good), 10:20.
FHS-Hobbs Price 1-yard TD run, (Daylon Nebgen XP good), 6:56.
La Vega-Taequan Tyler 70-yard TD pass from Jamal Williams, (XP no good), 5:33.
La Vega-J. Richards 60-yard TD run, (J. Hernandez XP good), 4:31.
La Vega-Cameron Henry 1-yard TD run, (J. Hernandez XP good), 11:56.
FHS-Cullen Yates 61-yard fumble recovery for TD, (D. Nebgen XP good), 4:20.
La Vega-J. Richards 76-yard TD run, (J. Hernandez XP good), 3:54.
FHS-D. Nebgen 45-yard field goal, :04.
La Vega-C. Henry 11-yard TD run, (J. Hernandez XP good), :53.
La Vega-Johnathan Brown 45-yard TD pass from J. Williams, (J. Hernandez XP good), 11:05.
FHS-Shae Slaughter 14-yard TD pass from Brant Bowers, (XP no good), 2:59.
FHS La Vega
74-38 Yards Rushing-Carries 33-347
169 Yards Passing 212
14-36 Passes Comp-Att. 8-14
2 Passes Intercepted 1
243 Total Offense 559
5-0 Fumbles-Lost 3-3
18 First Downs 17
5-45 Penalties 6-55
FHS-Willie Sebera, 17-50; Brant Bowers, 12-(-)5; Hobbs Price, 3-(-)4, TD; Shae Slaughter, 2-14; Jarrett Beard, 2-10, TD; Josh Handley, 1-7; Will Flannery, 1-2.
La Vega-Cameron Henry, 11-57, 2 TDs; John Richards, 8-289, 3 TDs; Kemoche Hobbs, 6-23; Jamal Williams, 6-(-30); Joshua Bryant, 1-8.
FHS-Brant Bowers, 10-20-147-0, TD; W. Flannery, 4-14-22-2.
La Vega-Jamal Williams, 8-13-211-1, 2 TDs.
FHS-Sean Majors, 3-26; J. Handley, 3-21; Don Flannery, 2-44; H. Price, 2-25; J. Beard, 1-18; Hayden Ahrens, 1-14; S. Slaughter, 1-14; W. Sebera, 1-7.
La Vega-Johnathan Brown, 4-110, TD; Taequan Taylor, 3-91, TD; Demicco Chambliss, 1-5; J. Bryant, 1-5; Jacorrey Coaster, 1-1.
Billies season stats
Passing: Will Flannery, 80-165-1,471 yards, 16 TDs; Brant Bowers, 21-41-332 yards, 4 TDs; Hobbs Price, 16-27-233, TD.
Rushing: Willie Sebera, 119-960 yards, 8 TDs; H. Price, 70-552, 8 TDs; B. Bowers, 39-240 yards, 2 TDs; Tristan Sanchez, 33-281 yards, 2 TDs; W. Flannery, 30-143 yards, 5 TDs; Jarrett Beard, 19-66 yards, 2 TDs.
Receiving: Sean Majors, 30-598 yards, 11 TDs; Don Flannery, 17-299 yards, 3 TDs; Joshua Handley, 16-194 yards, 1 TD; W. Sebera, 10-136 yards, 1 TD; Hayden Ahrens, 9-202 yards; T. Sanchez, 9-177, 1 TD; J. Beard, 7-123 yards, 4 TDs.
Total tackles: Bryce Erwin, 100; Calvin Todd, 81; Cullen Yates, 62; H. Price, 57; J. Beard, 50; Daylon Nebgen, 48; Trevor Kozielski, 42; Gary Sorola, 35; Caleb Wilkins, 33; Jacob Wienecke, 31; Jacob Wubboulding, 30.
Sacks: C. Yates, 7; H. Ahrens, 4; Cristian Avilez, 4; T. Kozielski, 4; D. Nebgen, 3; J. Wienecke, 3.
Tackles for loss: J. Wienecke, 7; D. Nebgen, 6; C. Avilez, 5; C. Wilkins, 5; C. Yates, 5; Dax Dietrich, 4; B. Erwin, 4; D. Nebgen, 4.
Interceptions: Luis Neri, 2; B. Erwin, 1; J. Handley, 1; Jaime Ortega, 1; H. Price, 1; Hasting Wilson, 1; Devin Cantu, 1.
Forced fumbles: J. Beard, 2; H. Ahrens, 1; B. Erwin, 1; D. Nebgen, 1; H. Price, 1; G. Sorola, 1; C. Yates, 1.
Pass breakups: D. Dietrich, 7; G. Sorola, 4; J. Ortega, 2, C. Todd, 2.
Kicking: D. Nebgen, 8-12 FGs (long of 45 yards), 33-34 XPs; 10 touchbacks.
(bold indicates player is returning)