Billies stiff arm Panthers to take district’s fourth playoff spot
The Battlin’ Billies head into the playoffs with momentum after a shutout win on the road.
Bolstered by the defense’s second clean sheet of the season, Fredericksburg High School football rolled to a 35-0 win over the Austin Eastside Memorial Panthers in both teams’ regular-season finale Thursday night in Austin.
Senior quarterback Will Flannery threw for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore Jarrett Beard caught two touchdowns to lead FHS.
“The big thing is we’re 6-4, we’re in and we have to do something with a new season,” FHS head coach Lance Moffett said. “We get to start over and get rid of district. We get to go play a good team.”
FHS used four plays to strike first in the game, getting six on Willie Sebera’s 11-yard touchdown run.
Senior Daylon Nebgen, knocked in the extra point for the 7-0 lead at 8:48 in the first quarter.
The Billies started their next offensive drive with good field position and advanced Eastside Memorial territory, but a fumble handed the Panthers the ball at their 42-yard line.
The defense held Austin Eastside Memorial to two punts before FHS’ offense scored again, this time on a 27-yard TD pass from Flannery to Beard.
Eastside Memorial (1-8, 0-4) started the next drive at its 22-yard line and gained its first first down of the night, but senior Luis Neri intercepted a pass to give the Billies to ball at the FHS 43.
Flannery found senior wide receiver Shae Slaughter for a deep pass down field that almost gave Slaughter his first score of the season.
The senior fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line and into the end zone, which junior Hayden Ahrens fell on for a touchdown. Senior kicker Dominick Petsch, playing his first game of the season, hit one of his three PATs to put FHS up 21-0 with 4:35 left in the first half.
FHS (6-4, 1-3) held its 21-point lead into halftime and score two more times in the second half, getting a touchdown on a 26-yard pass from Flannery to senior wide receiver Sean Majors and a 17-yard strike from junior quarterback Brant Bowers to Beard.
“I thought we played good and executed well in the second half,” Beard said. “The first half we were rocky, but we got it together.”
The goal for FHS was to get as many seniors in the game as possible.
The Billies’ senior-led defense limited Eastside Memorial to 110 total yards and four first downs in the game.
“(It was) definitely our defensive line,” said senior Calvin Todd, who led FHS with 12 tacks, including three for a loss. “(Cullen) Yates, (Jacob) Wubbolding, our defensive ends. They’re committed, they’re big guys, strong and play with a lot of heart. They control the line up front and the linebackers get a lot of credit but they deserve it.”
Senior linebacker Caleb Wilkins had three tackles for a loss and Neri, who hadn’t started all season, intercepted two passes.
“We needed to win tonight,” Moffett said. “We knew we were going to win. We knew we could win. We were a little rocky on offense. We turned it over twice, but we were trying to do some things to be conducive to those seniors getting done what they needed to get done. I’m happy about the way we finished. I’m happy for our seniors.”
Eastside Memorial ends its season with another 0-4 record in district play.
Jeison Otano led Eastside Memorial with 43 passing yards and 31 rushing yards.
Both of the Panthers’ forced fumbles on defense came when FHS was driving into their territory.
Eastside Memorial’s young team, which included seven freshmen on varsity, stuck within two scores for most of the first half of the game.
“This team is better than last year’s team,” Eastside Memorial coach Darrell Crayton said. “I think we were in the game, we just had a lot of mishaps – a lot of inexperience. It may seem like we have a lot of seniors, but we only have four that play like seniors. The rest came out for football this year.”
Up next for the Billies is a bi-district rematch against the Waco La Vega Pirates.
FHS plays La Vega, who knocked the Billies out of the playoffs with a 43-18 in the 2016 Class 4A DI bi-district round, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Pfield in Pflugerville.
Score By Quarters
FHS 7 14 7 7 – 35 Eastside 0 0 0 0 – 0
FHS-Willie Sebera 11-yard TD run, (Daylon Nebgen XP good), 8:48.
FHS-Jarrett Beard 27-yard TD reception from Will Flannery, (D. Nebgen XP good), 8:20.
FHS-Hayden Ahrens fumble recovery in end zone, (D. Petsch XP good), 4:35.
FHS-Sean Majors 26-yard TD reception from W. Flannery, (D. Petsch XP good), 6:34.
FHS-J. Beard 17-yard TD reception from Brant Bowers, (D. Petsch XP good), 11:07.
FHS Eastside 30-177 Yards Rushing-Carries 41-67 167 Yards Passing 43 7-16 Passes Comp-Att. 3-7 0 Passes Intercepted 2 344 Total Offense 110 5-2 Fumbles-Lost 2-0 15 First Downs 4
FHS-Willie Sebera, 12-117, TD; Brant Bowers, 5-43; Hobbs Price, 4-11; Jarrett Beard, 3-9; Devin Cantu, 2-(-) 4; Joshua Handley, 1-10; Caleb Wilkins, 1-6; Hayden Ahrens, 1-0, 1 TD; Will Flannery, 1-(-) 15.
Eastside-Jeison Otano, 21-31; Roberto Perez, 5-9; Isiah Rodriguez, 5-3; Rolando Banda, 3-11; Eric Sepeda, 2-8; William Norwood, 2-6; Ethan Robbins, 1-2; Mikel Casas, 1-1; John Majano, 1-(-) 4.
FHS-W. Flannery, 5-12-137-0, 2 TDs; B. Bowers, 2-4-30-0, 1 TD.
Eastside-J. Otano, 3-7-43-2.
FHS-Sean Majors, 2-49, TD; J. Beard, 2-44, 2 TDs; Shae Slaughter, 1-56; H. Ahrens, 1-13; J. Handley, 1-5.
Eastsiide-I. Rodriguez, 3-43.