DeLeon bounces Riesel from playoffs with 44-21 regional semifinal win

Kevin Yeager completed 15 of 18 passes for 282 and three touchdowns while rushing for three more scores as DeLeon bounced Riesel’s Indians from the Class 2A playoffs 44-21 in Whitney Friday night.

As a reward for a job well done the newly crowned regional semifinal champion Bearcats get a rematch with their district champion San Saba in Brownwood Friday night at 7 PM.

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The Bearcats opened the scoring after an exchange of punts with the Indians pinned deep and only getting the ball out to their 41-yard line where DeLeon quickly went to work.

Yeager scored the first of a pair of matching 18-yard touchdown runs with 5:18 on the first quarter clock and a second score early in the second quarter and a 13-0 Bearcat lead.

Riesel lost starting quarterback Steven Searcy to a knee injury on the Indians next drive forcing tight end Will McClintock into the role.  McClintock engineered a scoring drive to make it a 13-7 game with 4:27 remaining in the first half.

The Bearcats’ Chris Cox responded to the score by turning a short pass from Yeager into a 62-yard touchdown, but McClintock had the answer with a 50-yard scoring pass to Jamariyan Howlett.

Not to be outdone, Yeager’s response was to Dawson Matthews on a perfectly laid out pass that Matthews caught without breaking stride as he streaked to the end zone for a 47-yard score and a 28-13 score at the half.

After a five-touchdown second quarter, both teams settled into a defensive battle in the third stanza with Yeager’s extended scramble allowing Matthews to break wide open for a 35-yard scoring reception.

Yeager added a 36-yard field goal to the Bearcats’ scoring efforts in the third quarter and finished out DeLeon’s scoring with a two-yard run with 6:56 remaining in play.

To Riesel’s credit, the Indians kept plugging away and added a 10-yard scoring pass to their efforts and the final 44-21 score.

While he didn’t score the return of Kelan Hodges to the Bearcats lineup was a huge shot in the arm for the running game. The senior who had been sidelined by a concussion was not expected to play again this season but was medically cleared to play last week.

Hodges ran for a game-high 74 yards on nine carries and gave DeLeon a ground threat they didn’t have when playing against San Saba earlier in the year.

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