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.
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.