BULVERDE — In the end, the Jourdanton Indians were left heartbroken in a 35-28 loss to Hallettsville at Smithson Valley’s Ranger Stadium on Friday night in the Area Round of the playoffs.
The biggest factor into Jourdanton’s downfall could arguably have been the play of Hallettsville’s junior running back Jonathon Brooks, who finished the night with 319 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
“It was a heck of a ballgame. They’ve got a running back as good as I’ve ever coached against and I’ve been a head coach for 15 years,” Jourdanton head coach Darrell Andrus said. “I think the hardest thing is knowing it’s over. We’ve had those seniors since the seventh grade and that’s the first group we’ve had at that level, from seventh grade on [through senior year]. I think that amplified it a little bit.”
With the score tied at 14 to begin the second half, Brooks made a couple of cuts and went 75 yards to the house to put the Brahmas up 21-14 on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. He would engineer one-play drives on two separate occasions en route to ending Jourdanton’s season.
Jourdanton senior defensive lineman Derek Jenschke said Brooks’ offensive line did everything right to free up the 6-foot-2 back with an offer from the University of Texas already on the table. Brooks agreed.
“Their offensive line, I will give it to them, they’re physical, they’re fast,” Jenschke said. “It was just bad keys by the defensive line, stuff we could’ve fixed. Like I said, they’re just a tough physical team.”
The one-play drives helped the Brahmas also take the air out of the Indians’s sails after the two evenly-matched teams were neck-and-neck in every statistical category at halftime. But you could argue the momentum swung over when Hallettsville’s Lane Linhart hurled a last-second pass 27 yards to Travis Matula over a Jourdanton defender to tie the game up at halftime.
“I think that play and a couple others really gave them the momentum,” Andrus said. “I was really impressed with their running back, Jonathon, getting better as the game went on. He played both ways and never came off the field. … That play at the end of the half was definitely a momentum swinger, but I felt good. We were kicking off with the wind at our back. From a football standpoint, I felt good. If you had told me a 14-14 ballgame with these guys, with 24 minutes to find a way to win it, I would’ve been fine with it.”
But, despite Brooks guiding Hallettsville to a two-touchdown lead with 8:13 left in the game, the Indians didn’t fold. With 5:28 left in the game, Cole Andrus hit Jacob Reyna for an 8-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 35-28 at the end of a 10-play, 94-yard drive. The drive was set up by a big, 26-yard grab by senior Colin Borth to get the Indians out of the shadow of their own goalposts.
“That’s what we’re built on, being able to have explosive plays and being able to ground and pound,” Andrus said. “I think, unfortunately, we weren’t as explosive — the first half is really the one. I feel like we had two or three drives [stall] … I just really felt there were more opportunities in the first half where it could’ve been 21-7, 28-7.”
After Cole Andrus plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the Indians were held scoreless for their next three drives, which included two punts and one turnover-on-downs.
Andrus would finish the night 18-of-34 passing for 226 yards and three touchdowns with another score added on the ground.
Andrus’ love for his senior class was reciprocated by the players graduating the program. They’re thankful for the memories they’ve made.
“[The memories] are very special,” Colin Borth said. “These guys are like my brothers. It was very special. We came up short, but I had fun.”
The Indians finish the season 10-2, marking their first 10-win season since 1970. The Indians will now await their new district come February’s realignment by the University Interscholastic League.