Pirates fall to Thorndale, season ends - hccommunityjournal.com: Sports

Pirates fall to Thorndale, season ends

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Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 5:09 pm

LLANO – Center Point had their playoff appearance cut short by the Thorndale Bulldogs in a 58-23 decision during a Class 2A Division-I bi-district football game played at Yellowjacket Stadium in Llano on Thursday night.

The Pirates outscored Thorndale (9-2) 16-13 in the second half, but the first half damage had already been done.

Center Point also gained 150 rushing yards after halftime, topping things off with 137 contributed by Kolten Kitchens with 24 carries. Alex Valadez added 93 on 12 totes, had two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions.

Also adding to the Pirates' 272 ground yards were Jake Laque with 33 and Alvaro Bustamante with nine. Bustmanate completed the team’s lone pass when he took a pitch from Kitchens then swung it back to Kitchens for nine yards.

But it was the first half when the ‘Dogs bit hard and did the most damage by scoring rushing touchdowns that covered 51, 91, 22, 59, 17 and 14 yards, along with a 41-yard pass that was the only completion of the game by the team from Milam County.

“We just could not duplicate them in practice,” said Center Point head coach Guy Walters. “They are a good football team,” Walters said.

Evidence of Bulldog talent came immediately after the Pirates’ first punt of the game, which found Thorndale on its own 49 yardline and where Michael Herzog raced 51-yards on Thorndale’s first snap and scored with 9:41 to go in the first quarter. The missed extra point was definitely the most glaring hole for the Bulldogs, who connected on only four of nine in the game.

Another punt during Center Point’s second possession pinned Thorndale at its nine yardline, but once again it took the Thorndale only one play to reach the endzone when J.D. Alcalar sprinted 91 yards. Herzog kicked the extra point and  Thorndale led 13-0 with 6:47 still remaining in the opening period.

Herzog switched to defense after kicking off and promptly intercepted a pass that gave Thorndale its third offensive series of the game at Center Point’s 46-yard line. It took two plays to score and Jagger Rubio was the scorer with a 22-yard blast. Ridac Maraz came on for an injured Herzog and booted the point after for a 20-0 Thorndale lead witt 5:36 still to go in the first quarter.

The Pirates continued to be collared by the Bulldogs after two more Thorndale touchdowns at the beginning of the second quarter off another Jagger Rubio jaunt of 59 yards and Kyle Northcutt throwing 41 yards deep to Mickai Mitchell. Both touchdowns were set up when Center Point fumbled away two consecutive kickoffs. Despite failures on both its extra points, Thorndale held the lead 38-0 with 11:27 before halftime.

A short punt positioned Thorndale at Center Point’s 7 yardline with 5:03 before halftime and a successful PAT after Branson McCoy’s 14-yard run dug Center Point’s deficit to 45-0.

The Pirates finally mustered an error free march of 56 yards that concluded with a touchdown by Kitchens from the 10 yardline. Alvaro Bustamante’s kick helped the Pirates go in at halftime with something on the board, though behind 45-7.

In the third quarter, the Pirates stiffened somewhat against Thorndale’s ground game and made the Bulldogs work for some of what they got, starting with a six-play, 59-yard march that finally culminated with Mason Lindig’s 1-yard plunge at 8:28 of the third quarter.

Center Point’s best series started with 8:19 remaining in the third quarter and ended with 4:10 on the clock when Valadez fell into the endzone from the 3 yardline and then scored the two-point conversion, bringing the score to 52-15.

Thorndale’s final score in the fourth quarter happened with a 21-yard run by Maddox Rubio, followed by a missed PAT, but Thorndale’s lead was 58-15 with 11:49 left in the game.

The Pirates' scored for the final time in the game and their season season with six ticks on the game clock when Valadez punched in his last touchdown of his high school career from four yards out and again did the honors for two points.

Valdez is one of 11 seniors who have been part of four consecutive playoff treks.

Roster spots open up with the loss of Valadez, along with Kolby Vincent, Cody Daily, Trent Cabaniss, Bryan Arreola, Nick Noehle, Michael Haese, Fernando Fuentes, Joseph Carmouche, Abel Bustamante and Leo Martinez.

“These seniors have given us so much and I can’t say enough positives about them,” said Walters. “They have grown over the past four years and provided some good thigs for our program. They will be missed."

The bi-district faceoff was the third such between the two schools and Thorndale holds the edge 3-0 in games dating to 1991, 2018 and this year’s tilt.

Center Point ended its year with a 6-5 record

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