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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Wildcats beat Wimberley off Birr’s toe and a defense that refused to break in a 17-14 nail-biter

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In the year of defense at Kennedale Wildcat Stadium, it is not as important the number of points that are on the scoreboard as it is the number of points that have been prevented.

Friday night was a perfect example. Kennedale and Wimberley clashed in a defensive battle, ripping and tearing into the offensive line of each. The Kennedale defense won that overall battle, even contributing 2 points on a safety to the scoreboard.

Why was this a defensive battle?

  • Wimberley averaged just 1.8 yards per carry for a grand total of 35 yards in four quarters of play. The Texans had been averaging 136 yards per game.
  • Kennedale, who lives by the ground game, scrapped out 120 yards on 34 attempts for 3.5 yards per carry. Up to this game, the Cats averaged 227 yards per game. (Note: Kennedale played without 2 offensive starters in this game – one on the line and the other in the backfield).
  • Wimberley scored 14 points for the night but had been averaging 33 total points per game while allowing an average of 17.4 against.
  • Wimberley held Kennedale to 17 points on the night when the Wildcats had been averaging 40.8 points per game while allowing 8 points average against.
  • Another story of this game how many possessions ended in punts or turnovers. Each team would punt five times and Kennedale rarely punts.
  • Wimberley had three possessions end either on a fumble, interception, and a safety. While the Wildcats had one turnover on a fumble.

Wimberley forced to rely on passing game

Wimberley enjoyed much better success in the air with 25 catches for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Texans were averaging 234 yards per game and improved on that mark.

The Wildcat D, though, was able to slow down the success of the passing game by the constant harassment of the Texans’ quarterback. Wimberley QB Maddie Tippie (SR) did complete 56% of his passes (25 of 45) for 277 yards and 2 TD but he had 1 interception, was sacked 5 times with 1 pass break-up, and 6 quarterback defenses. He ended up with a minus 41 yards on the ground.

A big plus for the Wildcats was the play of defensive end Pa’ton Bragg (SR) who had a monster game and was a key part of that harassment. He recorded four quarterback sacks and the game’s lone safety. It goes without saying that All-State safety Jd Coffey (SR) is crucial to the Kennedale defensive scheme. He is all over the field on any given play. He ended this game with 8 tackles but just his presence on the field always heightens the anxiety of any opposing quarterback and his receivers. Braden Waters (JR) led the team in tackles with 15 while sophomore Tyler Choice ended the nights with 5 tackles, 1 interception along with a pass break-up. Senior Miguel Arias had 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack and 1 quarterback defense.

Kennedale defensive style is aggressive which bleeds over in specialty teams may have had an effect on Wimberley’s kicker who was 0 for 2 in field goals including a last-minute kick that fizzled out before reaching the uprights.

And about Kennedale’s kicking game …

Which comes to the play of Kennedale’s all-purpose kicker Aidan N Birr (JR). He has been at the center of all the close games that the Wildcats have had this year. In the first game of the season, Birr kicked a field goal with 3 seconds left on the clock to cap a comeback win over Sunnyvale 28-27. He was also the point-man of the 3 point win in overtime that Kennedale had a few weeks back over FTW Benbrook when his kick broke a tie for a 16-13 victory.

He knows how to kick lon……….g!

Aidan is not perfect, he is 5 of 11 on field goals this season but he worth more than field goals and extra-points (34 of 36).

So far this season, he has had 41 touchbacks on kick-offs. This is invaluable in preventing any number of big returns while also causing opposing teams to travel the length of the field on one possession after another.

And on punts, he has had coaches across the field swearing as his kicks have soared, providing the same effect as his kick-offs. When he has room to kick the length of the field, he has more often than not had punts of 50 plus yards, again putting opposing teams deep in their own territory. Against Wimberley, he placed a 50 yarder right on the one-yard line (unfortunately one of the Kennedale players inadvertently knocked it into the endzone).

Stats & Box Score


Kennedale Offensive Stats …

Team totals

  • Rushing – 120 yards on 34 attempts for a 3.4 yard average, 1 TD and 1 fumble.
  • Passing – 87 yards on 5 of 11 attempts and 1 TD.

Individual totals

  • QB Jeremiah Myers (SO) – 5 of 11 passing for 87 yards for a TD and rushing for 36 and a TD
  • Cameron Lyles (SO) – rushing 46 yards on 17 attempts, 1 reception for 44 yards
  • Marlete Joyner (SR) – rushing 38 yards on 15 attempts
  • Zach Theford (SR) – 1 reception for 28 yards and 1 TD
  • Jaylen Webb (SO) – 1 reception for 4 yards

Kennedale Defensive Stats:

Team Totals – 9 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 safety, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass break-up, 6 quarterback defenses

Individual Totals

  • Ba’ton Bragg (SR) – 4 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 pass break-up, 1 safety, 4 quarterback defenses
  • Braden Waters (JR) – 15 tackles, 1 for loss
  • JD Coffey (SR) – 8 tackles, 1 pass break-up
  • Antoine Martin (JR) – 8 tackles
  • Kameron Sallis (SO) – 6 tackles, 1 pass break-up
  • Tyler Choice (SO) – 5 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass break-up
  • RJ Pepper (JR) – 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
  • Chris Washington (JR) – 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback defense
  • Miquel Arias (SR) – 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 quarterback defense

Game Summary …

Q1 0-0

The Wildcats elected to kick-off and Wimberley starts on the W25 after a touchback.

Kennedale dropped Wimberley for a loss on the first play but Wimberley struck back, moving quickly downfield to the KN39 and helped by two major pass completions. The Cats did mount a strong defensive stand and drove Wimberley back to the KN49, forcing the Texans to punt.

Kennedale placed the first points on the scoreboard on their next possession with an 81-yard drive that was capped by a 28-yard pass from QB Jeremiah Myers (SO) to Zach Thetford (SR). The drive also featured a Myers to Cameron Lyles (SO) 44-yard pass completion. With Aidan Birr‘s extra point kick, the score was 7-0 with 5:40 left in the first quarter.

Wimberley and Kennedale then exchanged punts before the first quarter ended with the Texans on their 38-yard line.

Q2 7-0 Kennedale

Kennedale and Wimberley started the 2nd with an exchange of punts. But then on Wimberley’s next possession, QB Tippie threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to receiver Ty Pruitt (SR). Pruitt would end the night with 119 yards and two TDs. The score with the point-after kick was then tied at 7-7. The time was 8:08 in Q2.

The Wildcats were held again but the Texans struck gold once again, this time on a 59 yard TD drive. The two play drive was a combination of run and pass but highlighted with a 35-yard scoring pass to Pruitt. Wimberley now had a 14-7 after the successful point-after kick. There were three minutes left in the half.

Kennedale fumbled on their next possession and Wimberley recovered on the KN47. Wimberley made the KN18 but the Cats pushed back and Wimberley was forced to attempt a 42-yard field goal with just 3 seconds left in the half. The attempt failed.

Halftime – 14-7 Wimberley

Q3 14-7 …

Kennedale’s first possession from the KN10 fizzled with a 3 & out. A huge punt by Birr from the KN5 was downed at the Wimberley 23 yard line – in70+ yards. Kennedale defense then stepped up with an interception on the WB47. The Wildcats scored 3 plays later with a 35 yard run by QB Jeremiah Myers. Then Myers pushed it over on a two-point conversion and Kennedale went ahead 15-14 with 7:32 in Q3.

On Wimberley’s next possession, the Texans knocked on the door once again driving to Kennedale 16 after a touchback kick by Birr. Cats, while allowing yards, fought back to force a Wimberley punt on a 4th and 30.

Kennedale, deep in their own territory, was forced to punt from the KN14. Birr delivered again, putting Wimberley back on their 30-yard line. Wimberley went nowhere and punted to the KN30. Quarter 3 ended with Cat in possession on KN41.

Q4 15-14 Kennedale

Kennedale was again forced to punt and Wimberley had the ball on the WB10. The Texans couldn’t advance the ball and had to punt on a 4th and 3 at the WB17. Kennedale, taking advance of decent field position, drove the ball to the Wimberley one-yard line but failed to cash-in. The ball went over on downs.

The Wildcat defense stepped up and two plays later the Wimberley QB is sacked for a safety. Cats added two more points for a 17-14 lead. The time left in the game was 4:42.

As the game wound down, Kennedale punted on their next possession on a 4th and 2 from the KN45. Birr’s punt went into the end zone and WB starts at WB20.

Wimberley ate up the last two minutes with a drive that reached the KN18 with 14 seconds left in the game. To the relief of Kennedale, Wimberley got a holding call and was backed up to the KN28. On a 3rd and 20, the Cats forced the Wimberley QB to throw away a pass.

With 4 seconds left on the clock, Wimberley attempted a field goal. It was shanked and fell short.

Game over – Kennedale 17 & Wimberley 14.

Next up Castleberry this Friday, November 6, 2020 at Castleberry

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