Trophy Club Nelson, behind a dominating defense and the running of Bryson Davis, clinched a postseason berth Thursday with a 43-16 victory over Hurst L.D. Bell at Northwest ISD Stadium.
The Bobcats started the season with five consecutive losses, surrendering 45 points a game during the stretch. Thursday, however, Nelson made its turnaround complete, finishing the regular season with four wins in its last five games to earn a spot in the Class 6A playoffs out of District 5-6A.
Nelson (6-6, 4-3 5-6A) and Euless Trinity, which defeated Flower Mound on Thursday, claimed the final 5-6A playoff spots with 4-3 records. Southlake Carroll and Hebron had already clinched the district’s top two playoff berths.
Davis, a senior running back, was the outstanding offensive player in the game despite sitting out the fourth quarter. He rushed 12 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns, and added 26-yard reception on a screen pass. Nelson quarterback Eli Rusche passed for 185 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters. The Nelson offense was so strong that the Bobcats never punted, while the defense forced three turnovers.
The Blue Raiders (3-7, 1-6) fumbled on their first two possessions, helping the Bobcats build a 10-0 lead.
Nelson recovered the first fumble on their own 34, using a 24-yard run and a 15-yard Bell penalty to set up a 44-yard field goal by Tanner Keogh. Nelson recovered the second fumble on the Bell 20. Three plays later, Davis scored on a 17-yard run, going untouched around left end.
Davis added a 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter as the Bobcats built a 24-3 lead. At halftime, Davis had 147 yards rushing on 11 carries. Davis upped the Bobcats’ lead to 31-3 on the first drive of the second half, scoring on a 13-yard run in his last carry of the game.
Ivan Traylor rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns for Bell.