Fans from five different schools were watching Friday night’s regular season finale between Weatherford and LD Bell. The Kangaroos entered the game with a chance to make the playoffs while Bell was going for its first district win.
Richland and Abilene were other District 3-6A teams keeping an eye on the score. Arlington was the first-round opponent.
Behind two second-half touchdowns, the Kangaroos defeated LD Bell, 28-15, from Pennington Field to clinch their first playoff berth since 2007. They’ll play 4-6A champ Arlington in the Division II bi-district round at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Maverick Stadium.
“When the clock hit zero, I finally could take a deep breath,” Weatherford coach Billy Mathis said. “I’m so proud of the way they earned this win tonight and earned a right to play another week.”
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Leading 14-9 at the break, Ken Seals, the top pro-style 2020 quarterback in Texas, hit Jake Spooner for a 25-yard touchdown with 9:59 in the third quarter.
At the same time, Euless Trinity had a 34-3 lead against Richland at halftime. Abilene, which had a bye, needed both Weatherford (4-6, 2-4) and Richland to lose in order to clinch the final playoff spot.
“We kept hearing it over the loud speaker and that made it even sweeter,” said Seals about Richland, which ended up losing 48-3.
“I was nervous. I knew Trinity was favored to win, but you never know,” Mathis added.
Seals connected with Peyton Hudson for passes of 26 and 40 yards before scoring from the 1 to push the Kangaroos in front 28-9 just five minutes later.
“It’s a great feeling,” Seals said. “That attitude at halftime was electric. We picked up our game in the second and marched down and scored. They said it’s been over a decade and I’m just happy we were the ones that were able to do it.”
The Blue Raiders (1-9, 0-6) got within 28-15 when Landry Choate hooked up with Zion Hardy for a 18-yard touchdown on third-and-10 with 1:32 left in the third.
Bell finished with 368 yards of total offense, but fumbled late in the game while Carlos Amaro was there for the recovery.
“I have been a Weatherford Kangaroo my entire life,” senior defensive end Thayne Garnett said. “I’m so stoked and grateful to have this opportunity. Once the offense started to score, the defense kept rolling and there was no stopping us.
Bell, which was trying to play spolier and looking to snap a 17-game district losing streak, came out hot with a 10-play and 60-yard drive that lasted over four minutes.
Hardy threw a perfect half-back pass 25 yards to Connor Mullins for the touchdown. Bell missed the 2-point conversion, but led 6-0 with 7:46 left in the first quarter.
Seals led Weatherford on the ensuing drive. The Kangaroos went 60 yards on eight plays as Seals threw a screen to Hudson, who scored from 17 yards out that gave them a 7-6 lead with 4:22 in the first.
The Blue Raiders responded with a 34-yard field goal from Aaron Dozier to regain a 9-7 lead late in the frame.
But it didn’t long for Weatherford, which scored three plays later when Seals connected with Rey Huang for a 54-yard touchdown pass that gave the Kangaroos a 14-9 lead with 4:48 left in the half.
“I knew it was going to be great and I was going to give the team everything I had,” said Seals, who had to sit out last year after moving from Azle.
Hardy led Bell with 14 carries and 111 yards. Choate threw for 98 yards.
Seals was 13 of 25 for 256 yards and three TDs. Hudson made five grabs for 135 yards and a TD. Spooner added three catches for 41 yards and a TD.
Said Seals, “I knew we were going to do something special.”