For a third consecutive week the Weatherford Kangaroos ended the game with an explosive second half, and for the third time they came away with a victory.
This time they topped Birdville, 33-32, at Kangaroo Stadium in a non-district game Friday night.
And, for a second straight week, they got a big play from the defense to preserve the victory as the Kangaroos started a season 3-0 for the first time since 2014.
Birdville (1-2) scored on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Stone Earle to Carter Self with 23 seconds remaining to pull within a point. Instead of going for a tie and overtime, however, the Hawks opted to try for a two-point conversion.
On the pass attempt, Weatherford’s Kheelyn Howard pressured Earle into an incompletion.
The excitement wasn’t over.
The Hawks attempted an onside kick, and it appeared to be recovered by Gage Haskin. However, a penalty forced a re-kick, and this time Howard fell on the ball for the Kangaroos at midfield. Quarterback Ken Seals took a knee and ran out the clock.
The Hawks led 16-10 at the half, but Kangaroos running back Dezmond Forrest erupted in the second half for three touchdowns on runs of 3, 28, and 4 yards, the last giving the Kangaroos a 33-26 advantage three seconds into the final quarter. Forrest, after being held to 34 yards on eight carries in the first half, ended the night with 124 yards on 24 carries.
Seals passed for 276 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Forrest that pulled Weatherford to within 9-7 early in the second quarter. It was Seals’ seventh touchdown pass of the season opposite two interceptions.
Seals also completed a pair of passes for two-point conversions to Nicholas Schwikal and Jorden Wheeler.
Earle passed for three touchdowns, two to Self. Their first connection of 5 yards put the Hawks ahead 26-25 late in the third quarter.
The loss spoiled a yeoman effort by Birdville running back Demarye Walker, who finished with a game-high 162 yards on 20 carries. He also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Earle to give the Hawks an early 9-0 lead.
After Weatherford countered with Seals-to-Forrest, Aiden Pallanes’ 21-yard run gave Birdville a 16-7 lead three minutes into the second quarter. A 22-yard field goal by Isaiah Gomez of Weatherford closed the gap to 16-10 at the half.
Birdville got a pair of field goals from Ethan Ballantine of 31 and 36 yards, giving them leads of 3-0 and 19-17.
The Hawks were playing without star running back Laderrious Mixon, who was out with a foot injury. Mixon, in the season’s first two games, had rushed for 342 yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries, while the rest of the team had 20 yards on a dozen carries.
The Hawks dominated the opening quarter time-wise, holding the ball for 8:56 of the 12 minutes. From there, Weatherford had an advantage of 21:27 to 14:33 over the final three quarters.
Both teams enjoyed success on third down, with the Hawks converting eight of 14 chances, and the Kangaroos being successful on six of 12.
The Kangaroos exploded for 35 fourth-quarter points in a season-opening 81-40 win at Granbury, in which Forrest accounted for almost 500 yards and scored 58 points. Last week they overcame a 23-13 deficit to win 34-29 at North Crowley.
This week’s victory avenged a 56-26 loss at Birdville last season.