The Klein Bearkats got all that they bargained for Thursday night in their 2018 high school football season opener against Cy Creek.
Running back D’Anthony Sims rushed for 161 yards and one touchdown and the defense returned two picks for TDs as Klein came away with a 28-27 win at Klein Memorial Stadium in a nondistrict bout.
“I think this is my 140th game as a head coach and I’d never seen one were we overcame the adversity we overcame tonight with the cramping, we’d never had kids cramp like this,” Klein head coach Shane Hallmark said. “I’m just so proud of them, they could have quit so many times.”
Cy Creek scored 21 points in the first-half. In the second half, the Bearkat defense held them to only six.
The difference came out to be a failed extra-point attempt early in the fourth quarter after Cy Creek RB Dawson Unruh scored to put them up, 27-21.
The only other scoring play after that came after a turnover on downs by Klein.
A couple of plays later Klein LB Coleby Hamm intercepted a pass from QB Julian Brown on the Cy Creek 27-yard line and returned it all the way for a touchdown to put the Bearkats up by one with seven to go.
“It was huge, we don’t have a lot of guys that played a lot last year,” Hallmark said. “It’s ironic that the two guys who played a lot for the last two years made plays.”
It was the second pick-six of the night for Klein.
“We turned the ball over too much, they didn’t turn the ball over,” Cy Creek head coach Greg McCaig said. “I think ultimately that was the difference in the game. We’ll try to clean that up.”
The Klein defense needed some stops late and they got them. Special teams came up big, blocking a 25-yard FG attempt to stay on top with four minutes left.
The Bearkats punted, giving the Cougars the ball back at the their own 49-yard line. They had three minutes to score.
It all came down to a 46-yard field goal try that came up short.
“Cy Creek probably outplayed us in a lot of ways but our kids found a way to win,” Hallmark said.
The first pick-six came by Klein defensive back Omar Battles early in the first, who returned it all the way from the 26-yard line to put them up, 7-0.
“Those are two guys (Hamm and Battles) that we expect to make plays that came up big,” Hallmark said.
After a turnover on downs by the Bearkats, the Cougars took advantage with a 56-yard TD run by running back Eddie Jimerson to tie the game at seven.
Jimerson finished with over 160 total yards and one TD.
A 63-yard TD pass from Brown to RB Legend Grigsby then gave the Cougars a seven-point lead in the second.
Klein wide receiver James Preston’s lone TD came near the end of the second quarter when quarterback Bryce Corriston connected with him for a 45-yard TD catch to tie the game at 14. Preston had three catches for 79 yards and one score.
QB Will Gipson also took snaps for the Bearkats.
Klein finished the first-half with 10 penalties, one of them a 15-yard penalty which gave the Cougars new life at their own end zone.
Brown’s two-yard TD run put the Cougars up 21-14 at halftime. Brown ended with 321 passing yards, three TDs and three picks in his first varsity start.
On Klein’s first drive to open the third Simms scored on a 31-yard run, the only score of the quarter, to even the game at 21.
“D’Anthony scored his first TD against Dekaney as a freshman, he’s been doing this a long time,” Hallmark said.
In the fourth, a 10-yard TD run by Unruh gave the Cougars a six-point lead after a blocked extra point.
Cy Creek finished with 461 total yards to Klein’s 271.
“It’s game one and we’ll take it, we learned a lot about ourselves tonight and maybe learned a bit about how we got to prepare better as coaches and players,” Hallmark said.