PONDER — The first 24 minutes were scoreless, but Ponder (1-1) needed only 15 seconds coming out of halftime to score the eventual game-winning touchdown as the Lions defeated Alvord 13-6 on Friday.
Christian Worthington found a seam on the kickoff return to open the third quarter and raced into the end zone.
“I always like close games; it’s fun,” Worthington said. “[The win] is a big boost to our team.”
In addition to the kick return, Worthington delivered on offense. He ran the ball four times for 42 yards and caught two passes for 40 yards — one of the receptions a touchdown early in the fourth quarter that gave Ponder a 13-0 cushion.
The Bulldogs (1-1) wouldn’t quit, however, scoring from 51 yards out when a deflection by Ponder went straight into the arms of Alvord’s Joe Randall and made it a 13-6 game. But with a chance for a game-tying drive with three minutes left, Ponder’s defense sacked quarterback Cassidy Patterson on consecutive plays to end the game.
Lions head coach Glen Schuelke took the late defensive stand as a sign of maturity from his team. After the previous coach left to join the staff at Denton Guyer, Schuelke took over the team just 10 days before the start of fall workouts.
“We struggled at times, and we still had a few mistakes,” Schuelke said. “But like I said, we’re going to get better every week. Alvord was a pretty good challenge.”
The Lions (1-1) are still coming together. Brady Anderson had not joined the team last week in a 35-6 loss to Muenster but played a majority of the game at quarterback. He finished the night completing 4 of 10 passes for 25 yards and added 39 yards on the ground.
“I’m brand new, coming on in August, so things are a little different right now,” Schuelke said. “We’re a little more lenient on who can play right now”
Alvord missed a scoring opportunity in the second quarter. After reaching the Ponder 9-yard line, the Bulldogs marched back 20 yards on consecutive penalties. The second, an offensive pass interference on Lane Peace, was initially ruled a touchdown. An exhausted Alvord team would turn the ball over on downs to end the scoring threat.
“I was pleased with our kids’ effort,” Alvord head coach Curtis Ennis said. “We’re a small school with 26 kids playing varsity. When you play both ways, you get tired, but that’s no excuse.”
Ponder will play at Fort Worth Castleberry at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Ponder 13, Alvord 6
PD — Christian Worthington 84 kickoff return (Jose DeLeon kick)
ALV — Joe Randall 51 pass from Cassidy Patterson (Lane Peace kick failed)
PD — Christian Worthington 25 pass from J.J. Torres (Jose DeLeon kick failed)
Rushing — ALV: Joe Randall 16-52, Troy Morales 1-3, Damon Ledet 1-2, Jaylon White 1--2, Cassidy Patterson 3--19, PD: Trey Dunlap 24-69, Christian Worthington 4-42, Brady Anderson 4-39, J.J. Torres 3-6, Jacob Whited 1-5, Spencer Waldo 2--23.
Passing — ALV: Cassidy Patterson 14-32-0-226, PD: J.J. Torres 1-1-0-25, Brady Anderson 4-10-0-25.
Receiving — ALV: Lane Peace 8-100, Joe Randall 3-76, Jaylon White 2-65, Troy Morales 2-17, Heath Walker 1-5, PD: Christian Worthington 2-40, Jose DeLeon 1-37, Nate Betterton 1-8, Trey Dunlap 1-2.