PONDER — In front of the homecoming crowd, Brennan Sooter rushed for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while quarterback Reid Sanders ran for three more as the Ponder Lions rolled to a 32-14 victory over Fort Worth Castleberry on Friday night.
“Sometimes, you have a letdown after a win,” first-year coach Russ Phillips said. “But we didn’t do that. This group of kids are a special group of young men. They give us everything they got on every play. As long as they do that, we can win football games.”
Tanner Yeager had six catches for 106 yards, while Christian Worthington added four grabs for 62 yards and an interception on defense as Ponder improved to 2-1 for the season.
After a poor opening drive, the Lions found their rhythm the second time around. Sanders hit Nick King twice on gains of 24 and 15 yards to march down the field. Sanders finished the drive with a 2-yard run to give Ponder a 6-0 lead.
Despite an Austin Leveridge interception on Castleberry’s ensuing drive, Ponder would be hexed with penalties to force a punt.
Ponder was not denied on the next drive. Sanders escaped defensive pressure to find Tanner Yeager for a 32-yard gain. The drive ended when Sanders found paydirt from 4 yards out. The following conversion was no good, making the score 12-0 early in the second quarter.
Castleberry finally gained some ground after JW Maxwell picked off Sanders and took it to the Ponder 26-yard line. A few players later, Castleberry scored on a Alex Scallion 4-yard run. The extra point made the score 12-7.
Ponder countered with flair. Brennan Sooter powered it up the middle and outran the defense for a 70-yard touchdown and a 18-7 lead at the half.
Castleberry got good field position on the second-half kickoff, but Christian Worthington got Ponder’s second interception to thwart the drive. Ponder took advantage as Sanders ran it in for his third touchdown of the day. Coleman James connected with the extra point to give the Lions a commanding 25-8 lead.
A 74-yard touchdown pass from Francisco Perez to Marcellyss Lewis trimmed the Ponder lead to 25-14. But Ponder would dominate the possession on the ensuing drive, holding the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter. Sooter put the icing on the cake with a 1-yard scoring run.
Ponder 32, Fort Worth Castleberry 14
P — Reid Sanders 2 run (kick no good), 6:18
P — Sanders 4 run (conversion no good), 9:53
C — Alex Scallion 4 run (Cristian Astorga kick), 6:52
P — Brennan Sooter 70 run (conversion no good), 2:11
P — Sanders 3 run (Coleman James kick), 2:25
C — Francisco Perez 74 pass to Marcellyss Lewis (Astorga kick), 8:32
P — Sooter 1 run (James kick), 2:02
Rushing — C: Alex Scallion 10-54, Francisco Perez 8-22, Sam Rubio 3-4, Jovany Hurtado 1-22. P: Brennan Sooter 28-174, Reid Sanders 10-25, Tanner Yeager 2-13, Austin Leveridge 1-14.
Passing — C: Francisco Perez 12-30-189-2. P: Reid Sanders 17-27-254-1.
Receiving — C: Marcellyss Lewis 4-109, Jovany Hurtado 4-54, JW Maxwell 3-14, Alex Scallion 1-12. P: Tanner Yeager 6-108, Christian Worthington 4-62, Nick King 2-39, Austin Leveridge 3-42,Brennan Sooter 1-9,Zach Turner 1-(-6).