SAN ANTONIO – A 34-yard field goal in overtime was the deciding score as the Judson Rockets beat the Johnson Jaguars 46-43 in Game 2 of the KSAT Pigskin Classic on Saturday afternoon.
Senior placekicker Adrian Cortes’ game-winning kick put the final exclamation point on a high-scoring affair that saw the Jaguars come back from a 27-7 halftime deficit.
Junior running back Nathaniel Stanley had a big game for the Rockets, rushing for 218 yards and two touchdowns. He was named Jon Wayne Player of the Game.
A missed punt from Judson at 4th-and-2 with 43 seconds remaining gave the Jaguars just enough time to complete their comeback, as sophomore quarterback Ty Hawkins found wide receiver Caden Rizzo in the area goals for the tying score.
In overtime, two angled passes by Judson’s defense stopped Johnson’s final possession, and a missed field goal left the door open for the Rockets’ final kick.
“The kids played hard on both sides of the ball,” Judson head football coach Mark Soto said. “We frantically, and that’s what we like.”
Judson’s offense rushed for 323 yards and four touchdowns, but Hawkins and the Jaguars refused to back down.
The dynamic second-year quarterback completed 22 of 38 passes for the Jaguars and had four passing touchdowns. He was also good on the ground, rushing over 150 yards.
Judson’s Stanley gave the Rockets a two-touchdown lead, bursting on a 54-yard touchdown on second-and-10.
A kick return changed the momentum and turned the pitch upside down for Johnson, but a costly penalty erased a touchdown pass from the board. That didn’t deter the Jaguars’ offense, however, as they scored their first touchdown of the season on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Hawkins to senior wide receiver Alejandro Tavarez, capping a five-play, 61-yard drive.
In the second quarter, Judson completed a 63-yard touchdown pass from senior Jaden Castillo to Jonathan Johnson, taking a 20-7 lead.
An interception by defensive back Miles Davis on an errant Hawkins pitch gave the Rockets another scoring chance just before halftime. A long run from Stanley put Judson inside the 10-yard line and Castillo finished the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, making it 27-7.
But that’s when things got interesting in the second half and Johnson made his unfortunate return. Wide receiver Caden Rizzo caught a pass from Hawkins to turn the field, and a long touchdown by Hawkins in fourth-and-1 cut the lead to 27-14.
Judson’s offense was unable to convert on their next possession and penalties initially fended off the Jaguars attack, but Hawkins again led the team on another scoring drive, Hawkins finding running back Lorenn Johnson on a touchdown pass to cut the lead even further, 27-21.
Judson then brought the fight back to Johnson, as Stanley opened up another long run to the 3-yard line. After three failed attempts to enter the end zone, Judson settled for a field goal to take a nine-point lead.
Hawkins then led the Jaguars on an 8-play, 90-yard drive in just under three minutes, ending with a 47-yard touchdown by Tavarez, to cut the lead to 30-28.
Two passing plays and another big run from Stanley put Judson back within scoring distance, with 9:26 left in the game. Stanley again got the carry and found the end zone, pushing the lead to 37-28.
Hawkins, showing composure beyond his years, led the Jaguars downfield and into goalscoring position. On first base, Hawkins again completed a touchdown pass to Lorenn Johnson, cutting the deficit to 37-35 with 5:30 remaining.
But like an intense fight, Judson responded with a long gain of his own on a completed pass from Castillo to Jonathan Johnson, then Castillo finished the drive with a touchdown run.
A costly interception on the first and 10 gave the Rockets the ball and set up Judson’s ill-fated punt attempt. Johnson would then go on to tie the game, sending it into overtime where Judson ended the game with a field goal.
The two head coaches, Mark Soto and TP Miller have worked together at Johnson High School for the past two years when Soto served as head coach and Miller as defensive coordinator. It was there that they helped lead the Jaguars to an undefeated regular season 10-0, only to fall to New Braunfels in the first round of the playoffs in a 51-45 shootout.
Soto decided to return to his alma mater, Judson, to become their new head coach, which led to Miller’s promotion from defensive coordinator to head coach at Johnson. Soto’s job is to get the Rockets back to the playoffs, after missing out last season with a rare 4-6. For Miller, it’s about continuing to build on what he brought to Johnson.
“I think Coach Soto and I are all about the kids,” Miller said, as he drew attention away from his first encounter against Mark on the other side of the pitch. “Obviously when we get on the pitch we are always going to compete. It will be a friendly competition, but it is about the community and the student-athletes.
Judson: At home against Austin Westlake, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
Johnson: Away vs. O’Connor, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
The KSAT Pigskin Classic is the first of its kind in the city of Alamo and kicks off the 2022 high school football season. The event features six local high school football teams over three games at one event a day at the Alamodome.
The August 27 triple header ends with Steele against Brennan. You can find more information by clicking here.
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