SAN ANTONIO – The undefeated Panthers came looking for a fight and the Brennan Bears gave it to them.
From the start, the Bears (6-4, 5-1) looked to force O’Connor out of its comfort zone, and they did. For about a half. As O’Connor would eventually wake up from its slumber and nail a 26-yard field goal in overtime to win the district, 44-41.
The Panthers (10-0, 6-0) started with the ball and drove down the field quickly, before an untimely interception. Brennan’s defensive back Jaylen Bussey picked it and took it to the 15. Five plays later, the Bears found the end zone for the first of what would be six times.
Brennan dominated the first half. Everything that could go its way, did. It led the way with 28 points, using quick drives and long plays along the way. Big senior target Alexander Wise would finish with eight catches for 180 yards. As big of a pain as he was in the Panthers side Thursday night, it wasn’t anything coach David Malesky wasn’t expecting.
“He’s really fast, he’s really big and has great hands and he’s a great competitor,” Malesky said. “Those are the kind of kids you get when you play in a district championship game. They’re going to stand up and they’re going to make big plays. Roel and that young man. That’s why were here playing for the district game. It’s a shame someone had to lose that game, it really is.”
Going into halftime down 28-20 was definitely not apart of the original O’Connor plans. But coach said a stern halftime talk and adjustments from his staff helped. It showed on the field as his team allowed only two second half touchdowns. The first, a four-yard Amani Arvelo rush with 11:17 left in the third quarter.
The second wouldn’t come until there was 3:44 left in the game. In between, the Panther defense held the Bears to three punts and a fumble on four drives.
“This no question will go down as one of the top games of my career,” Malesky said. “As long as they put 48 minutes up there on that clock, I think our kids will come out and play and not give up and that’s what they did tonight.”
A huge reason for the Panther win was Roel Sanchez with 256 yards on 28 carries. He helped carry the team with five of its six touchdowns.
“It’s incredible and he’s one of the reasons we’re in the position we are in,” Malesky said of his quarterback. “Yah, he had 250, but those guys up front did an incredible job blocking for him. Two, the one touchdown we had a receiver blocking 40 yards down field and freed a guy up.
“Roel is an incredible player and I’m glad he’s on our team, but this was without a doubt was a huge team win.”
Never Say Never
O’Connor finish’s this season undefeated, the first in the schools history. Coach Malesky was ecstatic after the game, saying he never would have thought he’d be here, but he’s ready to start the playoffs.
“I never in a million years would imagine coaching a football team that was 10-0,” Malesky said. “There’s not a lot of those running around and this group of seniors has been a special group, they’ve won a lot of football games… I am so excited about us winning the district championship right now.”
Gerald Tracy is an assistant editor of Texas football for TexasHSFootball, covering prep football in the San Antonio region. Follow Gerald on Twitter, @GTracySports, and read more of his content here.
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