By Bob Kowalski
The Legacy Broncos were bolstered by big defensive plays on the way to a season-opening 31-17 victory over Byron Nelson at Vernon Newsom Stadium on Friday.
The Broncos opened the scoring in a big way, with linebacker Camren Wilson intercepting a tipped screen pass on Byron Nelson’s opening possession and returning it 43 yards up the sideline for a touchdown barely 3 minutes into the game.
Another interception set up Legacy’s second score. Junior Max Harris stepped in front of a pass at the Legacy 21-yard line and returned it into Byron Nelson territory. After the Broncos’ drive stalled at the 3-yard line, Bryan Gomez kicked a 20-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead 4 minutes into the second quarter.
After a field goal brought the Bobcats to within a score, Legacy put together a quick 2-minute scoring drive, with Munshae Kennedy carrying in from the 1 to give the Broncos a 17-3 lead with 1:09 left in the first half. A 37-yard pass on fourth down from Beau Kilgore to Ky’Irin Heath put Legacy on the doorstep.
The Broncos weren’t done there, though. They forced a 4-and-out by Byron Nelson and Jaime Sanchez blocked a punt, setting up Legacy at the 17-yard line with 24 seconds left in the half. Operating out of an empty backfield, Kilgore again found Heath, this time in the end zone for a 24-3 halftime lead.
Byron Nelson’s first drive of the second half was vastly different than its opening drive. The Bobcats logged a 9-minute, 17-play drive to go 53 yards for a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Michael Giordano. That cut Legacy’s lead to 24-10 with a minute left in the third quarter.
The Broncos started the third quarter at their own 12-yard line. But a scramble by Kilgore, aided by a personal foul call against Byron Nelson, put Legacy at the 39. Later, Kilgore connected with Isaiah Williams on a 40-yard pass that Williams caught over his shoulder to put the Broncos at the 4-yard line. Two plays later, Kennedy punched in from the 1 to pad the lead to 31-10 with 8:20 left in the game.
Another big defensive play – an interception by Legacy’s Curtis Taylor – cut short Byron Nelson’s next drive. But when Legacy was forced to punt, Byron Nelson’s Mike Jones returned the kick to the Legacy 12-yard line. A penalty put the ball at the 6, and the Bobcats got a 2-yard TD run from Giordano to pull to within 2 scores at 31-17 with 3:12 left to play.
Byron Nelson tried an onside kick – three times, because of penalties – but Legacy was able to gain possession and run out the clock.
Legacy meets Northwest Eaton at 7 p.m. Thursday at Vernon Newsom Stadium, 3700 E. Broad St., in Mansfield.
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