By Sean Allen
BUDA – Aided by a stingy run defense for most of the game Friday, the Dripping Springs Tigers (8-2, 6-0) defeated the Johnson Jaguars (6-3, 4-2) 44-24 to remain perfect in district play.
The Tigers sped out to a 17-0 lead highlighted by a 42-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Austin Novosad to junior running back Preston Alford and an Alford 58-yard touchdown run.
Johnson battled back in the second quarter when sophomore running back Ethan Ybarra snagged a seven yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jesse Medina, cutting the Tiger lead to 17-7.
Dripping Springs responded right back in the third quarter with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Novosad to senior wide receiver Cameron O’Banan, which pushed the Tiger lead to 24-7.
The Jags countered four minutes later with a two-yard touchdown run by Ybarra, cutting Dripping Springs lead to 24-14 and recapturing momentum for Johnson.
But a turnover on a bad snap on Johnson’s next offensive drive allowed the Tigers to seize momentum for good. The turnover kickstarted a 14 unanswered point run by the Tigers, which pushed the Tiger lead to 38-14.
After Johnson added 10 more points on the board in the fourth quarter, Dripping Springs closed the contest with a touchdown pass from Novosad to wide receiver Noah Lawyer.
Novosad completed 20 of 33 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns. O’Banan hauled in four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown with Lawyer sharing the load on seven catches for 94 yards. Alford ran 19 times for 137 yards with a touchdown on the ground and added two receptions resulting in two touchdowns.
Medina completed 14 of 27 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown while throwing for two Interceptions. Junior Wide Receiver Rich Kelly logged 59 yards on five receptions. Ybarra scored three touchdowns on the night with two coming on the ground.
The Dripping Springs Tigers host the Seguin Matadors (6-2, 5-1) Thursday at Tiger Stadium at 7:30pm to determine the 12-5A, Division I district champion. Johnson will be on the road playing against the New Braunfels Canyon Cougars (8-1, 5-1) on Friday at 7:30pm with a playoff berth on the line.