PALESTINE — Leon’s luck ran out in the second half as the Cougars gave No. 4 Timpson all it could before the Bears took over, beating the Cougars 47-14 in the area round of the Class 2A Division I playoffs Thursday at Westwood’s Panther Stadium.
Leon (7-4) was seeking its first regional bid since 1985 after advancing to the area round for just the fifth time in school history.
“We knew Timpson’s a good team and we were going to have to play well tonight,” Leon coach Jeremy Colvert said. “We did our best. We were still there. It wasn’t until the late fourth quarter that they decided to score some points and make sure they made the point-spread look a little bit better.”
Timpson took control in the second half with decisive scores and stops, outscoring Leon 30-0.
Leon lost the ball on the opening drive of the second half with Timpson recovering the fumble at the Cougar 20-yard line. Timpson scored two plays later on an 18-yard touchdown run by Braden Courtney, who finished the night with a team-best 175 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
The Cougars tried to claw back as senior Tyson Cornett converted a third-and-16 and a fourth-and-5 to keep Leon’s ensuing drive alive. But Cornett wasn’t able to finish the drive with points as a trio of Timpson defenders held him from reaching the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1. The drive spanned 17 plays, 75 yards and over eight minutes.
Six plays later, Timpson’s Terry Bussey burned the Leon defense on an 85-yard touchdown run.
Leon lunged into Timpson territory on the following possession but had another turnover on downs. Bussey again raced past the Cougars, this time taking a screen pass 56 yards down the left sideline to the end zone, which gave Timpson a 39-14 lead with 6:07 left.
“Those are momentum swings,” Colvert said. “It always comes down to us and our execution, and when we don’t execute, things like that happen.”
Three Timspon turnovers kept Leon in the game in the first half with the Cougars trailing 17-14 at halftime. Although the Cougars took over with good field position each time, they only scored off one of the Bears’ miscues.
Timpson answered each of Leon’s first-half touchdowns with scores, and the Bears took their first lead as time expired in the first half on a 25-yard field goal by Logan Depaepe.
“We were going to have to have some things go our way, and that’s exactly what took place in the first half,” Colvert said. “I thought our kids played well. We gave up one right there at the very end to give them a little bit of momentum.”
Colvert said he will remember this Leon time for its fight. The Cougars were picked to finish last in District 11-2A Division I by Texas Football but exceeded expectations by finishing second and advancing to the area round.
“This is the underdog group that nobody gave a chance,” Colvert said, “and they’ve got a gold football with their names on it. It will forever be in Leon High School and it’ll never go anywhere and their names are forever etched in it.”
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