SAN ANGELO — The Bangs Dragons are riding their firs win-steak since 2014 after pounding the Texas Leadership Charter Academy - San Angelo Eagles 52-21 Friday night.
Short of an upset over undefeated Cisco next Friday, along with other upset losses in district play, the Dragons will not appear in the postseason but that is not stopping the from picking up a few W’s until it's time to hang their helmets up.
"It’s fun to see the kids reap the benefits of all their hard work,” Bangs coach Kyle Maxfield said. “I was telling the guys earlier, ‘this is the most improved team I have ever been a part of.’ I have started off with a lot of teams that weren’t too good and didn’t make the improvements we have, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
The Dragons' offense moved the ball with ease Friday night with quarterback Seth Anderson and running back Ethan Sanchez teaming up to put the game away by the end of the first half. Sanchez put Bangs on the scoreboard on the first drive, capping off a lengthy drive with a 2-yard touchdown. Following a 3-and-out by the defense, Anderson put the Dragons in the red zone on a 24-yard carry and connected with receiver Justin Wilson on a quick slant for a 5-yard touchdown. The Eagles answered with an aerial touchdown of their own when quarterback Kaiden Kirkland found receiver Seth Levesque for a 50-yard touchdown but that only riled up the Dragons, who went on to score 24 unanswered points.
Anderson kept the Dragons momentum going with a 39-yard, second-quarter touchdown on the ground, then went to the air again finding Wilson, this time on an 85-yard TD pass. Another short burst into the end zone by Sanchez and errant snap that careened out of the back of the end zone for a safety gave Bangs all the cushion they needed to hold onto the victory.
"When I was quarterback and Seth was my target and we just kind of flip-flopped,” said Wilson, who was the starting quarterback until an injury forced Anderson behind center. “I’m a bigger target and he threw really good balls all night. He’s a great quarterback and he could not have done a better job replacing me. I’m proud of him. It was pretty fun. It’s back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014 and it feels good. Our confidence is boosted and I think we’re going to surprise a few people when we play Cisco.”
The Eagles had moderate success in the second half with Kirkland and Levesque connected on another TD pass, this time from 11 yards out, then he found Anthony Rosales for a 60-yard reception, but both scores came long after Bangs took their lead to double digits. Sanchez and Anderson maintained their cushion with a pair of rushing touchdowns. Sanchez credited the victory to clever, efficient planning and strong play from the offensive line.
"The line helped out big time. The blocked well on the edge and up the middle,” Sanchez said. “We had a bit of trouble at the beginning, but toward the end we really started to get the hang of it … At practice, we worked every single play they ran tonight (on offense). We stopped them.”
With the win, the Dragons even their record in district play at 3-3 with an overall record of 3-6. Unfortunately, the teams ahead of Bangs in the playoff race are Cisco (7-0), Anson (4-2), Merkel (4-2) and Ballinger (4-2). With the exception of Cisco, who the Dragons face next Friday, each of the aforementioned teams has head-to-head victories over Bangs. However, Cisco's vaunted, undefeated district record maybe at risk because Maxfield believes his improving team will throw everything they have at the Lobos in what will likely be their season finale.
"It’s a big challenge. If you put [Cisco] on film, it’s pretty scary how good they are,” Maxfield said. “Coach West has had it going at Cisco for years and years. The seniors really don’t realize the finality of it. We will try and savor every moment this week and have as good a performance as we can at Memorial Stadium.”