CISCO — The Bangs Dragons hung with the No. 7 Cisco Loboes throughout the first half, but a 14-0 scoring spurt for the District 4-3A Division II champions led to a 38-20 triumph over head coach Kyle Maxfield's squad.
“Watching the film you see some mistakes, but we played about as good as we could and we were proud of their effort,” said Maxfield, who has guided the Dragons to their first playoff berth in five years in his second season.
Bangs (6-4, 4-3) trailed Cisco (9-1, 7-0) just 12-6 after one quarter and 18-12 at the break, but the Lobos established some breathing room in the third period by stretching the advantage to 32-12.
“They scored first, but we went down and hit a pass for a touchdown so it's 6-6,” Maxfield said. “Then they drive down and score again, but we matched that score so it's 12-12. We let them in the end zone right before the half to go in 18-12, and they got on a roll their first two drives of the second half. Our kids settled down and we scored and made it 32-20 and we're driving again about halfway through the fourth quarter and threw a pass on fourth down and they just made a play and we didn't. They ended up scoring, but we gave them good field position after we went for it.”
Bangs finished with 196 yards of total offense, with 149 yards coming on the ground.
Ethan Sanchez led the ground attack with 108 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while Brayton Wedeman and Guy Powell were limited to 22 and 19 yards, respectively.
Through the air, Wedemen connected on 6 of 12 passes for 47 yards with one interception and a scoring toss to Wesley Mitchell, who finished with two catches for 28 yards. Sanchez pulled down a 25-yard reception and Powell grab a 4-yard catch.
“That's the most physical we played all year,” Maxfield said. “When we played against Ballinger, we came out a little flat or timid. We weren't intimidated but we were a little unsure. I think we gained some confidence throughout the season and last night we tried to match Cisco. We're not there yet, but we made a lot of steps forward in that department last night.
“Defensively, we wish we would have made them earn their touchdowns a little more. They had some big plays on us. We'd bottle them up a couple of plays and then let them bust one. That was the only negative thing about our defense.”
District 4-3A Division II No. 4 seed Bangs will square off with the District 3-3A Division II champion and second-ranked Canadian Wildcats (10-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.
“I think we gained about as much confidence as you can get from a loss,” Maxfield said. “Canadian is a whole different animal on offense from Cisco though. It's a whole different philosophy and we're just going to have to figure out a way to try and slow them down a little bit.”