STORY BY DAVID CAMPBELL
MANOR — Jarvis Lister used a stiff-arm to get free on an 11-yard touchdown reception to give Bryan an early 13-0 lead over Manor.
It started a trend, and for the rest of the night, the Vikings held the Mustangs at arm’s length for a 48-27 Class 5A Division I bi-district victory Friday at Mustang Stadium.
Two Bryan plays effectively kept the Mustangs from mounting a successful comeback — Sterling Whitley’s 85-yard kickoff return for a score in the second quarter and a 43-yard quarterback draw by junior quarterback B.J. Ross to pound down an enthusiastic rally from Manor.
The Vikings (9-1) earned their first bi-district win since 1999 and set up an area matchup with Magnolia West at 7 p.m. next Friday in Waller.
Whitley stole the momentum away from the Mustangs with his return on a play aptly named “Red Sea”. He slashed through a wall of Manor defenders, hit the right sideline and race into the end zone on the 85-yard return.
“In Red Sea, we return in the middle and they just open it up,” said Whitley, who also had the game’s first touchdown with a third-down 47-yard reception from Ross. “First, I looked to the left for a cutback and it wasn’t there. When I turned my head, I looked in the middle and it was wide open. I was running so hard that I was looking down. I looked up and saw the kicker right there. I’ve got one man to beat and I know I’m faster than him, so I took it to the house.”
Bryan coach Ross Rogers says he was happy to see the play work.
“We finally got [Whitley] to hit it in there, and he did a great job of running and attacking it,” Rogers said.
Bryan was stopped on its first three possessions of the second half, and Manor quarterback Jamall Collins, who passed for 253 yards and rushed for 153 and two TDs, led the Mustangs’ charge on offense. He ran 13 yards for a score and hit Lindemain Brooks for a 34-yard score in the second half.
Manor limited Bryan’s KeeKee Johnson most of the night, although Johnson finished with 116 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown. Ross put Bryan back into a comfort zone on a play that first looked a like a nice gain, but with an injection of late speed, turned into a spectacular gain.
“It was a called quarterback draw and there was some good blocking on that play,” Ross said. “I read the center’s block, and then the guard that went downfield, he blocked the linebacker and I just made my cut off him.”
Rogers said that Ross made the 43-yard TD run work.
“He had a lot of patience,” Rogers said. “When he stepped back inside, I thought he had made the wrong move, but he just stutter-stepped in there and he just burst out of that. It shows the kind of talent he has.”
Ross hit 10 of 18 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a two-point conversion pass and ran for two TDs.
Bryan took an early lead of 20-0 with help from Manor fumbles.
“It kind of gave us a false sense of security because they were making us work for it,” Rogers said. “They moved the ball right before half, similar to what Consol did, and I had that same bad feeling that we needed to come up with something. Offensively, we just didn’t play the second half like I thought we should.”
But Ross made it right, and the Vikings found a more equitable way to blunt Manor’s second first-half rally.
Collins scrambled up the middle and gained 40 yards, barely crossing the goal line at 9:57 of the second quarter, to narrow Bryan’s lead to 26-13.
Ross, who had three scoring passes in the opening half, scrambled 16 yards untouched thanks to a late block to regain Bryan’s big advantage. He had a chance to run a rollout later in the quarter, but threw deep to Joseph Hedge, who made a tremendous twisting touchdown reception for a 42-yard score with 3:18 left for a 40-13 halftime edge.
“The safety tripped and fell and [Hedge] threw his hand up and I threw it to him,” Ross said. “He made a good catch.”
That came after Collins’ fourth-down scramble in his own territory came up a yard short, giving the Vikings the football at the Manor 44.
Story courtesy of The B/CS Eagle