STORY BY DAVID CAMPBELL
Jarvis Lister is a blocker first.
In Bryan’s 55-17 homecoming win at Merrill Green Stadium on Friday, the junior fullback’s tackle-breaking ability helped the Vikings block Caney Creek’s upset bid. Lister turned B.J. Ross’s swing pass into a 26-yard touchdown late in the first half, giving the Vikings a lead they never lost.
“I dove into the end zone,” Lister said. “At first when I caught it, a defender came and I had to use my ability to get into the end zone. I knew I was in, but I had to look around and check and make sure it was a touchdown.”
It was the first of many.
After falling behind 10-7 in the second quarter, Bryan scored five straight touchdowns to turn a nail-biter into a rout.
From the Panthers’ 26-yard line, Ross dropped a swing pass to Lister, who leads Bryan in receptions. The 170-pounder maneuvered to the 5, fighting and diving the final yards for a touchdown with 1:27 left in the half. Bryan carried that 14-10 lead into halftime.
It was the sixth consecutive win for Bryan (6-1, 5-0) and clinched the Vikings’ first postseason berth since 2010. The loss dropped Caney Creek to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in district play.
“It had just been so stale,” Bryan coach Ross Rogers said of the Vikings’ play before Lister’s TD reception. “We weren’t crisp. It was a good call, and he was able to do a good job getting that ball into the corner of the end zone.”
Late in the game, Bryan sweeps and rollouts became padding for the score. Lister, who had five carries for 77 yards, jerked away from a pile of potential tacklers downfield to finish off a 55-yard touchdown run.
“I kept moving my feet, and eventually a hole opened up and I broke,” Lister said. “I just had to finish and keep sprinting to the end zone.”
Lister later followed KeeKee Johnson’s block on a 5-yard TD run to open the fourth-quarter scoring.
“I feel great and want to thank my offensive linemen for blocking for me and my coaches for giving me the ball,” Lister said.
Bryan backup quarterback Arthur Mooring had just two carries but for 97 yards. The 84-yarder that wrapped up Bryan’s scoring bumped up the average. Mooring raced past the Panthers’ defense on a rollout and made one sharp move back to his left to lose the last Caney Creek defender.
“Arthur has done so much for our program, playing JV quarterback, scout team quarterback, whatever we need,” Rogers said. “He’s just a team guy, and he’s got a lot of talent. He showed it tonight.”
Johnson, held down in the opening half, carried the load on the first drive of the second half, which he finished with a 19-yard burst into the end zone. Johnson finished with 20 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He had the first two of Bryan’s three third-quarter touchdowns. For the third, Ross found Tyler Slaydon wide open in the left sideline for a 53-yard TD pass.
Chris Coffer led Caney Creek with 19 carries for 134 yards. Zack Biles, who played both quarterback and receiver, rushed for 104 on 14 carries.
“They had a good plan offensively,” Rogers said. “Defensively, they packed the box like we knew they would and we weren’t as efficient throwing the ball. We made some mistakes, a bad pitch here and fumbled a snap and just looked a little sloppy. I didn’t see that going in, so I’ll have to give a lot of credit to Caney Creek.”
After a turnover-filled opening quarter, the teams exchanged touchdowns on long reverse plays. Biles cut short his end-around and turned toward the goal line on a 77-yard TD run for Caney Creek on the opening play of the second quarter.
On their first offensive play after Caney Creek’s touchdown, the Vikings stole the Panthers’ play. Joseph Hedge took a pitch on a reverse of his own and ran right, getting a sideline escort from Sterling Whitley on a 76-yard TD run.
Caney Creek regained the lead on Christian Alvarez’s 27-yard field goal, which was set up by Coffer’s 56-yard run to the Bryan 10.
Courtesy of The B/CS Eagle