STORY BY DAVID CAMPBELL
WALLER — It wasn’t a perfect 10 for the Bryan Vikings, but it was the best in 15 years.
KeeKee Johnson carried 25 times for 165 yards to help the Vikings win their 10th straight game with a 49-34 Class 5A Division I area win over Magnolia West on Friday at Waller Stadium.
Bryan took a 21-0 first-quarter lead, won easily and now will play in a third playoff game for the first time since 1999. The Vikings rolled up 543 yards of offense, including 311 in the opening half.
“It was a great win, and these kids from Bryan High are going to play after Thanksgiving for the first time in a long time,” Vikings coach Ross Rogers said.
Magnolia West never challenged for the lead but did for the statistical edge with a fourth-quarter surge. A 93-yard touchdown pass to Micah Small helped Mustangs’ quarterback Tyler Ferré finish 17-of-30 passing for 321 yards. As a team, Magnolia West had 534 total yards and scored 20 fourth-quarter points.
West’s surge extended the game. Bryan’s efficient attack extended the season. The Vikings (10-1) will play the winner between Humble Kingwood Park (7-4) and Richmond George Ranch (10-1), who meet at 4 p.m. Saturday at Cypress’ Berry Center.
Despite the yardage allowed, the Vikings had key defensive plays. A.J. Reynolds had two highlights among them, getting an interception to halt a Mustang drive late in the second quarter, then stealing the ball from the arms of Magnolia West junior running back Adrian Thomas at the Bryan 5-yard line to squash another scoring chance.
“I was just doing what I had to do,” Reynolds said. “I met him head up, stripped it from him and spun out.”
Johnson had the only third-quarter score, when he turned what looked to be a short fourth-down gain into a 53-yard touchdown run.
Bryan junior B.J. Ross had three touchdowns passes to give him six in the playoffs. Ross connected on 8 of 15 passes for 152 yards with an interception. He also rushed eight times for 158 yards. Jarvis Lister ran 12 times for 90 yards.
“I’ve been tough on the offensive line, but I think they had a lot better night tonight,” Rogers said. “KeeKee and Jarvis had some big play. I was proud of the defense. The last few scores, throw that out. That was a tough offense to stop and coach [Shawn] Bell and that group do a great job.”
Bryan built a 33-7 first-half lead with a big-play offense, then hung on to a 33-14 advantage thanks to its defense. After Adrian Thomas, who finished with 27 carries for 165 yards, scored his second touchdown on a 16-yard run, the Mustangs recovered a pooch kick and took over at the Vikings’ 16. Bryan tossed aside the threat when Reynolds cut in front of Ferré’s pass intended for DeMarren Mitchell at the 4.
With all three timeouts, Magnolia West forced Bryan to punt, but Bryan’s Sterling Whitley, who caught a pair of first-half touchdowns, intercepted a long pass to wrap up the half.
The Vikings had long, sustained drive on their first two possessions, moving 70 yards on 11 plays, capped by Johnson’s 1-yard TD run. The Vikings again used 11 plays to move 70 yards for a score when Ross deftly hit Whitley for a 14-yard touchdown in the right corner of the end zone.
Their connection for a 47-yard touchdown pass was even more impressive. Whitley blew by a defender, and Ross dropped the pass on his fingertips as he pulled away into the end zone. That provided a quick response for Thomas’ first touchdown run.
Bryan added an 80-yard march in three plays. Lister had a 45-yard run on the drive. A scrambling Ross found Johnson on the left sideline, and Johnson made a cutback over the final 10 yards to finish off a 47-yard touchdown pass. It was one of four touchdowns for Johnson on the night to give him 35 this season.
Story courtesy of The B/CS Eagle