The Pampa Harvesters piled up 510 yards of total offense with a well-balanced attack Friday night at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium in Canyon, and they were able to come away with a 38-31 win over the Eagles to end the regular season.
Pampa (9-1, 2-1 District 3-4A, Division I) registered 288 yards passing and 222 yards on the ground in its seven-point triumph.
Quarterback Tucker Bridwell completed 23 of 33 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and added 11 carries for 95 yards on the ground. Wide receiver Kevin Sanchez hauled in six passes for 116 yards and one TD reception.
The win allowed Pampa to secure the No. 2 seed in the district behind Dumas, who finished the regular season undefeated, and coach Greg Poynor felt the accomplishment was important.
“It’s big,” Poynor said. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make us feel like we didn’t get much respect, and we knew that we were a lot better than people were giving us credit for. It means a lot.
“It’s so big for our kids. I am so proud and so happy for our kids.”
The Harvesters’ victory didn’t come easy, however, as they took a 35-17 lead with just six minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter after running back Cornelius Landers punched the ball across the goal line for a 1-yard score. But Canyon refused to roll over.
Tailback Wayne Sheard scored on a 15-yard run to pull the Eagles within 35-24 with 4:53 remaining in the contest. Sheard finished the evening with 115 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.
Erick Hernandez nailed a 36-yard field goal to put Pampa ahead 38-24 with 3:15 left game, and Canyon struck quickly once again, driving 75 yards on eight plays. The Eagles culminated the possession with a 35-yard throw-and-catch from quarterback Brandon Driskell to wide receiver Jack McKay to pull within seven.
However, the ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Harvesters, and they were able to run out the clock and walk away victorious.
McKay hauled in a 73-yard touchdown catch from Driskell to start the scoring for Canyon with just under six minutes remaining in the opening period. Bridwell knotted the contest at 7-7 early in the second stanza, as he connected with wide receiver Joey Hill from six yards out.
Rafe Butcher pushed the Eagles ahead 10-7 with a 30-yard field goal, but Pampa responded quickly. Bridwell lobbed a deep pass over the middle that Sanchez was able to haul in on the run, and he lost his shoe breaking a tackle and galloped into the end zone for a 41-TD and a 14-10 Harvesters lead.
With just 42 seconds left in the first half, Sean Jansen scooped up a blocked punt attempt by Canyon and rumbled 30 yards to pay dirt, extending Pampa’s lead to 21-10 at the break.
Sheard raced 43 yards to the end zone at the 7:39 mark in the third stanza to help the Eagles claw back to within four, but a 2-yard Landers rushing TD put the Harvesters back ahead by 11. The fourth-quarter rally by the Eagles then ensued, but Pampa held on.
Despite the loss, Canyon coach Blake Bryant was overwhelmed with the fight his injury-riddled team showed Friday night.
“I am so proud of them,” Bryant said. “We are so beat up, right now, and we’ve got kids playing out of position. You just saw what Canyon Eagle football is all about – we’re going to fight to the bitter end.”
The Harvesters will face Gainesville in the Conference 4A, D-I playoffs next weekend. Canyon will square off with No. 4-ranked Decatur next weekend, as well.
PAMPA 38, CANYON 31
Pampa 7 14 7 10 – 38
Canyon 7 3 7 14 – 31
C: Jack McKay 73 pass from Brandon Driskell (Rafe Butcher kick), 5:56
P: Joey Hill 6 pass from Tucker Bridwell (Erick Hernandez kick), 9:48
C: Butcher 30 kick, 6:33
P: Kevin Sanchez 41 pass from Bridwell (Hernandez kick), 1:10
P: Sean Jensen 30 blocked punt return (Hernandez kick), :42
C: Wayne Sheard 43 run (Butcher kick), 7:39
P: Cornelius Landers 2 run (Hernandez kick), 3:09
P: Landers 1 run (Hernandez kick), 6:37
C: Sheard 15 run (Butcher kick), 4:53
P: Hernandez 36 kick, 3:15
C: McKay 35 pass from Driskell (Butcher kick), 2:01
First Downs 27 23
Total Yards 510 451
Rushes-Yards 41-222 25-121
Passing Yards 288 330
Comp.-Att.-Int. 23-33-1 20-37-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-74 5-35
Punts-Avg. 1-36.0 4-25.2
Passing—Pampa: Tucker Bridwell 23-33-1—288. Canyon: Brandon Driskell 20-37-0—330.
Rushing—Pampa: Cornelius Landers 24-87, Bridwell 11-95, Kaleb Caldwell 5-36, Jordan Lacy 1-4. Canyon: Driskell 3-(-13), Jack McKay 1-11, Ethan Cowan 5-23, Wayne Sheard 13-115, Brayden Brewer 1-9, Team 2-(-24).
Receiving—Pampa: Landers 4-41, Evan Boyd 3-7, Zach David 1-7, Joey Hill 5-69, Kevin Sanchez 6-116, Caldwell 4-48. Canyon: Brandel Barrett 2-16, Joe Shaw 5-87, Rafe Butcher 3-32, McKay 7-184, Sheard 1-2, Brewer 2-9.