HOWE — Tyler Rodriguez continued his hot start to the season by completing 16-of-22 passes for 246 yards and five touchdowns and also led Bonham with eight carries for 81 yards as the Warriors opened District 5-3A (I) play with a 49-26 victory against the Howe Bulldogs on Friday night.
The Bulldogs (3-2, 0-1) looked strong to start the game, driving 65 yards and into the red zone but Howe got stopped just a yard short of the end zone on fourth down.
Bonham (4-1, 1-0), which has won four straight games, didn’t let the opportunity go to waste, marching down the field with a flurry of long passes and runs making it look easy as the Warriors scored the only touchdown of the first quarter on Rodriguez’s 16-yard pass to Noah Shellman for an early 7-0 lead.
Howe put together a response in the second quarter. After a few punishing runs, the Bulldogs caught the Warriors off guard with a deep pass by Bryce Krantz to Elijah Campbell that was good for a 32-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs managed to pull off some trickery that turned into a two-point conversion, giving Howe an 8-7 lead.
The Warriors then went 71 yards in two plays — a 41-yard run and a 30-yard touchdown reception by Jerrell Stewart to re-take the lead. Stewart had five catches for 138 yards.
With the shootout now in full swing, the Bulldogs put together an impressive drive that saw Arturo Lowder break free for a long 48-yard run before Layton Elvington went 11 yards untouched for another Howe touchdown. The point-after was wide and the Bulldogs had to settle for a tie at 14.
Bonham put together a punishing 12-play series that was capped off by Nick Rhinehart’s nine-yard touchdown reception, giving Bonham a 21-14 lead with little more than a minute left in the half.
Cameron Blesi, who had 20 carries for 172 yards, broke loose for a 77-yard touchdown with less than a minute left in the half to pull the Bulldogs within a point at half-time.
Bonham padded its lead at the start of the second half — marching 47 yards and into the end zone with a Shellman 11-yard touchdown grab.
The Warriors scored in the first minute of the fourth quarter with a six-yard touchdown reception from Shellman, his third of the night, that saw them open up a 35-20 margin.
The Bulldogs put together a nice response in their next drive that saw Caiden Harmon break free for a huge 46-yard run and Elvington finished off the series with another rushing touchdown but missed on the conversion that would have made it a seven-point deficit.
The Warriors put together two more scores in the game, one coming from a long 65-yard kickoff return by Shellman and the other coming from a 31-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Ryan Robertson to close out the scoring.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” Howe head coach Bill Jehling said. “They always keep fighting, they have a lot of grit in them, and that over anything is what you want to see out of your team. You take away some of our mistakes we made the score board tells a different story, but you know, its football and mistakes are going to happen so all we can do is try to get better and play cleaner football each week.”