top of page


Bryan Camacho hangs on, wrestling down Bandera quarterback Jesse Cardenas, with Everett Adams (50) and the rest of the Hondo Owl defense in pursuit. The Owls’ 37-25 win over Bandera wraps up a 5-0 non-district, with 5-0 Jourdanton coming up Oct. 6.

Barr, race to the endzone2G0A0401.jpeg


Mason Barr turns on the jets near midfield, on the way to his second quarter kickoff return for a Hondo touchdown.

The Sack - The Last Nail 2G0A0678.jpeg


Xavier Lopez seals the deal with a quarterback sack in the final moments of the Owls win over Bandera.

Ryan breaks tackle for TD2G0A0343.jpeg


Ryan Gilliam breaks free, headed to his 10th TD catch of the year.

Owls outlast 2nd half Bandera rally


By Jeff Berger

Anvil Herald Publisher


     Facing some second-half adversity for the first time since opening week, the Hondo Owl football team persevered.

     Two quick scores to open the second half brought Bandera within two points of the Owls, but Hondo didn’t allow another point, later pulling away for a 37-25 win on Friday, Sept. 22, at Barry Field.

     The Owls took the battle of unbeatens from the Bulldogs, climbing to 5-0 at of the end of the non-district campaign. With an open date coming up this Friday, Hondo will have an extra week to prepare for the toughest opponent on the schedule, Jourdanton, also 5-0 at the break. The Owls open play in District 14-3A-I against the defending league champs, on the road, in a 7 p.m. game on Friday, Oct. 6.

     “Bandera definitely made us earn it,” said head coach Dustin Templin. “They had a good game plan and played well. They tried to limit Ryan (Gilliam, senior receiver), so we moved him around quite a bit, and DJ (Richter, junior quarterback) had another good game running and throwing.”

    Bandera controlled the time of possession, owning the ball for nearly two-thirds of the clock, and doubling up the Owls in first downs.

     But once more, Hondo used the big play to take the lead and eventually win the game. The Owls had a kickoff return for a score, two drives of one play and another drive of just three plays, to account for four of their five touchdowns. Even Hondo’s six-play TD drive finished with a 45-yard scoring pass.

     The Owl defense also came through with four takeaways, including three interceptions.

     Bandera picked up a pair of first downs to open the game, reaching the Hondo 39, behind the ground game of running back Juan Cabrera and quarterback Jesse Cardenas. But a tackle in the backfield by Jeremiah Guevara and a pass breakup from Mason Barr forced the Bulldogs into long yardage. A fourth down scramble by Cardenas was snuffed out by Dominic Corona and Ephraim Gomez.

     The Owls went three-and-out, but a muffed punt reception by Bandera was recovered by Bryan Camacho at the Bulldogs’ 30.

     On the next play, Richter outraced the defense 30 yards for a Hondo TD. Uriel Nolasco-Hernandez added the PAT with 7:18 left in the first.

     Bandera responded with a 57-yard drive. They converted a pair of third downs and one fourth down to set up a seven-yard Cardenas TD run. Quinn King’s PAT attempt was blocked by Barr, leaving the score at 7-6 late in the first period.

     Hondo went 70 yards in six plays, converting a 3rd-and-11 with a 14-yard pass to Gilliam. Then from the Bandera 45, Richter found Gilliam again, this time, taking it to the house for a 14-6 lead, with 27 seconds gone in the second quarter.

     Near midfield, Cardenas attempted a jump pass, but Barr read it from his safety position, and while backpedaling, made a leaping grab for the interception.

     On the next play, the Owls had once again capitalized on the sudden change, as Richter hit Gilliam for a 53-yard TD – his 10th receiving score of the season – and a 21-6 lead with 9:59 left in the half. 

     Bandera pounded out an all-running attack on its next drive, taking over six minutes to go 12 plays for the score. Cabrera, who rushed for 143 yards on 26 carries, had the final two yards for the touchdown.  The Bulldogs tried to pass for the conversion, but Preston Coronado broke it up in the endzone.

     Again, in quick strike mode, Barr fielded the kickoff at the 20, slanted right to left across  the field and went the rest of the 80 yards for the TD return. The PAT attempt was wide left, leaving the score at 27-12 with 3:34 left in the half.

     Bandera crossed midfield, but consecutive tackles for loss by Jessie Gutierrez and Guevara forced the Bulldogs’ only punt of the night.

     Starting at their 33, the Owls moved quickly. Richter hit Gilliam for 29 yards, and Barr for another 13 to the 15-yard line. A Nolasco-Hernandez field goal attempt from 32 yards out was wide as time expired in the half.

     To open the third quarter, Bandera’s kickoff ricocheted off a Hondo upback and was recovered by the Bulldogs at the Hondo 44. On second down, Cardenas passed to Jeffry Thomas for 41 yards over the middle for a Bandera TD. King’s extra point made it 27-19 early in the third.

     Hondo had to punt, and despite Richter’s 50-yard boot, the Bulldogs went back to work, going 78 yards in five plays. The score came on a 47-yard pass to Corben Gonzales, and Bandera was within a two-point conversion of tying the game. Cardenas tried to run it in, and after much unpiling and official discussion, he was ruled to have been stopped short, leaving the count at 27-25, but with 6:31 still to play in the third.

     Hondo delivered a badly-needed response. JC Martinez returned the kickoff to midfield, then on a 4th-and-2, Daedyn Rodriguez broke loose for 19 yards to the 24. On 4th-and-7, Nolasco-Hernandez connected for a 38-yard field goal, extending the Owls’ lead to 30-25.

Bandera drove the rest of the quarter, reaching the Hondo 10, but a 27-yard field goal attempt was wide left as the fourth quarter began.

     Starting with a bang, Richter raced 51 yards on first down to the Bandera 29. Two plays later, he hit Barr up the visitors’ sideline for a 28-yard TD pass and a 37-25 lead.

     Hondo got an interception from Gilliam at the Bandera 33, but the drive stalled with a fourth down fumble at the 5-yard line with 6:05 left.

Bandera converted one first down, but a fourth down pass was deflected by Barr and intercepted by a diving Camacho at the 28.

     After the Owls lost the ball on downs, Bandera went into a two-minute drill, picking up four first downs on the way to the Hondo 15, but a sack by Xavier Lopez ended the threat.

     Richter rushed for 121 yards on 13 carries, while Gilliam had five catches for 149 yards.

     “We got out with a good win,” said Coach Templin, “but we still have a lot to work on.” 


Daedyn Rodriguez picks up 19 crucial yards to keep a third quarter field goal drive alive.


bottom of page