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In wild second half shootout, Class 2A, DII Meridian Yellowjackets come up short on the road as time expires against Frost Polar Bears, 50-42

FROST – In a wild, high-scoring shootout, the winner remained in question until the final seconds ticked off the clock. And as it turned out, time simply ran out on the Class 2A, Division II Meridian Yellowjackets as the Frost Polar Bears clawed their way to a hard-fought 50-42 non-district victory last Friday night at Joe Parum Stadium.

Quarterback Brady Taylor ran for four touchdowns while running back John Bernal rushed for two more, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a seven-touchdown performance by Frost senior running back John Hendricks.

“Our players are all heart,” Meridian football head coach Wade Morton said. “We made it a shootout in the second half and started clicking.”

Without question, the Jackets (0-2) got the triple option ground attack on track and put up an impressive 42 points as Taylor rushed for a team-high 229 yards on 35 carries while Bernal contributed 114 on 23 attempts.

Scoring 36 second half points, the Jackets rallied from a 20-6 halftime deficit. After Frost (1-1) opened the fourth quarter with a 14-yard touchdown run by Hendricks to take a 34-22 lead, Bernal broke off a 31-yard scoring romp followed by Taylor cashing in on Meridian’s next possession on a three-yard touchdown dash to tie the game at 34-34 with 5:29 left on the clock.

The Polar Bears quickly recaptured the lead as Hendricks broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run followed by freshman quarterback Moses Rangel’s two-point conversion run. Meridian responded again when Bernal turned the corner for a 21-yard scoring sprint and Taylor sliced in for the two-point conversion to tie the score again, 42-42 with 2:30 remaining.

But Frost promptly marched down the field for the game-winning score culminating with Hendricks’ 11-yard touchdown run, followed by Rangel connecting with senior receiver Hunter Perry for the two-point conversion.

With 37 second left in the game, the Jackets quickly moved into Frost territory as Taylor hit Braden Wehmeyer down the middle for a 26-yard gain to the Polar Bear 23-yard line. But the game ended with an incomplete pass at the Frost goal line.

“Our offense did a great job keeping us in the game,” Morton said. “We’ve worked hard the last five weeks on finding our identity of offense, and it is starting to show.”

The Jacket defense could not find an answer for stopping Hendricks all night as the senior running back finished with a game-high 358 yards rushing on 26 carries. Rangel completed seven of 11 passes for 106 yards and rushed for 31 more.

“Defensively, we have to clean up our mistakes for sure and get better at our weaknesses,” Morton said. “Our players played hard though on both sides of the ball, and we’re proud of their effort.”

Taylor led the Jackets on defense with eight tackles, followed by Noah Alvizo with seven takedowns and Junior Rodriguez with six.

With two non-district games under their belt, the Jackets still expect to take it to the next level to becoming postseason contenders in district. With three more non-district games on the schedule, Meridian hits the road again this week to visit Bartlett (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“First and foremost, we have to stay healthy along with getting valuable reps to guys not as experienced,” Morton said. “Our expectations are playoffs. There is no other expectation but our own, and that’s what we’ll concentrate on. We have to do a great job of being mentally prepared, perfecting our schemes and becoming better students of the game. If we do that, the winning will come.”


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