2018 Don Hardin Bowl: Public Schools 36 Private Schools 8

Leman Saunders

Well-known member
Don Hardin Bowl 2018

The game was low scoring as the two teams combined for just 44 points. What it lacked in points, it gained in big tackles and hard hits.

The Public school team (wearing Red) jumped out to a quick start after forcing the Private school team (wearing blue) to turn the ball over on a fumble, as Hutton Lusty scored on a one yard run with 6:41 left in the first. Kyler Wall’s PAT made it 8-0.

The two teams traded off defensive stops forcing turnovers on downs. On the Blue team's third possession of the game backed up in their own territory, Balmorhea’s Kyle Garcia came up with big tackles for a loss on back to back plays which almost resulted in a safety. After an incomplete pass the Blue team went for it on fourth and long gaining 15 yards on a nice pass and catch from Mikell Everett to Jacob Benitez, but that wasn’t enough for the first and the Red team took over at the 17. On their first play Lusty ran it in for his second touchdown. PAT failed and it looked like the Red team would run away with the game up 14-0 early in the second quarter.

However, the Blue team’s defense stepped up and matched that of their opponents in intensity and form as the two squads would turn the rest of the quarter into an old fashioned slobberknocker of a game. The Red team would gain yards in short burst via their run game, but the pursuit of the Blue team bottled them up most of the night and held them within the red zone several times.

The Red team logged two more points via a safety as Lusty and Wyatt Young gang tackled spread back Travis Loper in the end zone with 4:46 left in the second quarter.

The Blue team then forced a fumble and managed to move the ball down field as they looked to narrow the gap, but they came up just inches short of a first down and again turned the ball over on downs.
In the most sustained drive of the game, the Red team marched down field and on their seventh play Kyle Garcia ran in from 10 yards out for the score. PAT failed and the Red team led 22-0 with 12 seconds left in the first half and that would be the score going into the locker room.

The second half was much like the first with both teams’ defenses forcing turnovers on downs, the difference was in the field position game as the Red team would match down field before turning it over where as the Blue team, backed up in their own territory, seemed to always find themselves in long yardage situations due to big tackles and sacks in their first two plays of their drives.

The next touchdown came late in the third quarter as James McIntyre score on a one-yard end around run for the Red team for one of the most memorable touchdowns of the night as McIntyre flipped into the end zone and then proceeded to make his way to the track, line up as if he was about to run the 100-yard dash in blocks and RAN a 100-yard dash complete with a leaning finish.

The two teams had been around each other all week in fellowship and practice and it was understood by all that celebrating would be allowed as this type of game was meant to be fun and entertaining being many of the players last time on a football field. After every score there was some sort of celebration (trash can dunks, team bowling pins ect.) but this one was far and away the most flamboyant and crowd pleasing (the radio commentator seemed to be the only curmudgeon on the scene as he took great exception to the celebrations, McIntyre’s especially).

In the fourth quarter the Blue team move the ball better than they had all game and in their last two possessions gained good yardage. The made their first trip to the red zone before turning it over on downs. After a short run and a penalty backed the Red team up to their own five yard line, Wyatt Young broke loose for the games biggest play scoring on a 75-yard run that proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Blue team as the Red took a 36-0 lead with little time left in the game.

It was about at this point the strong prevailing wind that was there all game brought in a rain cloud turning the place into a mini monsoon in bursts for the final minutes of the contest.

The Blue team’s Benitez completed three long passes in a five play drive that culminated in a spectacular 25-yard juggling touchdown catch by big man Everett to put the Blue team on the board. Benjamin Grinestaff booted the PAT making the score 36-8 with 24 seconds left in the game. After a failed onside kick and a short run play by the Red team…the game ended with a howling wind and driving rain.

Statistically the Red team gained 284 yards, rushing for 217 yards on 32 carries and going 3-9 for 67 yards passing. The Blue team was held to just 91 yards of total offense, going 14-20 for 110 yards passing and held to -19 yards on 27 carries rushing.

Wyatt Young of Jonesboro was named the game’s Offensive MVP, while Hutton Lusty of Richland Springs and Kyle Garcia of Balmorhea took home Co-Defensive MVPs.

Both teams played very well, it was a hard fought game the whole way through and while there were some fiery moments during the game, they were quickly forgotten afterwards as both teams gathered in fellowship and pray after the final horn blew on many of the players last game on the gridiron.

Coach Chris Chacon was pleased with the way his Private school squad played citing the fact that their defense played great in allowing just 36 points as last year the public school team scored 72, and raved about how great this event was for the kids involved. Coach Jerry Burkhart echoed the same sentiments afterwards and saying that the event for the kids to have fun and they did.

Mikell Everett was a standout player for the Blue team as he led all receivers with 71 yards and a touchdown receiving…he also delivered some bone crushing hits on both offense and defense. His juggling touchdown catch in the drive rain was arguably the play of the game.

Defensively for the Red team it seemed that Lusty, Kyle Garcia and Young were in on every tackle and provided pressure all night on the Blue teams’ backfield. Down field Josiah Garcia and the rest of the secondary provided great coverage. For the Blue team in addition to Everett, Lyera seemed to always be there for a tackle or assist.

It was very refreshing to see a six-man game that featured great defensive stands and plays from both teams. I am unsure about the future of this all-star game as Coach Burkhart hangs up his six-man reins to take over at 3A Stanton, but I sure hope the Don Hardin Bowl continues on.

Red Team: 32-217, 1 fumble lost
Wyatt Young (Jonesboro) – 5-116, 1 TD
Hutton Lusty (Richland Springs) – 5-34, 2 TDs
Kyle Garcia (Balmorhea) – 11-34, 1 TD
James McIntyre (Milford) – 2-17, 1 TD
Jordan Burkhart (Richland Springs) – 6-10
Jayden Bressler (Happy) – 1-8
Kyler Walls (Blackwell) – 1-2
Brendan Fisk (Motley County) – 1- (-4)

Blue Team: 27- (-19), 2 fumbles lost
Mikell Everett (San Antonio FEAST) – 5-12
Josh Lyera (San Marcus Hill Country) – 4- (-3)
Jacob Benitez (San Antonio FEAST) – 13- (-12)
Travis Loper (Stephenville Faith) – 5- (-16)

Red Team: 3-9-0 for 67 yards
Burkhart – 2-6-0, 42 yards
McIntyre – 1-2-0, 25 yards
Kyle Garcia – 0-1-0

Blue Team: 14-20-0 for 110 yards, 1 TD
Benitez – 10-13-0, 76 yards, 1 TD
Loper – 3-6-0, 24 yards
Everett – 1-1-0, 10 yards

Red Team:
Miguel Mata (Happy) – 1-32
Burkhart – 1-25
Lusty – 1-10

Blue Team:
Everett – 7-71, 1 TD
Micah Johnson (FT Worth THESA) – 1-18
Hunter Stirm (Bracken Christian) – 1-17
Benitez – 1-15
Loper – 1- (-2)
Lyera – 3- (-4)


Well-known member
On behalf of the memory of Don Hardin thank you Leman.
Excellent recap of what sounds like a exciting and entertaining game the public dominated somewhat but the privates never quit in. The didn't get 45'd. Nice to see the names of young men I've seen play mentioned again, e.g. Lusty, Garcia and Burkhart.