The Hitchcock Bulldogs dropped a nail-biter to open Division II pool play Thursday and couldn’t quite recover after that at Day 1 of the Texas 7on7 Championships at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.
“We’ll just keep trying to get better; that’s the only thing you can do,” said Hitchcock head football coach Craig Smith, at the tournament to observe his team. “There were some bright spots with some kids who really stepped up, and some of them who we expected to step up didn’t, and they’re going to have to.”
Per UIL rules, high school coaches are not allowed to coach their school’s 7on7 teams.
The highlight of the day for the Bulldogs was the second half of their first game of pool play against Spring Hill. The Bulldogs shut out their Longview-area foe, 20-0, in the second half, but, unfortunately, spotted the Panthers a 27-6 lead in the first half, and the result was a 27-26 win for Spring Hill.
Devin Preston caught three of quarterback Christian Dorsey’s four touchdown passes against Spring Hill, including a pair of long bombs, while Reece Kadlececk caught the other TD on a goal-line scenario.
Two TD receptions from Kadlececk and an interception from Floyd Clay helped keep Hitchcock close in the next game against Boerne (which came after a two-plus hourlong weather delay), as the team hailing from the Hill Country led 23-15 early in the second half. But, the Greyhounds ran away with the game with 22 unanswered points for a 45-15 win.
In their final game of the day, the Bulldogs stunned eventual Pool C winner Graham with a long TD reception from Devin Preston, who wrestled the ball away from his defender in the end zone, on their opening possession. A short TD grab by Kadlececk gave Hitchcock a 12-6 lead, but Graham tied it up at 12-12 right at the end of the first half.
Graham, hailing from south of Wichita Falls, then scored three unanswered TDs in the second half to help put away a 32-20 victory. Davin Preston hauled in Hitchcock’s final TD reception.
Hitchcock will enter the Division II championship bracket 9 a.m. Friday with a first-round matchup against Melissa.
In Division I, Dickinson and Clear Springs will begin play in their respective pools 1 p.m. Friday.