Kirbyville tops rival Buna

Fpptball with laces out. Stock photo
Fpptball with laces out. Stock photoRich Johnson of Spectacle Photo / Rich Johnson of Spectacle Photo/Getty Images/Flickr RF

The Kirbyville Wildcats hosted their nearest rival the Buna Cougars for the regular season finale on Friday night.

Buna had several ways that they could still be a playoff representative from District 10-3A Division I with a loss, but the Wildcats needed to defeat the Cougars by 16 or more points in order to make the playoffs as the district’s No.4 team.

The Wildcats won the battle 31-26, but the Cougars won the war as they move on to the UIL state playoffs.

Kirbyville was unable to capitalize after recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff.

Buna started their first possession at their own 20 and ended the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run by Jacob Johnson. The conversion failed and Buna lead 6-0.

The Wildcats put together their own long drive, going 75 yards in 12 plays with Chase Young scoring on a 2-yard run. The conversion failed and the score was tied 6-6 as the first quarter ended.

Buna regained the lead as Johnson scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run. The Cougars made the two-point conversion and led 14-6.

Late in the quarter, the Wildcats had a 10-play drive that concluded with a 2-yard touchdown run by Taylon Alfred. The Wildcats, again, were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion, so Buna still led 14-12 as the first half ended.

Kirbyville took the second half kickoff and drove 70 yards with Alfred scoring his second touchdown from five yards out. The Wildcats missed another two-point conversion, but had their first lead of the game.

Buna capitalized on a Kirbyville fumble and began on offense at the Wildcats 34 yard line. Buna quarterback Dylan Graffagnino connected with a wide open Logan Moss for a 32-yard touchdown. The Cougars missed the two-point conversion, but they were back in the lead, 20-18.

The Wildcats next drive began in the third quarter, but ended in the fourth. A Buna pass interference penalty and an Alfred 1-yard touchdown run put Kirbyville back on top 24-20.

Buna roared back on their next possession with Johnson scoring on a short run to put the Cougars back in the lead 26-24.

But as the final quarter of the season was ticking down to an end, the Wildcats had one more drive to finish. Quarterback Chase Young scrambled on several plays and completed the most important pass on a deep ball to Stephen Carrell that set the Wildcats up with a first and goal at the Cougars 3 yard line.

Alfred dove into the endzone for his third touchdown of the game and Francisco Ibarra added a PAT kick to put the Wildcats back in the lead 31-26 with less than a minute to go in the game.

The Wildcats’ Thomas Grant would seal the victory with an interception.

Buna will play on as the No.4 seed from the district, but the Kirbyville Wildcats has the Jasper County bragging rights until next year. The Wildcats are graduating 21 seniors, but first year head coach Trey Allen has the Wildcats moving in the right direction. Good things look to be on the horizon for the Wildcat program.