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Deer take down Mavs to win district title

Written by Adrian Romero. Posted in Sports

FBvsMem 1IN SPORTS
For the first time since the 2011 season, the Deer football team was crowned district champions after it defeated Pasadena Memorial 42-24 Thursday night. Next up for Deer Park is the bidistrict playoff game Friday night against Northshore at Clyde Abshier Stadium at 7 p.m.

The Deer Park Football team beat Pasadena Memorial Thursday night 42-24, giving them a District Championship title for the first time since 2011. Both teams came into the regular season finale with identical 5-0 district marks, meaning the winner would be the outright champion.

Deer Head Coach Chris Massey noted what this title means for his team and for the school.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s not easy to win a district championship, regardless of any circumstances so when you have the opportunity to win one it’s special. It’s a goal that you set back in January, when this team started. Getting recognition for their hard work is special for these guys,” Massey said.

Memorial struck early with a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Deer Park looked ready to answer, putting together a nice drive of their own before losing a fumble in Memorial territory. The Deer defense came out and did what they do best, forcing a punt and not allowing Memorial to capitalize on the fumble and add to its lead.

The Deer offense stepped back on the field ready to finish what they started on their last drive. It didn’t take long for them to find the end zone, with a 47-yard bomb from quarterback Broc Weidner to receiver Brandon McKissack who torched the secondary on a post route. Garner’s PAT was good and the game was all tied up at the end of the first quarter. Garner was a perfect 6 of 6 on PATs.

The speed of Memorial’s offense proved to be a challenge for the Deer, and the Mavericks drove down the field looking to regain the lead. However, offensive penalties by Memorial plus a relentless Deer defense forced Memorial to settle for just a field goal.

These wouldn’t be the only Maverick penalties Deer Park would take advantage of. The DP offense’s first play after the kickoff was a big 30-yd run by running back Tyrek Saylor. A late hit after Saylor was out of bounds added 15 more yards, putting the Deer on Memorial’s 30.

Two plays later, Saylor made the Mavericks pay with a 28-yd touchdown run.

The Deer defense again kept Memorial off the board and when the offense got the ball back, Weidner found McKissack again with the same route for the 49-yd touchdown. That score sent the teams to halftime with a 21-10 Deer Park lead.

The Deer started with the ball in the second half, ready to try and expand their lead over Memorial. A huge run after catch by Michael Banda turned a 5-yard route into a 43-yd gain for the Deer. Saylor found the endzone two plays later with a 6-yd run to finish off Deer Park’s opening drive of the second half.

The Mavericks kept fighting, and capitalized on their next drive using personal fouls committed by the Deer defense to keep moving the ball forward and eventually ended up scoring a touchdown. Weidner’s offense took the field yet again, and caught fire with two big runs by the Deer quarterback. Weidner finished the drive with his arm, passing it off to tight end Blake Greene who flew over Memorial defenders and flipped into the endzone, adding an exclamation mark to the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter started slowly, until about midway through when Weidner hit his tight end Dylan Heim for six.

Weidner, who finished the night 12-15 with 275 total yards and three touchdowns, recognized the high level his offense and its role in the win.

“It’s a great feeling to bring a district title back to Deer Park, and to be able to do it with all my teammates and brothers out there on the field. Our passing game has been really good and our running game has been great too. We got momentum right now, beating this team was big this is a really good team and if we play like this against Northshore we have a really good chance to make it to the second round,” said Weidner.

Memorial managed to answer with a touchdown of their own, but it was too little too late and Deer Park finished the season right with a decisive victory.

While there is still work to do, Massey wants his team to enjoy being district champs for a couple of days before preparing for Northshore.

“We’re gonna enjoy this one right now, and start looking at Northshore on Saturday. We’ll certainly have a big challenge but we get to play them at home and hopefully we can use that homefield advantage to swing things in our favor,” Massey said.