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Richland holds off Grapevine charge to win battle of unbeatens

Both teams entered Friday night undefeated, and the game of the week definitely lived up to the hype.

Richland stopped Grapevine on a fourth-and-long play, and then running back Rylee Johnson picked up the first down on a fourth-and-inches to seal the win as the Rebels hung on for a 38-35 victory in a District 8-5A showdown at Birdville Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.

Richland improved to 7-0 for the first time since 2008 and 4-0 in district. Grapevine dropped to 6-1 and 3-1.

The Rebels led 35-14 to start the third quarter after Grapevine fumbled and the Rebels’ Clay Howard walked in a score from the 3.

But the Mustangs responded quickly with back-to-back touchdown passes from Alan Bowman to Cale Dow and David Clayton to get within 35-27 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

After holding Richland to a 21-yard field goal, Grapevine responded with another touchdown. Bowman’s fifth touchdown pass of the night was a 4-yarder to Dow to get the Mustangs within 38-35 with 8:23 left in the game.

Grapevine’s Zach Evans intercepted a Richland pass, but the Mustangs turned it over on downs.

The Mustangs had one final chance, but couldn’t convert on fourth-and-18 with 2:02 left.

Richland quarterback Trae Self threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns — two of which went to Landon Le, who had 11 catches for 167 yards.

Self’s first touchdown throw went 25 yards to Le to give Richland a 14-7 lead with 4:13 left in the first quarter. His second to Le went from 42 yards to extend the lead to 28-14 with 1:55 until halftime.

Bowman threw for 270 yards. Clayton had nine catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Grapevine’s Will Dejacimo recovered an early fumble and the Mustangs took a 7-0 lead four plays later on Bowman’s 7-yard pass to Zack Carnes with 10:12 left in the first.

The Rebels regrouped with a 13-yard touchdown run by Rylee Johnson on the ensuing drive to tie it at 7-7 one minute later.

The Mustangs had an 85-yard drive, capped by Bowman’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Clayton on third-and-6, cutting their deficit to 21-14 with 4:40 left in the first half.

This came after Richland’s Antonio Burkhalter stripped Bowman of the ball, and the Rebels took a 21-7 lead on Self’s 12-yard pass to Rashee Rice.

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