Cleburne finds the end zone for first time in loss to Midlothian Heritage

Sep. 2—MIDLOTHIAN — The Cleburne Yellow Jackets competed against the Midlothian Heritage Jaguars in their second game of the season and, once again, were playing away from home. In this contest, the Yellow Jackets fell behind early, but saw improvements with their offensive and defensive continuity despite the 63-7 loss.

Midlothian Heritage scored on its next five drives after Cleburne's defense forced the home team to punt on their opening drive. However, the Cleburne offense, who managed to put together several quality plays during that span, broke through and found the end zone for the first time this season late in the second quarter.

The scoring play came on a beautiful deep ball in a sophomore to sophomore connection. Quarterback Luke Stewart found his speedy receiver CJ Kensley streaking down the sideline, and he hit his target in stride as Kensley burned the Jaguar secondary for the score with about three minutes to go before halftime.

"We knew going into the ball game they were really stout defensively, especially in their front seven, so we knew we had to spread the ball out and get the ball out of Luke Stewart's hands quickly," head coach Jim Woodard said. "We threw a bunch of short, quick balls and got some first downs, so we went with a double move. Then, CJ (Kensley) ran a great route and Luke threw it right in stride — and you're not going to catch CJ once he's in the open field. The guys up front did a great job with their protection up front on the play as well."

Cleburne was not able to score again in the contest, but the Yellow Jackets did have success moving the ball against a strong Jaguar defense, to the tune of 330 total yards of offense. Also, the defense had several quality moments in the game and collected 56 tackles and three sacks overall. The young group has shown they are capable in the talent department, and Woodard is eager to see the group continue to learn and grow together.

"The score is not indicative of the games we played. Our kids keep battling as a young football team trying to figure things out — we've got 27 sophomores on the roster," Woodard said. "You're going to have some explosive plays but will also have some sophomore mistakes, which we are trying to grow through. You have to learn through the good and build through the bad mistakes. You just want to prevent those mistakes from happening over and over again."

Stewart completed 13 of his 26 pass attempts for 202 yards and the touchdown pass to Kensley, who caught three balls for 110 yards. Running back Jaygen Wells carried the rock 15 times for 67 yards while sophomore Hayden Leifeste had nine carries for 41 yards.

Senior linebacker Xavier Aguilar impressed with two sacks, two tackles for a loss and four tackles while Cordae Simmons and Eric Juarez had nine take downs apiece. Cleburne's defense broke up seven Jaguar passes during the game as well.

Cleburne senior Kanya Brown sustained a neck injury during the game, but as of Saturday morning, Woodard said he is at home resting and is ready to get back with the team. He applauded the medical staff from both Cleburne and Midlothian Heritage in how they handled the situation. Brown was removed from the game to receive further precautionary medical attention, but had full feeling and range of motion.

The Yellow Jackets will open up district play at 7 p.m. Friday at Killeen, who is coming off a 48-40 win over Stony Point.