The Wylie Bulldogs ended a great season in the state semifinals with a thrilling game against rival Argyle.
For the second straight year, the Bulldogs went undefeated in district to win the district crown outright. The team qualified for the playoffs for a remarkable 22nd consecutive time.
The Bulldogs won two very close, thrilling games over Brownwood – once during the regular season, which ended up being a battle for district – and a second time in the playoffs, which ended up being a battle for the Region 1 championship.
Both games went down to the wire. Both times Wylie prevailed.
That allowed Wylie to advance to the state semifinals, where they met Argyle, the defending state champions. Argyle had been to the state finals three years in a row and four of out of the last five years and came into the game never having lost a state semifinal game.
Argyle jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the game, but Wylie came back with 17 unanswered points to take a 17-14 halftime lead.
But the second half was all Argyle.
The Argyle offense kept possession of the ball and limited the Wylie offense to only three first downs and only 12 yards of offense in the entire second half. The Wylie defense played a great game, as it has all season, but wore down toward the end of the game after spending most of the second half on the field.
Argyle tied the game at 17-17 in the third quarter and then tried another field goal in the fourth quarter that was hooked.
The Wylie offense got the ball back with 7 minutes left in the game and had a chance to march down and win the game. But the Argyle defense proved too strong and the Bulldogs were forced to punt. Argyle scored with 56 second left in the game to take the lead for good 24-17.
Wylie ended up losing both its first game of the season and its last game of the season to Argyle.
Here’s a look at the other games that got Wylie to the state semifinals:
Dec. 4: Wylie 14, Brownwood 7
Cason Grant intercepted Brownwood on the 8 yard line and ran 92-yards for a touchdown to get Wylie on the board first. Tyler Ward ran in from the 1-yard line to give Wylie a 14-0 lead. Brownwood scored with just 2:32 left in the game and then got the on-side kick. Brownwood drove to the 10-yard line, and on 4th and 9, the Brownwood quarterback got around the corner and headed for the end zone only to be upended by the Wylie defense just inches from the 1st down marker. Wylie ran out the clock and won an absolutely thrilling game.
Nov. 27: Wylie 61, Levelland 8
Wylie racked up 392 yards rushing, led by Brooks Pepper with 118 yards and three touchdowns. Brady Horn rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown and Jared Asbill rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Nine different Bulldogs carried the ball in the game as Wylie completely dominated. Dion Novil recovered two fumbles in the game.
Nov. 20: Wylie 31, Borger 0
The defense pitched a shutout, and Quarterback Tyler Ward threw two touchdown passes, in a game that Wylie dominated from beginning to end. Jared Asbill ran the ball in for a touchdown in the first quarter to start the scoring, and Cason Grant would run in for a touchdown in the fourth. In between, Ward hit Cameron Hanna for a 5-yard touchdown pass and Jake Taylor for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Both came in the 2nd quarter. Hanna kicked a 27-yard field goal in the third.
Nov. 13: Wylie 56, Burkburnett 7.
Cason Grant score on a punt return, and the Wylie defense held Burkburnett to six yards rushing in the Bulldogs first playoff game of the season. The Bulldogs special teams came up big in the game. In addition to Grant’s punt return, Collin Moore recovered a fumble on a kick off and Josiah Light partially blocked a punt. Quarterback Tyler Ward hit Blake Johnston, Jacob Taylor and Kyle Lott for touchdown passes, and Cason Grant, Brooks Pepper and Brady Horn all ran the ball for touchdowns.
Nov. 6: Wylie 24, Stephenville 14
Wylie won the district championship with its victory over Stephenville. Cameron Hanna had two interceptions and Brooks Pepper added another in an outstanding effort by the defense. John Ribaudo recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown on special teams. On the offensive side of the ball, Quarterback Tyler Ward scored two rushing touchdowns.
Oct. 30: Wylie 23, Big Spring 6
Quarterback Tyler Ward scored through the air and on the ground for the Bulldogs, and the defense came up big as Wylie won a hard-fought battle against Big Spring. After a scoreless first quarter, Ward got the Bulldogs on the board with a two-yard run. Special teams blocked a punt for a safety, and then Ward hit Tyler Henson for a 24-yard touchdown pass. The defense sealed the deal when Braydon Ward intercepted the ball and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.
Oct. 23: Wylie 42, Snyder 7
Wylie scored three touchdowns in the first quarter to go up on Snyder early in their district match. Quarterback Tyler Ward had his best game through the air, going 12 of 15 for 224 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown, giving him five on the night. Jared Asbill caught two touchdown passes of 49-yards each, and Cason Grant also caught two touchdown passes. Brooks Pepper finished the scoring with a touchdown run.
Oct. 16: Wylie 7, Brownwood 3
Wylie opened district against a Brownwood team that had shown early in the season that it would be the team to give Wylie the most trouble for the district crown. Brownwood was coming off a victory over Stephenville, and Wylie was coming off a bye. The game was epic defensive battle, with neither team scoring in the first half. In the third quarter, Brownwood took the lead with a field goal, and it looked for a while like that might be enough to win. But with four minutes left in the game, Tyler Ward ran nine yards for a touchdown, and Wylie took the lead. Brownwood moved the ball into Wylie territory, but Josh Novil came up with a huge interception to seal the victory.
Oct. 2: Wylie 42, Vernon 7
Wylie celebrated its homecoming with a big victory over Vernon. Jared Asbill ran for 92 yards on only eight carries, and quarterback Tyler Ward threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns, plus had two more touchdowns on the ground. Payton Fourney caught a 67-yard touchdown pass, and Jaxson Money caught a 53-yard touchdown pass. Cody Calhoun and Collin Moore had touchdowns on the ground. The Wylie defense had three forced fumbles.
Sept. 25: Wylie 6, Liberty Hill 13
Liberty Hill used a strong rushing attack to dominate the clock and limit the Wylie offenses opportunities in a defense battle. Wylie was playing its third consecutive game on the road, and the offense struggled against the Liberty Hill defense. Still, Wylie had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes of the game, but came up just short. Cason Grant caught a pass from Tyler Ward and went 43-yards for Wylie’s only score in the game.
Sept. 18: Wylie 27, Birdville 7
The defense had another great performance, and Wylie quarterback Tyler Ward was dominating as Wylie won its third straight game. Ward threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns and was the Bulldogs leading rusher with 86 yards and a touchdown. Cason Grant had six catches for 82 yards and four carries for 17 yards. Jaxson Money had five catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Jared Asbill scored on a two yard run, and Caleb Elliott had an interception on the opening drive of the second half of the game.
Sept. 11: Wylie 25, Graham 7
Wylie Quarterback Tyler Ward threw for 166 yards and a touchdown and ran for 48 yards and a touchdown, and the Wylie defense came up big again for the Bulldogs. The week before, Graham had scored – points on a very good Brownwood team, but the Wylie defense showed how good it was by limiting the Lions to only one score. Jaxson Money caught eight passes for 97 yards, and Jake Taylor caught a 14-yard touchdown pass. Blake Johnston and Cameron Hanna each had interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. Fourney scooped a fumbled punt return and took it in to the end zone for Wylie’s final score.
Sept. 4: Wylie 43, Burnet 23
The Wylie offense racked up 423 yards of total offense and the defense forced three turnovers as Wylie dominated on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Tyler Ward was nearly perfect passing, completing 13 of 14 attempts for 140 yards. Jared Asbill had 91 yards rushing and two touchdowns and also caught four passes for 27 yards, and Cason Grant had 61 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Wylie defense limited Burnet to only a field goal in the first half and came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Aug. 28: Wylie 10, Argyle 20
Wylie started its season on the road against nemesis Argyle. The game marked the fourth consecutive time the two teams have started the season against each other. Wylie scored first when Cameron Hanna kicked a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter, and then after an Argyle touchdown, Wylie answered with a touchdown of its own to take a 10-7 lead at halftime. Collin Moore scored the Wylie touchdown on a one-yard run. But the second half was all Argyle, and Wylie fell to its rival for the third consecutive time.