That knowledge paid off for the Longhorns, who came from behind with less than a minute remaining to stun Lassiter 42-35 on Friday at Frank Fillmann Stadium.
Trailing 35-34 after Lassiter’s go-ahead score with 58 seconds left on the clock, Kell quarterback Cameron Rosendahl connected with Bryson Armstrong for a 17-yard game-winning touchdown with 1 second remaining. Armstrong then intercepted Trojans quarterback Russell Aarons on a last-ditch effort, sealing the win for the Longhorns.
Kell improved to 2-0 on the season for the third straight year, while Lassiter fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2007.
Trailing 34-28 with 3:43 left in the game, Aarons directed a 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive to put the Trojans in front 35-34. He converted on two third-down plays to Micah Grigsby, and found Pearson Vanhorn on a 60-yard completion to set Lassiter up inside the red zone. Four plays later, Aarons and Vanhorn connected again on a 17-yard scoring strike for the one-point advantage.
Kell took control of its next possession on its own 36. A 2-yard pass to Ivan Walls, followed by two straight incompletions, left the Longhorns looking for a miracle on fourth-and-8 at the 38.
Rosendahl took the shotgun snap and immediately faced pressure from Lassiter’s defensive line. He evaded multiple defenders, scrambling to his right, then forward and finally to his right before finding Walls open in the middle of the field for a 32-yard completion to keep the drive alive.
“I rolled right and the play broke down,” said Rosendahl, who completed 22 of 29 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing eight times for 78 yards and a 1-yard score. “I tried cutting different ways and finally got my eyes downfield, and I saw Ivan wide-open and got the ball to him.
“I was just running around back there. I was running for my life, but Ivan got open. Our offense is confident, so we knew we could get downfield for a score. We did what we do in practice.”
Now at the Lassiter 30, Rosendahl immediately spiked the ball after the down markers were set to stop the clock. A 13-yard completion to Armstrong gave the Longhorns another first down at the 17, and within kicker Julien Chang’s field-goal range.
“We tried to get downfield to give our kicker a chance,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “Bryson just made a great play with the ball.”
Rosendahl found Armstrong for a short pass, but he got away from his defender, found a crease down the left sideline and dove for the pylon with 1 second left to put the Longhorns in front 40-35. Itabari Mason rushed in for the 2-point conversion, and Kell held on for the victory.
“I threw a hitch pass to Bryson to get out of the bounds and stop the clock, but he made a play,” Rosendahl said.
Armstrong, who had six catches for 132 yards and a touchdown, wanted to score instead of going out of bounds.
“I don’t like Lassiter,” he said. “I thought I could get in. I saw that we had only a few seconds, and we didn’t have enough time for more than one play. I was just determined to get in.”
Kell took a 14-point lead in the second quarter and held a 13-point advantage entering the fourth quarter, only to see Lassiter come back both times.
Mason rushed 19 times for 114 yards and two first half touchdowns. His second score, set up by Josiah Futral’s fumble recovery, put Kell in front 21-7 with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
Aarons was 23-of-30 for 340 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He tossed two touchdowns in the final 3:10 of the second quarter, including a 29-yard strike to Vanhorn with 13 seconds remaining, to make the score 21-all at halftime.
Kell outscored Lassiter 13-0 in the third quarter and staked a 34-21 advantage entering the fourth.
Aarons’ 44-yard completion to Cole Taylor late in the third led to the quarterback’s touchdown catch from Vanhorn off a reverse early in the fourth quarter, trimming the deficit to 34-28 with 11:10 remaining.
Mason Waters rushed 16 times for 81 yards for Lassiter. He also caught a touchdown pass. Grant Daniels had 14 carries for 78 yards and Micah Grigsby caught nine passes for 65 yards and a score. Vanhorn had seven receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
Michael McCain caught a touchdown for Kell.
“Kell’s a great team, and our kids tried hard,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “We dug ourselves a hole in both halves and fought back, so I’m proud of the team. This hurts, but we’re a better team this week than we were last week.”