The Abilene Cowboys clinched a home playoff game next Friday with an ugly but thrilling 26-21 victory over Ulysses in the second meeting ever between the two schools. The two teams combined for 13 total turnovers in the game, with the last one deciding the outcome with under :30s to play in the game.
After falling behind 21-10, Abilene got back the lead in the game on a 4th and 12 conversion at the Tiger 23 yard line on a Jackson Randles to Chase Mason touchdown pass play. It was the first touchdown of Mason’s career. Mason moved back to Abilene for his Senior year and didn’t play his first high school game until week 2 in a home loss to Concordia. The touchdown gave the Cowboys a 26-21 advantage with 2:32 to play in the game. Ulysses would get a good return on the kickoff from Javian Bencomo to the Abilene 41 yard line. The Tigers would drive to the Abilene 13 yard line but backup quarter back Jett Moyer had his pass for the end zone intercepted by Junior Chrisxavier Cease to seal the victory for the Cowboys.
Ulysses got off to a quick start in the game and got on the board first with a 6 yard run from Victor Perez to lead 6-0 with 6:09 to play in the first quarter. They would extend their lead on a 1 yard run by Andrew Nagel. Stone Hayden added the two-point conversion to give Ulysses 14-0 lead with 10:15 to play in the first half.
Abilene then put together their best drive of the game. The drive was 11 plays, covered 89 yards and took 5:57, and was capped by a James Mayden 7 yard run. He would add the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-8 with 3:30 to play in the first half and that would remain the score at halftime.
The Cowboys continued their run in the third quarter as Senior Zach Schultz returned the second half kickoff for an 85 yard touchdown. It was the second straight week the kickoff unit produced a score. The return tied the game at 14 with 11:47 to play in the third. Mayden then would cap a 20-0 Abilene run with a 25 yard run to give the Cowboys a 20-14 advantage with 1:08 to play in the third.
The Tigers took back the lead on Perez’s second touchdown run. He scored on a 17 yard scamper, that gave Ulysses back the lead after the extra point 21-20 with 11:44. The Cowboys then got a break. They had difficulty with their punt team last week, but not against the Tigers. Abilene had a drive stall out near mid-field and Senior Punter Preston Boyd’s punt was mishandled by Bencomo which lead to the Cowboy’s go ahead score.
Abilene improved to 4-4 with the victory while Ulysses dropped to 3-4 on the season.