LUBBOCK, TX — The No. 8 Wall Hawks traveled to Lubbock on Friday, December 1, to play in the 3A Region I Division II Final against the No. 2 Canadian Wildcats. This was a rematch of last year’s regional final where Canadian handled Wall to end the Hawks’ season. A slow start from Wall forced the Hawks to play catch-up in this one, and their 2023 title run ended in Lubbock 31-12.
Watch the full game highlights below:
Wall had the ball four times in the first half but failed to score any points before halftime. Two punts marked little progress on the first two drives, and it was not until the 2nd quarter that Wall gained much ground. In the 2nd, an excellent kick return from Luke Kemp gave Wall the ball at midfield. The Hawks pushed to Canadian’s 30-yard line but failed a 4th down attempt there.
With less than five minutes to go in the half, Wall almost scored a touchdown. The Hawks began the drive at Wall’s 36-yard line. A combination of hard running by the Hawks’ ball carriers and timely catches by the receivers pushed the football deep into the Wildcats’ territory. Wall converted on 4th and nine on a fade route to Landon Beeles. Beeles caught the jump ball to keep the drive alive. With less than 30 seconds left, Gunnar Dillard threw a deep ball to Nathan Pepper, who initially made the catch. Unfortunately, a Wildcat defender ripped the ball out of Pepper’s hands on the way to the ground for the interception.
Canadian’s offense looked deadly in the first two frames. The deep ball killed the Hawks early, and runs from Canadian quarterback Camden Cavalier put Wall on the back foot on three straight drives. Wall couldn’t stop Canadian from scoring three touchdowns, and the Wildcats took a 21-0 lead into the break.
Wall's offensive woes continued in the 3rd quarter as the Hawks failed twice to convert on 4th down. The Hawks would drive inside Canadian's territory on the first two possessions of the 2nd half, but the Wildcats stonewalled them there. The Hawks finally got on the board early in the 4th quarter. Back-to-back catches by Kellen Oliver set the Hawks up inside Canadian's 20-yard line. From there, the triple option went to work. Nathan Pepper scored from three yards out. A missed 2-point conversion left the score 24-6 after a Canadian field goal.
Canadian scored a lone touchdown in the 2nd half after the Hawks got on the board. Down 31-6 with less than five minutes to play, Wall never gave up. The Hawks assembled a final march that took the game clock under three minutes. Dillard hit Oliver over the middle for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Canadian recovered the onside kick and ran out the rest of the clock. Wall's 2023 campaign ended for the second year in a row against Canadian in the Regional Final, 31-12.