Bullard falls short to Center in district opener

Panthers quarterback Cleet Bowman (5) sets up to throw in the pocket during action Friday at Panther Stadium in Bullard. Bullard lost to Center, 39-35. (Schuyler Wick/Tyler Morning Telegraph).

BULLARD - The Bullard Panthers rallied from being down 30-21 at halftime but couldn’t hold it in an eventual 40-35 loss Friday to Center in their District 9-4A Division I opener at Roughrider Stadium.

Ty Crayton finished with 11 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing five times for 78 yards and a score in the loss. Luke Bowman finished with 180 yards rushing and two touchdowns with quarterback Cleet Bowman completing 18 of 30 for 201 yards and two scores.

The Panthers (1-4, 0-1) fell behind 20-7 to Center (1-4, 1-0) at the end of the first quarter before battling back in the second quarter thanks to a 9-yard scoring run by Luke Bowman and 24-yard TD pass from Cleet Bowman to Crayton.

Center answered Bullard’s scores with a field and touchdown of its own to lead 30-21 at the half. Luke Bowman pulled the Panthers within a score again at the start of the second half, rumbling in from 22 yards out. Will McCowin’s PAT made it 30-28.

The Panthers took their first lead of the contest in the fourth quarter when Crayton caught a 14-yard TD pass from Cleet Bowman. McCowin’s kick made it 35-33, but Center had one final answer for what turned out to be the game winner.

Bullard is idle next week before returning to district play on the road at Palestine on Friday, Oct. 13. Center faces Palestine at home this Friday, Oct. 6 at Roughrider Stadium.

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