It was a wild night in Hico Friday as the Tigers kicked off district play in a nail biting 34-32 win over De Leon.
While the Tigers had the last laugh Friday night, it certainly didn't look bright for them early on.
On De Leon's opening possession, the Bearcats drove straight down the field and found the end zone on an 18-yard rush, capping a three play, 50 yard drive. Hico followed up with a three and out and punted giving the ball back to the Bearcats at their own 27-yard line. Seven plays later, De Leon was in the end zone again clinging to an early 13-0 lead in the first quarter, this time on a 36-yard touchdown pass.
The Tiger offense finally got going on their next possession as they went 56-yards and scored courtesy of a Briley Johnson touchdown pass to receiver Jacob Crouch.
That score fueled the Hico team as they later rebounded and took a 21-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
With Hico leading at the start of the fourth quarter only 28-26, De Leon faced a third and long near their own end zone. The Bearcats attempted a screen near the middle of the field, but Hico's Jacob Crouch read the play and intercepted the pass and returned it for what would eventually be the game's winning score.
De Leon did threaten late as they scored a touchdown with close to three minutes remaining. Trailing by two-points, the Bearcats attempted a slant pattern on the conversion which was unsuccessful.
Statistically, De Leon out-gained Hico 417 total yards to the Tigers' 338 total yards of offense. Where the Bearcats lost was in the turnover category as Hico forced two and only gave up one themselves.
Quarterback Briley Johnson finished the game four of six passing for 56-yards and one score.
Jacob Smith led the Hico ground game with 21 carries for 135-yards and a score, while Hunter Mullins carried the ball three times for 68 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half.
Jacob Crouch finished the game with two catches for 17-yards and a touchdown. On defense he recorded the pick-six and a sack.
The win moves Hico to 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in district play. They are scheduled to take on Hamilton on the road next Friday night.