Church Point was a half-minute away from squandering a potentially undefeated season before the actions of quarterback Jaden Reese avoided a mishap.
Reese scored a final touchdown on a six-yard run with 53 seconds remaining Friday as Church Point defeated Kaplan 36-29, improving to 9-0 as a district championship-deciding-game against Iota remains on the schedule.
The touchdown by Reese (9 carries, 110 yards) helped erase a 29-22 Kaplan lead which was established after Caden Campisi scored on a nine-yard run with three minutes and 59 seconds left in the third period.
After that Kaplan touchdown — the only score by the Pirates during the second half — the Bears began moving closer to claiming the advantage.
The first of two Bears’ fourth quarter touchdowns came when Reese connected with Ryley Daigle on a 22-yard pass with 11:58 remaining in the game.
Overall however Kaplan outgained Church Point, compiling 364 yards total yards, while completing six-of-13 passing attempts for 73. The Pirates rushed for 291 on 58 attempts.
Campisi finished with 146 yards on 38 carries. The Pirates’ Raine Mire gained 71 on eight attempts.
The Kaplan offense also controlled the game clock for 37 minutes.
Perhaps the difference occurred when Kaplan, despite devouring game minutes, converted only four of 13 third-down situations.
Church Point rushed for 266 on 22 carries. The Bears’ Tylon Citizen finished as the game’s leading rusher (11 carries 156 yards).
The Bears took a 14-13 first quarter lead following Mire’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:52 remaining.
On the next possession Church Point tied the game at 6 with a 1-yard Reese run.
The final minute of the first quarter featured the teams again trading touchdowns.
Mire broke a 49-yard touchdown run with 1:30 left, but Citizen and a two point conversion run by Reese put the Bears ahead 14-13 at the second quarter began.
Church Point led 22-21 at halftime after Reese scored on a 37-yard run and Jalon Reese converted the point after on a run.
A Landon Cheek reception on a 29-yard pass from Mire and Mire’s two-point conversion throw to Andre Marceaux, with 57 seconds left, but the Bears’ intermission lead to one point.