LEANDER - Round Rock rebounded from its first district loss by racing past Leander 49-30 Friday at Bible Stadium. The win gave the Dragons their first win at Leander this millennium.
Marquis Brown and Ryan O’Keefe each tallied three rushing touchdowns for Round Rock (4-2, 3-1 District 13-6A), while Rashad Carter rushed for three scores and threw for a fourth for Leander (1-6, 0-5), which pushed the Dragons all night to stay within striking distance of their first district win.
The matchup was run-heavy, with Round Rock rolling up 450 yards on the ground, Leander tallying another 374 yards rushing, and both teams combining for just eight pass completions for 111 yards. Yet the game was explosive, with six of the rushing touchdowns reaching paydirt from 50 yards out or more.
The fireworks began early when the Dragons took the opening drive right down the field for a score, with Karch Hoffman scoring from 10 yards out on an end-around. But Carter and the Lions clawed right back, as the senior signal caller kept the ball on an option right and scooted down the sideline for a 68-yard score to tie the game. The Dragons scored again on Brown’s first touchdown from 20 yards out for a 13-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
O’Keefe gave the Dragons a 19-7 halftime lead when he took a quarterback keeper to the right, cut back, cut again, and was off to the track meet for a 57-yard touchdown run.
Carter kept his team in the game. On the second snap of the third quarter, Carter faked a handoff to David Cruz and pulled a disappearing act when he vanished into a pile of players before sprinting unscathed to the goal line 80 yards away to trim the score to 19-14. Brown was equal to the task for Round Rock, taking the next snap 70 yards to the house, augmented by O’Keefe’s two-point run for a 27-14 game. Leander drive past midfield and went for it on fourth down, with Carter lifting a perfect pass to Adison Larue for a 47-yard strike to get within one touchdown again. One more Brown touchdown run, this time from 3 yards out, and another O’Keefe two-point conversion pushed the score to 35-21 entering the fourth quarter.
The longest of the long runs proved just enough for the Round Rock win. Midway through the final quarter, O’Keefe faked to Brown, slingshot around left end, and left his last pursuers at the Lions' 40 en route to a 89-yard touchdown run and a 42-21 lead. Carter responded once again with an 80-yard touchdown run to help pull Leander within 12 points. Round Rock recovered a late onside kick and scored again on O’Keefe’s run from 7 yards out to finish the game.
Carter led all rushers with 266 yards on 20 carries. Brown totaled 225 yards rushing, and O’Keefe added 184 yards on the ground for the Dragons.
The win was Round Rock’s first at Leander since a 23-20 win in 2000 and only the second Dragons' win in the last 12 meetings between the schools, who resumed their district rivalry after a seven-year hiatus following UIL realignment in February. The series which dates back to 1943 is now tied at 12 wins apiece.