EVERMAN - James Bailey ran for 253 yards and four touchdowns as the Everman Bulldogs (7-2, 6-0) clinched their fourth district championship in the past five years with a 63-29 win over the Cleburne Yellow Jackets (1-8, 1-5) at Marr Stadium.
Bailey who was moved to running back in the second quarter when freshman running back Terrence Cook left the game with an injury scored on runs of 15, 2, 60 and 67 yards respectively. Everman's leading rusher Cory Franklin also did not play due to injury, but the Everman offense was unaffected racking up 505 yards on the ground.
It was actually Cleburne who jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead as Andy Anderson returned the game's opening kickoff 68 yards for a score. Everman would throw an interception on their first offensive play as Cleburne's Shyrod Anderson picked off Everman QB Devynn Birdow. The Bulldogs would hold Cleburne and tie the game up at seven on Bailey's first scoring run. Everman would get a short field on the next drive as sophomore DB Derrion Alexander got his first varsity interception to set up Bailey's second scoring run and a 14-7 Bulldogs edge.
Bailey would score from sixty yards out in the second quarter from the tailback slot to put EHS up 22-7 after the two point try, but Cleburne would not go away. The Yellow Jackets late in the quarter would make things interesting.
Cleburne senior running back L.J. Holmes who led the offense with 118 total yards scored on a six yard touchdown run to make it 22-13 Everman. The Bulldogs would answer scoring with 47 seconds left in the half on a 33 yard pass from Birdow to Robert Davis to make it 29-13. Cleburne appeared content to run out the clock and head to the locker room, but Holmes had other ideas breaking off a 57 yard run deep into Everman territory. Cleburne with five seconds left in the half would score on a two yard pass from Quade Coward to Pete Black to make it 29-20 half.
Everman opened up the second half with Davis hauling in a 29 yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 36-20. Bailey's fourth touchdown from 67 yards made it 42-20 before Cleburne made one final push. After a safety cut the margin to 42-22, Holmes scored on the defensive side of the football returning an Everman fumble 40 yards to cut the lead to 42-29.
Everman would add three fourth quarter touchdowns to put the game away, the first coming off an impressive leaping interception by junior OLB Lincoln Richard.
Everman will close out the regular season next week at Joshua, while Cleburne will end their season with a home game against Arlington Seguin.