AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pflugerville Connally roared back in the second half, but Lampasas made the final key play of the game to win 36-28 on Thursday at The Pfield.

On the final drive of the game, Connally quarterback Kaden Nguyen dropped back to pass and the ball squirted out of his hands as he was drawing it back to throw. The ball fell to the turf and the Badgers alertly jumped on it with 18 seconds left in the game to clinch the win.

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Lampasas led by a point 29-28 before running back Jett Walker scored his second touchdown of the night, a 4-yard run with 49 seconds left in the game. The extra point gave the Badgers an 8-point lead, and Connally was moving the ball down the field with relative ease until the costly turnover.

The Cougars had a shot to tie the game after wide receiver Landon Bradley made one of the best plays of the night with a one-handed catch on a 20-yard touchdown pass, but Lampasas denied the 2-point conversion with 3:21 left.

The Badgers broke a 22-22 tie with 7:00 left via a 63-yard bomb from Reed Jerome to freshman wide receiver Ty Johnson. Jerome lofted a high-arcing pass to a streaking Johnson down the left side of the field, and the rookie made a nice adjustment to the ball to haul it in and race to the end zone.

The Badgers led 14-6 at the half, and then the game opened up into a track meet. Connally took a 15-14 lead on a 45-yard field goal by Aaron Olalde in the third quarter, his second of the night from that distance, and then came the touchdowns.

The teams traded scores to start the fourth quarter to make it 22-22 with 8:14 left after Landon Bradley scored his second touchdown for the Cougars on an 18-yard pass from Nguyen. Bradley caught all three of the Cougars’ touchdowns.

Olalde had a tremendous night for the Cougars in the kicking game. He made all three of his field goal attempts, two from 45 yards and the other from 31 yards.

Jerome accounted for three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground. His first touchdown set the tone for the game when he hit Bryson Roberts for a 34-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. Roberts made an outstanding catch, reaching around the Connally defender with his left hand to tip it to himself. The ball went over the defender’s head and into Roberts’ right hand, and then he secured the ball and ran the remaining yardage for the score.

The game was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. but didn’t kick off until 8:30 p.m. due to lightning and thunderstorms in the area.

Lampasas (4-0) remains undefeated and takes Wimberley on Sept. 22 in their last nondistrict game. Connally (2-2) begins 5A-District 11 play against Elgin on Sept. 22.

Game log

Final: Lampasas 36, Connally 28. The Cougars roared back in the second half, but the Badgers were able to hold them off.

0:16 4Q: Connally was on their way to the potential game-tying drive, and the ball slips out of Nguyen’s hand when he was reaching back to throw a pass. Lampasas recovers and that’ll do it. What an unfortunate way for this entertaining game to end.

0:49 4Q: TOUCHDOWN LAMPASAS: Jett Walker walks into the end zone from 4 yards out. PAT good. Badgers 36, Cougars 28

1:14 4Q: A little skirmish on the field and a Connally player was ejected from the game. Lampasas has to keep playing here with Connally using all of their timeouts. The Badgers can go up by 8 with a touchdown and PAT

3:21 4Q: TOUCHDOWN CONNALLY: Bradley with his third TD grab of the game, and he does this one with one hand behind his back … literally. The Lampasas defender was holding Bradley’s other arm and it didn’t matter. He still scored from 20 yards out. Cougars try for 2 and the lead, but they don’t get it. Badgers 29, Cougars 28

Lampasas has been shooting itself in the foot with penalties in the second half, and not little ticky-tack ones. A facemask penalty helped set up Connally’s game-tying score, and it happened again on the next drive. The Cougars have it deep in Badgers territory

7:00 4Q: TOUCHDOWN LAMPASAS: Reed Jerome finds his freshman WR Ty Johnson for a 63-yard bomb for a touchdown and the Badgers take the lead. PAT good. Badgers 29, Cougars 22

8:15 4Q: TOUCHDOWN CONNALLY: Nguyen hits Bradley again, this time on a slant route for 18 yards and a score. PAT is good after Olalde doinks his kick off the upright, but he’s saved by his own team’s pre-snap penalty for a false start. Olalde gets another try and nails it to tie the game. Badgers 22, Cougars 22

10:58 4Q: TOUCHDOWN LAMPASAS: On 2nd-and-goal from the 8-yard line, Badgers running back Jett Walker takes it into the end zone. He also caught the 2-point conversion to stretch the Lampasas lead to 7. Badgers 22, Cougars 15

End 3Q: Connally 15, Lampasas 14. The Badgers have the ball 2nd-and-4 on the Connally 24-yard line to start the 4Q.

2:29 3Q: FIELD GOAL CONNALLY: Oladle does it again from 45 yards and the Cougars now lead by a point. Cougars 15, Badgers 14

3:59 3Q: Connally’s Lawrence Doe steps in front of a Reed Jerome pass and picks it off. Doe races down the field for a long return and takes it to the Lampasas 35-yard line. The Cougars have a shot to take the lead late in the third quarter.

7:30 3Q: TOUCHDOWN CONNALLY: The Cougars get their first TD of the game on a great pass from Kaden Nguyen to the corner of the end zone for his WR Landon Bradley for an 18-yard score. Did Bradley get away with a little push-off to make the grab? Perhaps, but it doesn’t get called and the Cougars get within two points. The conversion is no good. Badgers 14, Cougars 12

Since the game started an hour and 30 minutes later than scheduled, halftime was cut to eight minutes. Connally will get the ball to start the second half.

Halftime: Lampasas 14, Connally 6. Both teams scored twice, but the Badgers got in the end zone for their scores while Olalde booted a pair of field goals for the Cougars

0:11 2Q: FIELD GOAL CONNALLY: Olalde connects again, this time from way out at 45 yards. He hit a line drive that had plenty of distance and stayed inside the uprights for just long enough. Badgers 14, Cougars 6

5:01 2Q: FIELD GOAL CONNALLY: Aaron Olalde hammers a 31-yard kick through the uprights and the Cougars get on the board. Badgers 14, Cougars 3

7:11 2Q: Lampasas can’t take advantage of the turnover and Connally forces a turnover on downs and will take over on their own 32-yard line

9:46 2Q: Lampasas’ pass rush descends upon Connally QB Kaden Nguyen and Raider Morua forces the ball out. The Badgers recover it and they take over on the Cougars’ 44-yard line.

11:09 2Q: TOUCHDOWN LAMPASAS: Jerome calls his own number on the zone read and runs it up the middle for a 27-yard TD. PAT good. Badgers 14, Cougars 0

End 1Q: Lampasas 7, Connally 0. After the highlight reel touchdown catch by Roberts, the teams had a punt party. Badgers’ running back Jett Walker had a long run before the quarter ended and Lampases has it at the Connally 28-yard line on 2nd-and-5

3:03 1Q: Connally nearly has a punt blocked, but they get it off and it takes a great bounce and rolls dead on the Lampasas 21-yard line where the Badgers will take over.

5:29 1Q: The Badgers have a short-lived possession but a pooch punt pins Connally inside their 5-yard line to start the drive

6:01 1Q: Connally has to punt and it’s not a good one. The ball takes a backward bounce and ends up at the Connally 35-yard line where the Badgers take over.

7:59 1Q: TOUCHDOWN LAMPASAS: What on EARTH? On 4th-and-3. Lampasas QB Reed Jerome tosses it up for Bryson Roberts who reaches behind the Cougars’ defensive back with his left hand and tips it over the defender’s head to his right hand to haul in a 34-yard touchdown. Holy smokes what a catch! PAT good. Badgers 7, Cougars 0

8:23 p.m.: After an hour-and-30-minute weather delay due to lightning in the area, the Badgers and Cougars will kick things off at 8:30 p.m. Connally wins the coin toss and defers to the second half. Lampasas will get the ball to start.