NEW LONDON — After a slow start, the Alto YellowJackets rolled in the second half to a 35-9 bi-district win over Harleton at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium Friday night.
The Wildcats score first after a long first-quarter drive that began at their own 19-yardline and ended six plays later when Marche Zimicki booted a 27-yard field goal.
Harleton had another drive working deep in Alto territory before Joe Cruz made an interception and returned it out to the Yellowjackets 32 yard line.
Behind the running of quarterback Zac Sturns and running back Jacoby Whitaker the YellowJackets to their 10 yard line when the drive stalled on a missed field goal.
After turning back another Harleton drive with a fourth down stand, Alto went to the air to set up the only touchdown of the first half when Sturns hit D’Anthony Richards for a 24-yard scoring pass. Nicholas Leon’s PAT kick made it 7-3 at halftime.
Harleton appeared to be ready to take control coming out of half time to take their first lead when Phoenix Young caught a 30-yard scoring pass from Taylor Henson. A missed point-after resulted in a 9-7 Wildcat lead.
It was short-lived as Alto scored twice within five minutes to regain the lead and a cushion.
Jonathon Pope and Sturns hooked up for a 69-yard run-and-catch for the lead.
The next Harleton drive made it down to the Alto 3 before the defense stripped the ball and Joe Cruz raced 97 yards into the end zone. The Leon PAT kick made it a 21-9 affair going into the final period,
The fourth quarter began with another Harleton turnover as Richards made the second Alto interception of the night.
On the ensuing drive, Sturns hooked up with Tyarius Hackett for a 55-yard gain to the Alto 3. Two plays later, Whitaker punched it in from a yard away and the PAT boot took Alto to a 28-9 lead.
The Yellowjackets scored again on a 91-yard by Whitaker to put Alto up 35-9.
Sturns threw for 190 yards going 5-of-9 and two scores as Alto finished with 395 total yards of offense.
Harleton ends their season with a 7-4 mark after a third place finish in District 9A.
Alto (9-2), a runner-up to San Augustine in 10A play, advances to play District 11A winner Hull-Dullsetta at 2 p,m. Friday at Lufkin’s Abe Martin Stadium.
Alto 35, Harleton 9
At New London
Harleton 3 0 6 0 - 9
Alto 0 7 14 14 - 35
H: Marche Zimicki 27 field goal, 8:09
A: D’Anthony Richards 24 pass Zac Sturns, (Nicholas Leon kick good), :12.
H: Phoenix young 39 pass from Taylor Henson, (kick failed),7:51
A: Jonathon Pope 69 pass from Sturns, (Leon kick good), 7:01
A: Joe Cruz 97 fumble return, (Leon kick good), 2:07
A: Jacolby Whitaker 1 run, (Lopez kick good), 6:25
A: Whitaker 91 run, (Lopez kick good), 3:55