KEITH MacPHERSON, Sports Editor
Gainesville Daily Register
SPRINGTOWN — Albany used a tough second half defense to shut down Muenster, earning a 24-14 win in the Region II-1A Division II semifinal at Springtown ISD Stadium.
The Lions scored 17 unanswered points after a first quarter that saw the two teams combine for 28 points to down the Hornets.
Albany (11-1) will face No. 1 state-ranked Munday in the regional final next week.
Running back Ryan Pleasant scored three touchdowns while running for 245 yards for Albany. His 24-yard score with 2:01 left in the contest helped put the game out of reach late.
Lions quarterback Jake Bumgaurdner ran for touchdowns of 65 and 2 yards while also kicking a 38-yard field goal and intercepting to passes for Albany.
Bumgaurdner finished with 137 yards rushing as the Lions piled up 390 yards on the ground.
Muenster (9-4) got on the scoreboard first with a 55-yard touchdown run from Clint Sidwell on the Hornets’ first offensive play of the game to go up 7-0.
Sidwell had six carries for 97 yards in the game. Trevor Hess had 38 yards on 11 carries.
Albany would tie the game up quickly after Sidwell’s touchdown run with Bumgaurdner’s 65-yard scoring run with 8:33 left in the first quarter.
Bumgaurdner would strike again on a 2-yard run midway through the first quarter after a snap went over punter’s head on a punt to set the Lions up at the Hornet 2. The score made it 14-7 Albany.
The Hornets would knot things up on the final play of the first half when quarterback Hunter Klement found Cole Walterscheid for a 31-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-14.
Klement finished with 145 yards on 11 of 27 passing. Walterscheid had 70 yards on four catches.
Pleasant would score from 7-yards out and later 24 yards as the Lions used long drives and a bend-don’t-break defense to get the win.