ZACHARY — There was no knockout punch. But the DeJarian Jones’ knock down of the two-point conversion pass intended for Walker High’s Brian Thomas Jr. was enough to wrap up a third straight District 4-5A football title for Zachary High.
Jones’ play in the final minute and the running of RJ Allen helped the seventh-ranked Broncos edge Walker 35-33 in the regular-season finale Friday night at ZHS’ Bronco Stadium.
“I read the play and when I saw Brian Thomas there by me, I knew I had to make a play,” Jones said. “To win this and get another district title … it’s amazing.”
Zachary led 21-20 at the half of the game that offered a few surprises. Allen ran for a season-high 164 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns for Zachary (7-2, 5-0). Quarterback Keilon Brown accounted for 199 yards, including one rushing TD and one passing TD.
Running back Keondre Brown scored four TDs for Walker, including a 15-yard TD catch on a screen pass with 57 seconds remaining that made it 35-33.
Thomas didn’t have a huge game statistically. He had four catches for 54 yards. But Thomas gave the Wildcats (7-3, 4-1) a chance to get in position to send the game to overtime by blocking a 24-yard field goal by ZHS’ Logan Fletcher with 1:50 remaining.
The junior receiver then caught a 38-yard pass from Ethan McMasters that set up Keondre Brown’s TD catch within the final minute. McMasters completed 15 of 23 for 216 yards and 1 TD for Walker. Keondre Brown also tallied three rushing TDs and 88 passing/receiving yards.
“There were some mistakes I made and some things we could have done,” Walker coach Chad Mahaffey said. “When you go all in, like we have, one like this hurts. Now we have to regroup for next week.”
Each team scored on its first drive. Walker opened the game with a six-play, 62-yard drive punctuated by running back Keondre Brown, who caught a 36-yard pass from McMasters and then scored on a 2-yard run to make it 7-0 with 8:59 left in the first quarter.
Zachary needed just over two minutes to counter. Keilon Brown side-stepped his way down the Walker sideline and scored a 45-yard touchdown to make it 7-7 at the 6:40 mark.
The Broncos fired back with 41-second drive after a Walker punt. Keilon Brown’s 40-yard pass to Jayden Williams set up a 9-yard run by Allen with 3:17 still left in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats put together a nine-play scoring drive that bridged the first two quarters. McMasters, who completed eight straight passes at one point in the half, including a 35-yarder to Kevin Brady. Keondre Brown scored on another 2-yard, but the PAT was blocked, leaving Zachary with a 14-13 with 11:56 left in the half.
The only turnover of the half — an interception by Walker’s Kobie Moncree — followed. The Wildcats took over at the ZHS 26 and cashed in, with Keondre Brown scoring on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
But WHS’ 20-14 lead was erased by a 17-play Zachary drive that gobbled 6:41 off the clock.
Keilon Brown’s 19-yard TD pass to Chris Hilton with 1:19 remaining gave ZHS a 21-20 halftime lead.
Each team scored one in the third quarter. Zachary extended its lead to 35-27 with a 12-play, 51-yard drive that took 5:26 off the clock in the fourth quarter. Allen scored on a 4-yard run with 6:23 remaining to make it 35-27.
“It was all on the line tonight,” Allen said. “They opened up the hole and I used my second-level vision from there.”
The Broncos held Walker on a fourth-and-2 right after Allen’s last TD run. Next came Thomas’ blocked kick the final drama. ZHS' Jaelon Creer recovered the onside kick by Walker to clinch the win.
“We didn’t play our best, but Walker had something to do with it,” Zachary’s David Brewerton said while clutching the 4-5A trophy. “We felt like it could come down to us and Walker the last week for the title and it did. People say district titles don’t mean anything … look at this.”