Poor tackling and penalties cost the Brazosport Exporters as they couldn’t pull off an upset of Needville in a District 13-4A contest Friday night at Blue Jay Stadium.

The Blue Jays (5-0, 8-1) pulled out a 48-35 victory to clinch the district title while making next week’s finale a must-win for the Exporters to reach the playoffs.

“We had chances to make tackles and we didn’t and we made too many mistakes,” Brazosport head football coach Mark Kanipes said. “We can play with them, they’re a good football team, but we need to be playing smarter football.”

Blue Jay running back Ashton Stredick, ran for 255 yards on 31 carries for two touchdowns. He also added a 85-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass to total 340 yards of offense by himself.

“There’s a reason he’s the best back in the country,” Kanipes said. “We gave up too many explosive plays to him.”

The Ships were held scoreless in the second half until trying to put together a comeback late in the fourth quarter. Kevin Davis took the ball on a reverse and launched a pass to wide receiver Ray Bell for a 35-yard touchdown with 3:23 left in the game to make it 48-35.

On the next play, the Exporters were able to recover an onside kick to get the ball back, but a Blue Jay interception by safety Ethan Castaneda ended the Ships’ hopes of a win.

Needville started the game surrendering a safety when it fumbled in the end zone on its first drive to give Brazosport a 2-0 lead. The Ships further capitalized when they took possession after the free kick to cover 48 yards in three plays for a touchdown. Davis capped that drive with a 5-yard run for an 8-0 Brazosport lead with 8:49 left in the first quarter.

The Blue Jays quickly regrouped and built a commanding lead before the first quarter was over.

Quarterback Trevor Baker connected on a 71-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dax Bridges on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, the first of three scoring passes in the quarter. They included a 42-yard strike to wide receiver Walker Warncke that put the Blue Jays up 20-8 with 1:58 left in the first.

Needville was able to hop to a 34-15 lead after on a 8-yard touchdown run by Warncke with 5:13 left in the half, but the Ships responded to pull within a score by intermission.

Bell returned a kick 56 yards to the Need to the Needville 39-yard line, then covered the remaining yardage to the end zone on the next play with 4:48 left in the half.

On the Ships’ next possession, freshman quarterback Kariyen Goins connected with Bell on a 41-yard scoring play to make the score 34-29 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

A 58-yard kickoff return by Blue Jay wide receiver Vincent Villarreal to start the second half put Needville back in control.

Brazosport ended the game with 418 total yards, 153 passing and 265 rushing. Davis had 129 yards on the ground on 15 carries while Goins went 10-of-18 for 118 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

Bell had two receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns while adding two carries for 49 yards.

Needville totaled 528 yards of total offense, 211 passing and 317 rushing. Baker was 5-of-15 for 211 yards and three touchdowns with an interception by Ships cornerback Cornell Brown.

The Exporters need a win to make the playoffs when they host the Fulshear Chargers at 7 p.m. Friday at Hopper Field.

“We win next week, we’re good,” Kanipes said. “We have to get back to the drawing board and get things good. Every week this time of year is a playoff game.”

Marqus Williams is a sports writer for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0161.

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