Perhaps the most talented team Brownwood will face all season strolled into Gordon Wood Stadium Friday night and lived up to its No. 3 state ranking as the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs cruised to a 38-14 victory over the Lions.
The undefeated Bulldogs (4-0) played keep away in the first half en route to building a 21-point halftime cushion as Wylie chalked up 293 yards on 39 snaps, while Brownwood (1-3) ran just 17 plays for 80 yards.
“We can’t make mistakes like we made tonight against a great team like Wylie,” said Lions head coach Bob Shipley. “We threw an interception at a key point in the game, we got a punt blocked, and not being able to get off the field and allowing them to convert some third downs and fourth downs really put us behind the eight-ball. I don’t want to take anything away from Wylie. Obviously they’re a great team and we would have had to play flawless tonight to win the game. We’ll learn from this and move on.”
By the game’s conclusion, Brownwood had managed to generate 165 yards of total offense, while Wylie finished with 393 yards.
Wylie quarterback Taylor Grant passed for 223 yards and two touchdowns and added a pair of 1-yard touchdown carries, while Garrett Martin rushed for 128 yards on 20 carries — with 50 yards coming on his final run — and a touchdown.
“I thought our defensive line played pretty well,” Shipley said. “We contained Garrett about as well as anyone has. He’s just a great back. But we still allowed them to keep some drives alive by jumping offsides and not making the big stops.”
For Brownwood, Braxton Kilgo rushed for 74 of the Lions’ 120 yards on the ground, while Daylon Johnson chipped in 31 yards and a touchdown and Dylan Martin contributed 28 yards.
Through the air, Chris Keesee completed 8 of 13 passes with one interception as Eddie Duque caught five passes for 40 yards while Cooper Howey hauled in two receptions for 5 yards with a touchdown.
Wylie dominated the first half as the Bulldogs took the opening drive of the game 79 yards from their own 20 down to the Lions 1, where the drive stalled when Deric Ince could not score on fourth-and-goal following a short pass from Grant.
The Lions took over at their own 1 and were forced to punt from the 3, which set up Wylie at the Brownwood 42 on its second possession. The Bulldogs then traveled 58 yards in eight plays and 3:20 before Grant scored on a third-and-goal 1-yard run to put Wylie in front, 6-0, with 2:49 left in the first period. Wylie extended the drive with three third-down conversions.
Brownwood’s ensuing drive lasted just six plays before another punt pinned Wylie back at its own 11. The Bulldogs responded with a 14-play, 89-yard march that chewed 4:54 off the clock and ended with a 19-yard scoring toss from Grant to Sterling Bristow that extended Wylie’s lead to 14-0 — after a two-point run by Grant — with 7:13 left before halftime. The Bulldogs converted 2 of 3 third downs on that drive, and also moved the chains on a fourth-and-1 conversion.
The third Brownwood drive of the opening half sputtered on the Lion 39, but a 54-yard punt buried the Bulldogs on their own 7. A dozen plays and 4:33 later, Wylie had covered 93 yards and reached the end zone for the third time on a 24-yard scoring toss from Grant to Paul Goodrich, which increased the advantage to 21-0 with 27 seconds left before halftime. The Bulldogs converted a third-and-3 and a fourth-and-5 to keep that drive alive.
“Wylie converted some big third downs and fourth downs and when a team does that, it takes the wind out of your sails,” Shipley said. “We needed to make some stops on some drives and we just didn’t do it.”
Down three touchdowns at intermission, the Lions got the ball to begin the second half and immediately gave it back to Wylie as Shantae Brown intercepted Keesee at the Brownwood 24 on the first snap of the third period.
The Lions defense held on a fourth-and-4 play at their own 18, but Wylie forced a Brownwood punt four plays later — which was blocked and scooped up by the Bulldogs at the Lions 5. Two snaps later, Garrett Martin scored on a 3-yard carry, which stretched Wylie’s lead to 28-0 with 6:26 left in the third period.
Wylie’s final touchdown came following another Brownwood three-and-out and a 27-yard punt, which placed the ball at the Lions 45. The Bulldogs needed just six plays and 2:12 to travel the distance as Grant scored on his second 1-yard run with 2:28 left in the third period, upping the Wylie advantage to 35-0.
A personal foul on Wylie after the touchdown forced the Bulldogs to kick off from the 20. Dylan Martin returned the kick 44 yards and a face mask penalty was tacked on as Brownwood began its final drive of the third period at the Wylie 17.
Three runs by Kilgo moved the ball to the 4, where Howey came up with a one-handed touchdown catch as he tipped the ball to himself while falling to the ground in the corner of the end zone.
Down 35-7 heading to the fourth period, the Lions allowed a 24-yard field goal by Ince with 9:49 left for the final Wylie points.
Brownwood then ventured 63 yards in 14 plays on its final drive of the game before Johnson scored on a 1-yard dive with 2:07 left for the final 24-point margin.
“This game shows us the level we have to play at,” Shipley said. “I’m proud of our kids, we have a lot of good kids, but we don’t have the type of kids where we can make these types of mistakes and have a chance to win. We have to play more mistake-free football.”
The Lions will attempt to rebound next week and pick up their first victory at Gordon Wood Stadium this season as they host Sweetwater for homecoming and the pre-district finale.
ABILENE WYLIE 38, LIONS 14
Abilene Wylie 6 15 14 3 - 38
Brownwood 0 0 7 7 - 14
A: Taylor Grant 1 run (kick failed), 2:40, 1st
A: Sterling Bristow 19 pass from Grant (Grant run), 7:13, 2nd
A: Paul Goodrich 24 pass from Grant (Deric Ince kick), 0:27, 2nd
A: Garrett Martin 3 run (Ince kick), 6:26, 3rd
A: Grant 1 run (Ince kick), 2:28, 3rd
B: Cooper Howey 4 pass from Chris Keesee (Matt McCrane kick), 0:25, 3rd
A: Ince 24 FG, 9:49, 4th
A: Daylon Johnson 1 run (McCrane kick), 2:07, 4th
First Downs 20 14 Total Offense 393 165 Rushes-Yards 34-170 29-120
Passing Yards 223 45
C-A-I 19-23-0 8-13-1
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Penalties 6-60 5-45
Punts 0-0 4-45.3
AW: Garrett Martin 20-12, Zerrie Mack 3-16, Tye Calhoun 1-12, Taylor Grant 7-7, Aaron Marriott 1-5, Blake Frampton 1-0
B: Braxton Kilgo 12-74, Daylon Johnson 8-31, Dylan Martin 5-28, Chris Keesee 4-(-13)
AW: Taylor Grant 19-23-0-223
B: Chris Keesee 8-13-1-45
AW: Deric Ince 4-36, Garrett Martin 3-(-2), Tyler Roberson 2-60, Paul Goodrich 2-36, Patrick Walker 2-35, Tye Calhoun 2-5, Justin Sazon 1-21, Sterling Bristow 1-19, Jonathan Butt 1-7, Zerrie Mack 1-6
B: Eddie Duque 5-40, Cooper Howey 2-5, Andre Allen 1-0