ABILENE — There’s an old saying that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.
The Bangs Dragons will gladly take their “ugly” 27-19 Division I-2A Region I bi-district win over the Breckenridge Buckaroos Friday night at Wylie’s Bulldog Stadium.
“They were scrappy,” Bangs head coach Chuck Lipsey said. “It was a knock down and drag out the first half, but we came back and played good enough to win in the second half.”
The Buckaroos (4-7) got the ball first. An interception by Matt Carter with 11:38 to play set up the Dragons’ first scoring drive. Bangs (8-3) struck first and fast when Cameron Deal scored on a 3-yard run with 11:19 to play. Logan Dent’s PAT was good and the Dragons opened the night in front 7-0.
Bangs kicked off to Breckenridge and, 14 seconds later, Carter recovered a fumble to give the Dragons the ball on the 14 yard line. The Dragons could not capitalize on that turnover and the ball went back to the Bucks on downs.
Things went south — literally — for the Dragons in the second quarter as they got in the red zone at the south end of the field three times but simply could not find a way to put the ball in the end zone.
Breckenridge evened the score at 7-7 with 10:09 left in the second quarter on a 15-yard run by Austin Dooley. The extra point kick by Caleb Spoon was good.
Lipsey and his team found themselves in a similar situation as they went to the locker room as they had in the last district game against Brady.
“It’s one of those deals where you’ve got to just keep plugging,” Lipsey said. “We told them that we had to come out and win the third and the fourth quarters and not to get their heads down.”
Once again, the halftime pep talk did the trick. Bangs got the opening kick of the second half and with 9:58 to play, J.T. Newton snuck in from the Breckenridge 1 yard line. Dent missed the PAT and Bangs led 13-7.
Bangs held Breckenridge on its first drive of the second half and the Bucks punted the ball back to the Dragons.
The next drive did not show the playoff form that Bangs had used to run the table during the last four games in district. Newton was sacked two times for a loss of 15 yards. A penalty in the mix put the Dragons in a punting situation. Things went from bad to worse when the ball was snapped over the kicker Dent’s head. A loose ball scramble gave Breckenridge the ball on Bangs’ 1.
One play later, Breckenridge was back in the ball game when quarterback Clay Boaz ran it in for the score. The extra point try failed, but the score was tied 13-13.
On the following kick, Cameron Deal ran 83 yards with 4:44 to play in the third period. The Dragons faked an extra point kick as Carter pitched the option to Dent, who could not get it far enough into the end zone to convince the officials that he had scored. Bangs inched the lead up 19-13.
“We worked on this in practice this week,” Lipsey said. “We thought he would only be able to go about 50 yards for us, but he was able to go the distance and this was a huge play for us.”
With 10:19 to play in the game, Josh Beckwith had a solid 24-yard touchdown run to put the Dragons up 25-13. Matt Carter converted on the go for two pass and the Dragons led ,27-13.
The Buckaroos were not going to go quietly into basketball. With 7:19 to play, Chris Madison scored on a 28-yard reception. It was not a night for kickers, though, as the extra point attempt failed, leaving the final score 27-19.
Bangs will meet a powerful Idalou team in Sweetwater next Friday at 7 p.m. Idalou is 8-2 and won the District 2-2A Division I championship.
“We get to play the Friday after Thanksgiving and that’s exciting,” Lipsey said.
BANGS 27, BRECKENRIDGE 19
Bangs 7 0 12 8 - 27
Breckenridge 0 7 6 8 - 19
First Downs 19 15
Total Offense 378 220
Rushes-Yards 41-283 43-107
Passing Yards 95 113
C-A-I 5-12-1 7-17-1
Fumbles Lost 3 2
Penalties 6-40 7-55
Punts 1-33.0 4-33.5