ROBINSON — For the fifth consecutive season, the Brownwood Lions were successful in their opening round playoff game.
The District 34-4A co-champion Lady Lions punched their ticket to the Region III-4A area round of the playoffs with a 5-0 bi-district victory over Waco Connally Tuesday night.
The victory was the 15th in the last 16 games for the Lady Lions (15-5-1), who began the season without a win through their first five games.
“If you would have said in the midst of that early schedule against 5A teams that we’d be co-district champions and win a first-round playoff game, I would have had a hard time believing that,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach J.B. Gibbs. “But I’m proud of them for sticking to it and working hard, and now that hard work is being rewarded.”
The Lady Lions will face Nacogdoches in the second round of the playoffs at a time, date and place yet to be determined. Gibbs stated Tuesday night that he hoped to play the game Thursday, but no discussions had taken place at that point.
In Tuesday night’s victory, the Lady Lions needed just four minutes to seize control as Ashley Vaccaro recorded the first goal of the contest.
“Connally came out with more fire the first few minutes and had the ball in our end a lot, but once Ashley scored the momentum changed,” Gibbs said. “We were able to keep the ball in their end, took advantage of our scoring chances and took care of a team we needed to.”
With eight minutes left in the first half, Josie McClung extended the Lady Lions’ lead to 2-0, then Alexis Mosqueda tacked on the final goal of the first half with four minutes remaining.
After intermission, Jennifer Martinez found the net with 34 minutes to go and Josie Borgia tacked on the final goal with 18 minutes remaining.
Mexia 2, Lions 1
ROBINSON — Coming off an undefeated district championship run — the first in school history — and with the 34-4A title among their many accomplishments, the Brownwood Lions were solid favorites heading into their Region III-4A bi-district playoff game against District 33 fourth-seed Mexia.
Searching for their 17th win in a span of 18 games, the Lions instead were stunned by the Blackcats, 2-1, in a season-ending defeat Tuesday night.
“I didn’t expect to be giving the end of the season talk tonight,” said Gibbs, in his third season as Lions head coach. “I’m very disappointed for those guys, but this doesn’t take away anything from what they’ve accomplished this year.
“For the seniors, they went from one win their freshman year to being the first team in school history to be undefeated district champions. They set all kinds of records. They won’t see the positives tonight, but in the next few days and weeks they’ll be able to see what they’ve done for their school and this program.”
Mexia jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a free kick midway through the first half, then tacked on a goal following a corner kick with 65 seconds left before halftime.
“The second goal was a killer blow,” Gibbs said. “We just didn’t do a good job covering the back post on the corner kick.”
With 32 minutes left in the contest, the Lions cut Mexia’s lead in half on a goal by Nathan Ross. Brownwood, however, could not complete the comeback.
“Despite being down two goals at the half, I thought we were playing well,” Gibbs said. “They took it to us the first 10 or 15 minutes, but after that I thought we controlled the game. It doesn’t matter what end of the field you play on, you still have to make the shots. They took advantage of their opportunities.”