LEANDER — In a furious comeback that saw the Brownwood Lions battle back from a 20-0 deficit against the Somerset Bulldogs, the Lions came short in overtime 41-40, in the quarterfinals of the championship bracket of the 7-on-7 Division II state tournament Friday.
The Lions scored first in the overtime period with quarterback Chris Keesee firing a short pass in traffic to Braxton Kilgo.
The extra point attempt was unsuccessful. The Bulldogs were stopped on their first two attempts in overtime by the sturdy Lions linebackers and defensive backs. Elijah Salazar and Ceth Hardy both broke up plays. The Bulldogs were down to their last chance to get a first down. The Bulldogs completed a 30-yard pass straight over the middle to get to the Brownwood 2-yard line. The next play was over the top in the end zone. Somerset’s extra point was good. ending the game and the Lions’ chance at another 7-on-7 Division II state title.
Somerset got off to a quick start, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions, and making two out of three extra points to put the Lions in the hole. With under a minute left in the half, Keesee threw a long post route and found Kaimon Ontiveros in mid-stride for six. The extra point was good making the score 20-7 halftime.
The second half started with the Lions on offense and Keesee firing completions to Ontiveros and Hardy which got them down to the Somerset 1. Ontiveros grabbed a pass in the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was broken up by the stingy Bulldog defense. leaving Brownwood down 20-13.
The Brownwood defense reacted valiantly to give the offense time to rally. A bevy of defensive plays to break up the rhythm of the Bulldogs were made by Connor Howard at the cornerback slot. The Lion defensive backs stuck to the Bulldog receivers like duct tape to broken glass, causing a four-second throwing violation that called back a Somerset touchdown pass.
Brownwood went back on offense with Keesee firing completions to Ontiveros, Hardy and Johnson to get the Lions to the Bulldog 2. Kyle Steele caught the next pass for a touchdown.
The extra point attempt was unsuccessful and the Lions trailed just 20-19.
Somerset scored on a long bomb over the middle on the next play but missed the extra point to make it 26-19. The extra point try was broken up in the end zone by Howard.
On their next possession, the Lions rallied back with plays made by Steele, Kilgo and Ontiveros driving down as they drove down the field and got the ball to the Somerset 5.
The next play was a slant to Ontiveros resulting in a Brownwood touchdown. The extra point was made to Steele, making it a 26-26 tie.
The Bulldogs fired back with a quick score. The two-point conversion was made putting up Somerset by eight, 34-26. Brownwood rallied back as the two minute horn blared across the 7-on-7 fields.
Keesee quickly found his go to guy, Kilgo, on a short cross up the middle. With less than a minute remaining in regulation, Keesee found Ontiveros in the corner of the end zone as the clock expired and the end of game horn sounded. The Somerset sideline erupted, as they thought they had won the game. The refs huddled and discussed the situation and ruled a touchdown, and Brownwood converted the two-point conversion to force overtime.
In their first two games Friday, the Lions crushed the Lorena Leopards, 34-13, and smacked the Springtown Porcupines 46-20.
Brownwood head coach Chuck Howard reflected on the past two days of the tournament.
“The biggest thing is I want our kids to compete and be focused so they’re ready to play,” Howard said. “I think we did that all day today except for the first half of this last game.”
Howard elaborated on the fatigue factor.
“We got a little tired and dropped five or six balls out there this afternoon,” Howard said. “Hopefully we learned a lesson. I’m really proud of our kids. They played really hard, they just need to learn to stay focused.
In other 7-on-7 Division II state tournament championship bracket action Friday, the Bangs Dragons dropped their first game to Dallas Episcopal, 33-26.