Brownwood outscored three TDs to two in controlled portion, 7-0 in live quarter

WICHITA FALLS - After Burnet provided little resistance a week ago, the Brownwood Lions received the test they were hoping for from the Class 5A Wichita Falls Rider Raiders in Friday’s final scrimmage of the preseason.

In the controlled portion of the scrimmage, the Lions were outscored three touchdowns to two, while Rider owned a 7-0 advantage in the one live quarter of action. After Brownwood tallied two of the first three touchdowns on the day, Rider scored three in a row to close out the competition.

“Our effort was good for the most part, but I told the kids after the scrimmage I felt like this was one of the few times since I’ve been at Brownwood that I felt like they were a little more physical than us,” said Lions second-year head coach Kyle Maxfield. “At times we were physical, but in the end they got their chili hot here in their home territory and got rolling. We didn’t have anybody that counteracted that and they kept the momentum through the quarter.”

Having weaknesses exposed and learning the areas that need improvement are the basis of a scrimmage. As one-sided as the Burnet scrimmage was, the Lions didn’t receive the full benefits from that exhibition compared to the one with Rider.

“Everybody needs a piece of humble pie, especially after the way we dominated last week,” Maxfield said. “But I told them I don’t feel any different about this team than I did last week.”

In the controlled portion of the scrimmage, the Lions produced 283 yards – 160 rushing and 123 passing – on 50 snaps with two trips to the end zone.

Joseph Johnson had the long run of the day of 28 yards for the Lions, while Tommy Bowden connected with Ben Kallman for a 27-yard gain for Brownwood’s longest pass play.

“We got better at some things on offense, but the biggest thing that hurt us was ourselves,” Maxfield said. “We moved the ball on them, but then we’d have a turnover or a drive-stopping penalty. It’s hard to play a perfect game with no penalties, but when you have drive-stopping penalties, that’s what we have to eliminate.”

Defensively, Brownwood yielded 297 yards – 149 on the ground and 148 through the yards – on 50 plays as Rider scored three touchdowns, including a pair during the final 10 snaps for the second teams.

“It felt like our pass rush was not what it was last year,” Maxfield said. “Their quarterback scrambled around a lot, and that may have been because we didn’t game plan for that. We were just in our base stuff, so that’s part of the reason why we gave some of that up.”

The Lions were also playing without all-state linebacker Hunter Mares, who was held out as a precautionary measure with an ankle injury. Reigning District 3-4A Division I Newcomer of the Year and top pass rusher Hayden Tunnell also saw limited action due to a disciplinary decision following a personal foul.

“The extracurricular stuff, that is stopping — period,” Maxfield said. “We have zero tolerance for that and hopefully everybody learned that today.”

In the controlled portion of the scrimmage, the Lion starters’ first set of 15 plays featured a fumble at midfield about halfway through. Forced to start over at their own 30, the Lions reached the Rider 24 before the session ended.

Bowden connected with A.J. McCarty on a 14-yard toss that resulted in a first down, while Gavin Jefferson hauled in a 23-yard screen pass. A pass interference call on Rider during a third-and-11 kept the Lions’ deepest march alive.

On the other side of the ball, Rider’s second play - a 47-yard screen pass - nearly doubled the yardage allowed by the Lions in the entire scrimmage at Burnet. The Raiders scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass four snaps later.

But the session ended on a positive note for the Lions as Rider’s last two snaps included an interception by Kirk Vickers and a fumble recovery by Clayton Bertrand.

The Lions evened the score at one touchdown each during the second team’s first set of 10 plays, as Bertrand connected with Grayson Swanzy for a 21-yard scoring toss on third-and-10.

After a 30-minute lighting delay, the Lions’ second-team put Brownwood up two touchdowns to one as Cain Kittrell capped a 70-yard trek with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Over Rider’s final 25 snaps, the Raiders gained 198 of their 297 yards and tallied two of their three touchdowns — most of which came during the 10 plays the second units were on the field.

During the live scrimmage, Brownwood started with the ball at its own 30 but on the fourth snap a Bowden pass was deflected and intercepted at the Rider 38 at the 8:03 juncture.

Rider appeared to take the lead on a 59-yard touchdown pass against busted coverage, but a holding call negated the score and the Raiders were forced to punt.

The Lions picked up one first down on their next series booting the ball back to Rider with 2:58 left.

Two plays later, Rider connected on a 52-yard bubble screen touchdown pass for the only points of the live quarter.

The scrimmage ended with the Lions marching to the Rider 35, where penalties again pushed Brownwood backward as the quarter ended.

With the last of two scrimmages complete, the Lions will turn their attention to the season opener against Class 5A Canyon at 7 p.m. Friday at Wolfforth Frenship High School. Brownwood will attempt to avenge last year’s 20-17 overtime loss at Lubbock Cooper, the first of four straight games to start the 2016 season decided on the final play.