Brownwood heads into bye week, district action with two-game win streak

TEMPLE — Brownwood will head into its bye week, and then District 3-4A Division I competition, with a win streak as the Lions gutted out a 20-14 victory over the Giddings Buffaloes Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

Brownwood (3-2) — coming off a 21-7 victory at Alvarado — opened a 14-0 halftime lead only to witness Giddings (1-4) draw even early in the fourth period. The Lions responded with the go-ahead drive then, after just the second turnover by Brownwood this season, the defense stopped the Buffaloes deep in Lions territory. Brownwood’s offense then ran the final 4:52 off the clock.

“It’s good to have three wins against the non-district schedule we had, but the open week is coming at a good time,” said Lions second-year head coach Kyle Maxfield. “We have a lot of things we can get better at and have to get better at if we’re going to make a run at the district title.”

With the Lions clinging to a 20-14 lead, Giddings took over at the Brownwood 43 following a muffed punt with 7:56 remaining, and advanced to Lion 27 in three plays. The Buffaloes lost 1 yard over their next three snaps, however, and faced a 4th-and-11 at the 28. Giddings quarterback Rustin Grimm rolled out to the left under duress on the play, but short hopped an off-balance pass to his intended receiver at the first-down marker, as Brownwood regained possession with just under five minutes remaining.

“Giddings really had their chili hot at that point but the defense stepped up with their backs against the wall,” Maxfield said. “We got them in fourth and long and stopped them and turned the tide. The offense took over after that.”

The Lions appeared to score twice on their final drive — on a 74-yard run by quarterback Tommy Bowden and a 37-yard bubble screen from Bowden to Braden Jetton — but both plays were negated due to penalties. The Lions were flagged eight times for 80 yards.

Still, behind the offensive line of Wyatt Jacobs, Blaize Infinger, Liam McCraw, Tyelor Chew and Carlos Benitez, the Lions were able to grind out what turned out to be 99 yards, after penalties, on their final possession to secure the victory.

“Giddings has a lot of two-way starters and we felt like we might be able to wear them down, so that was definitely part of the game plan,” Maxfield said.

After rushing for just 54 yards in the first half, Brownwood racked up 211 yards on the ground by game’s end. Bowden finished with 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Gavin Jefferson also rushed for 104 yards.

A 36-yard run by Jefferson ignited the Lions on their go-ahead drive after Giddings drew even at 14 with 11:32 remaining. The Lions took over at their own 43 following the kickoff, and Jefferson immediately put Brownwood on the brink of the red zone with his longest carry of the night.

Another 6-yard carry by Jefferson, coupled with two runs totaling 5 yards by Cain Kittrell, set up the Lions at the 10, where Bowden scored on a third-and-goal quarterback keeper with 9:19 left.

“We struggled for a second, but we busted a few plays,” said Bowden, who accounted for 235 total yards and all three of Brownwood’s touchdowns. “The defense kept us in it and we kept trying to execute and a few times we busted it open. The line did a great job and anybody could have run through those holes, they were massive.”

Maxfield added, “That was big because Giddings had the momentum for most of the second half until that drive. For our kids to respond to adversity that way, that was huge.”

A missed extra point attempt after the go-ahead touchdown left a feeling of uneasiness, but the Lions defense rose to the challenge with Brownwood clinging to a six-point advantage.

Giddings scored 28 points in each of its first four games, but the Lions held the Buffaloes to half that and also surrendered just 216 yards of total offense — 115 rushing and 101 passing — with four sacks and two takeaways. Hunter Mares recovered a fumble, Marcus Mosley picked off a pass, Hayden Tunnell recorded two sacks and Hunter Leonard and Jayln Jones added one sack apiece.

Through the first two quarters, Brownwood yielded just three first downs, 77 yards, and no points — but Giddings came to life after intermission.

“I thought we were sleepwalking a little bit, ho-humming it in the third quarter,” Maxfield said. “I told them at halftime Giddings was going to come back with some good shots. They’re too athletic and too well-coached not to. But I thought our defense answered the call when they had to.”

The Lions grabbed a 7-0 lead with 54 seconds left in the opening period, turning their third possession into the game’s first points. Facing second-and-13 from the Giddings 35, Brownwood’s seven-play, 60-yard trek concluded with a scoring toss from Bowden to Leonard.

Through the air, Bowden completed 9 of 22 passes for 131 yards with his 13th touchdown toss of the season. Bowden has still not thrown an interception.

Brownwood finished with 342 yards of total offense and generated 157 yards in the first half, which culminated with a 5-yard keeper by Bowden for a 14-0 cushion at the 1:41 mark of the second period. A 37-yard screen pass from Bowden to Kittrell triggered the six-play, 77-yard march.

Giddings took its first drive of the second half 58 yards in 11 plays as Tavion Page scored on a 4-yard carry to trim the Lions’ lead to 14-7 with 3:18 left in the third.

After the Lions failed to convert a fourth-and-14 at the Giddings 38, the Buffaloes quickly responded with a three-play, 62-yard trek as Page’s 57-yard run on the first play set up Brian Green’s 1-yard tying touchdown.

The Lions prevailed in the end, however, and will begin to focus on the Oct. 13 district opener at defending champion Abilene Wylie (3-2), which halted a rare two-game skid with a 50-7 victory over Brownfield Friday night.

Lions 20, Giddings 14

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Giddings 0 0 7 7 - 14

Brownwood 7 7 0 6 - 10

SCORING SUMMARY

B: Hunter Leonard 35 pass from Tommy Bowden (Zack Smith kick), 0:54, 1st

B: Bowden 5 run (Smith kick), 1:41, 2nd

G: Tavion Page 4 run (Mark Orocio kick), 3:18, 3rd

G: Brian Green 1 run (Orocio kick), 11:32, 4th

B: Bowden 10 run (kick failed), 9:19, 4th

TEAM STATS

G B

First Downs 12 17

Total Offense 216 342

Rushes-Yards 33-115 33-211

Passing Yards 101 131

C-A-I 11-19-1 9-22-0

Fumbles Lost 1 1

Penalties 3-15 8-80

Punts 6-32.8 5-33.6

PLAYER STATS

Rushing

G: Tavion Page 16-104, Brandon Mitschke 10-28, Brian Green 1-1, Travis James 1-1, Rustin Grimm 5-(-19).

B: Tommy Bowden 11-104, Gavin Jefferson 18-104, A.J. McCarty 1-4, Joseph Johnson 1-1, Cain Kittrell 5-(-2).

Passing:

G: Grimm 11-19-1-101

B: Bowden 9-22-0-131

Receiving

G: Jaylon Joiner 6-63, Luke Benignus 2-20, Juan Gallardo 1-11, Drew Villesca 1-7, Alex DeLaTorre 1-4.

B: Kittrell 2-36, Braden Jetton 2-25, McCarty 2-21, Nick Salazar 2-14, Hunter Leonard 1-35.