Bowden throws 5 TDs, rushes for another in first half

BIG SPRING — Tommy Bowden connected with Braden Jetton, running free through the secondary, for a 62-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first snap — and the blowout had commenced.

The Brownwood Lions secured their ninth straight trip to the postseason by handing the Big Spring Steers their 25th consecutive loss, 56-2, Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

“Any time you can get in the dance anything can happen,” said Lions second-year head coach Kyle Maxfield. “We’ve had some ups and downs this season, but we did what we needed to do tonight.”

The Lions (5-4, 1-2) finished with 383 yards of total offense, while limiting Big Spring (0-10, 0-4) to 56 total yards — including 2 in the second half. Of the Steers’ 51 snaps, 19 resulted in negative yardage.

“We knew Big Spring has struggled here and there,” Maxfield said. “We didn’t run the ball between the tackles very well, but they had a defense set up to try and stop our inside game. But when they stacked the box, that opened some things up and we were able to take advantage of that. Tommy threw the ball really well and had that long touchdown run that opened the flood gates for us.”

In just a half of work, Bowden completed 10 of 13 passes for 208 yards and five touchdowns, while adding a 79-yard sprint for a score as well, as Brownwood raced out to a 42-2 lead at intermission.

The only points for Big Spring came on a safety against Bowden late in the first half, as he was wrestled down in the end zone attempting to extend a play.

The Steer offense never passed the Brownwood 41 and punted the ball away nine times.

“The defense was great tonight and was swarming to the ball,” Maxfield said. “You may look at those stats and say that’s easy against a team that’s struggling, but our guys have been getting better every week. They played hard tonight and with the exception of one pass, they didn’t give up any big plays.”

Abel Clark connected with Mikey Renteria, who made a bobbling catch, for a 32-yard gain late in the first half. Taking away that play, the Steers mustered 24 yards on their remaining 50 snaps — an average of less than half a yard per play.

Bowden increased his total number of touchdown passes to 24 with only one interception on a Hail Mary, while Clayton Bertrand completed all five of his pass attempts for 110 yards and two scores in the second half — giving Brownwood 318 yards through the air.

A.J. McCarty led the way with five receptions for 154 yards and two scores, Nick Salazar finished with three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown and Jetton hauled in a pair of scoring receptions totaling 76 yards.

Bowden also wound up with 57 yards on the ground, as the Lions rushed for only 65 as a team on 17 carries.

The Lions’ third possession resulted in their second touchdown. With Brownwood backed up at its own 21 facing a third-and-12, Bowden scampered free for a 79-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Brownwood lead with 6:45 left in the first period.

Brownwood added a third touchdown before the first period concluded as Bowden again hooked up with Jetton from 14 yards out for a 21-0 lead with 3:20 left in the stanza. A high snap on a Big Spring punt attempt resulted in a 5-yard loss, as the Lions began the drive at the Steer 35.

The Lions’ next drive began at the Big Spring 37 following a 15-yard punt, and four plays later Bowden and Salazar connected on a 23-yard pitch and catch for 28-0 lead just 19 seconds into the second period.

McCarty then hauled in the first of his two scoring receptions, a 63-yard catch and run from Bowden to complete a one-play drive and push the advantage to 35-0 with 3:56 left in the half.

A 19-yard punt, coupled with a personal foul on Big Spring, preceded the Lions’ final drive of the half – which lasted just one play as Bowden hooked up with Gavin Jefferson on a 28-yard screen pass for a 42-0 advantage with 3:48 remaining in the opening half.

Big Spring closed the scoring in the first half with its safety on Bowden.

In the second half, the Lions scored on their second play as Bertrand hit McCarty on a short screen as he outran the Big Spring defense 75 yards for a 49-2 Brownwood lead.

Brownwood’s final touchdown came with 10:19 remaining as Grayson Swanzy scored for the second time in as many weeks, hauling in a 2-yard reception from Bertrand for the final 54-point margin.

Next week, the Lions host Snyder (2-7, 1-2), which is coming off a 49-20 loss to Stephenville, in a game that will determine the No. 3 and No. 4 playoff seeds out of District 3-4A Division I.

“This win tonight is a credit to our guys and our staff,” Maxfield said. “It would have been easy to look down the road, but we took care of business. We have to do the same thing next week with Snyder, then we can worry about what happens after that.”

Lions 56, Big Spring 2

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Brownwood 21 21 7 7 - 56

Big Spring 0 2 0 0 - 2

SCORING SUMMARY

B: Braden Jetton 62 pass from Tommy Bowden (Zack Smith kick), 11:42, 1st

B: Bowden 79 run (Smith kick), 6:45, 1st

B: Jetton 14 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 3:20, 1st

B: Nick Salazar 23 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 11:21, 2nd

B: A.J. McCarty 63 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 5:36, 2nd

B: Gavin Jefferson 28 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 1:41, 2nd

BS: Safety – Bowden tacked in end zone, 1:16, 2nd

B: McCarty 75 pass from Clayton Bertrand (Smith kick), 5:13, 3rd

B: Grayson Swanzy 2 pass from Bertrand (Smith kick), 10:19, 4th

TEAM STATS

B BS

First Downs 13 4

Total Offense 383 56

Rushes-Yards 17-65 36-8

Passing Yards 318 48

C-A-I 15-18-0 4-15-0

Fumbles Lost 1 0

Penalties 5-40 7-69

Punts 2-37.0 9-21.6

PLAYER STATS

Rushing

B: Tommy Bowden 4-57, Joseph Johnson 4-26, Gavin Jefferson 4-2, Tye’ Rus Jones 1-2, Clayton Bertrand 1-0, Cain Kittrell 1-(-1), Team 2-(-21).

BS: Zephaniah Nelson 4-26, Mikey Renteria 8-12, Jack Everett 4-(-2), Robert Valencia 11-(-12), Abel Clark 5-(-16).

Passing:

B: Bowden 10-13-0-208, Bertrand 5-5-0-110.

BS: Clark 4-15-0-48.

Receiving

B: A.J. McCarty 5-154, Nick Salazar 3-25, Braden Jetton 2-76, Grayson Swanzy 2-17, Jefferson 1-28, Tristin Revada 1-10, Alvaro Villarreal 1-8

BS: Renteria 3-43, Everett 1-5.