Coming off a one-win season and program upheaval a year ago, the Brownwood Lions are in the midst of a win streak heading into the District 4-4A opener, thanks to Friday night's 2-1 triumph over the Graham Steers in the first home game of the season at Gordon Wood Stadium.
The Lions improved to 4-6-1 overall with their second straight win over Graham, as Brownwood chalked up an 8-1 road victory Tuesday night.
“The difference was they didn't play a lot of their starters against us the first game,” Lions first-year head coach Brent Hardwick said of the narrow margin of victory. “They didn't know want to show too much, and that was OK by me.”
After a scoreless first half, the Lions fell behind 1-0 just 6:14 into the 40-minute second half.
“Their player hit a pretty darn good shot and there wasn't a lot we could do about it,” Hardwick said. “It just glanced off the back pole and went in. There was nothing we could go about it but battle back.”
And battle the Lions did.
With 15:33 left in regulation, Adrian Vielma found the top right corner of the net on a frozen rope from 25 yards out, knotting the score at 1.
“It was a bang-bang play,” Hardwick said. “We thought we were going to get a foul and a free kick out of it, but the referee let it play on and it turned out to be great for us because Adrian put a really good hit on it and was able to find the back corner.”
With 3:39 remaining in regulation, Jakob Dorsett maneuvered through the heart of the Graham defense and fired a shot from 20 yards out that ricocheted off a Steer defender, away from the goal keeper, and into the net for the game-winner.
“That was just a hard-working goal,” Hardwick said. “Hats off to Graham being a first-year program and being able to do the things they do, but it was just a hard-working goal by us. We showed a little bit more heart at the end and I guarantee you we wanted it more than they did.”
The Lions will attempt to extend their win streak to three matches on Feb. 16 when they host Abilene Wylie in the league opener.
“Right now we're making huge strides,” Hardwick said. “We're 4-6-1, two games from being a .500 club and that's kind of been our goal. We're taking baby steps and once we get to .500 we'll focus on becoming a winning club.”