Brownwood tallies final 20 points, allows one second-half touchdown
GRAHAM — After a rocky start over the first two weeks of the season, the Brownwood Lions were finally able to put all the pieces together and capture their initial victory of the 2018 campaign, 47-26 over the Graham Steers Friday night at Newton Field.
The Lions (1-2) produced 471 total yards — 274 through the air and 197 on the ground — without a turnover, while limiting Graham (0-3) to 374 yards — and just 124 after halftime — and creating their first two takeaways of the season.
“They came out with passion,” said Brownwood Lions first-year head coach Sammy Burnett. “Our backs were against the wall, we were 0-2, we hadn’t played like we should have been playing and the results happened as they should. I told them all week there were no more excuses, none to make. We had to get it done. The difference in the game was execution and a lack of self destruction.”
“I told them to come out and play every play with great passion, execute, overcome adversity, stay level when you’re successful and keep playing every play and the next play, and they did that well.”
The victory was also the first for Burnett at his alma mater. Burnett, a 1988 BHS graduate, is the first Lion player to serve as head coach of the program.
“All I could think about was myself playing at the time when our kids were having so much fun,” Burnett said. “They were playing with great passion and they brought out the passion in me. It was enjoyable for me to get to come out here and be a part of it. I told them I look at those colors all the time and I look at that logo on the helmet and I’m just so blessed to be where I’m at. And to watch them get excited and to receive the reward from what I’m preaching to them, it’s incredibly enjoyable.”
Behind an offensive front of Brandon Farrow, Jalyn Jones, Theo Bryant, Jacob Ruiz and Ulysses Villarreal, among others, Lions quarterback Tommy Bowden completed 18 of 25 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 94 yards and two more scores.
A.J. McCarty caught a career-high 10 passes for 140 yards with two trips to the end zone, Ian Moreno rushed for 86 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 32 yards, and Ben Kallman hauled in a 33-yard touchdown reception to highlight the offensive surge.
“We mixed a little a bit of the run with a little bit of the quick game, we’d run a slow screen then a quick screen, and we pressed down the field and tried to extend the field and keep them off balance,” Burnett said. “Our kids were in a rhythm and started executing like we can. We played like Brownwood Lions.”
Knotted at 20 at halftime, the Lions and Steers traded touchdowns once more — with Graham missing an extra point to trail 27-26 midway through the third period — before Brownwood took control of the contest.
After surrendering four touchdowns over the first two and a half quarters, the Lions did not yield a point the final 17:38 of the contest. Though Chase Gilmore rushed for 129 yards and caught three passes for 88 yards with three total touchdowns, the running back was limited to 33 yards — all on the ground — in the second half. And quarterback Hunter Lanham, who completed 8 of 10 passes in the opening half for 147 yards and two of his three touchdowns, threw for just 78 yards in the second half. Lanham’s final five tosses were off target — including interceptions by Zach Strong and Grayson Swanzy.
“I challenged them to come out and win the second half and think of it as a 0-0 ball game.” Burnett said of the second-half adjustments. “ I said we had to come out and win the third quarter, which we did, and we also won the fourth quarter. I thought we won all phases of the game, the special teams part, the offense and the defense, and we started to control the line of scrimmage.”
After forcing a Graham punt on the opening possession of the second half, the Lions traveled 71 yards in seven plays to take a 27-20 lead, which they never relinquished. Aided by a pair of Graham personal fouls — two of six flags for 60 yards against the Steers — the Lions moved to the 14-yard line, where a screen pass from Bowden to McCarty covered the final distance at the 7:01 mark,
The Steers answered in four plays as Lanham connected with Daniel Gilbertson on a 35-yard scoring toss at the 5:38 mark of the third period, but the extra point was off target and Graham never scored again.
On the next possession, Brownwood stretched its lead to 34-26 as Bowden capped the four-play series with a 41-yard touchdown run with 4:40 left in the third period.
Graham netted one first down on the next drive before punting the ball back to Brownwood. A six-play, 47-yard drive culminated with another Bowden touchdown carry, this one from just a yard away, as the lead grew to 40-26 with 11:10 remaining.
Following an interception by Strong, the Lions took over at the Graham 38 and, facing a third-and-5 with 1:51 left, Bowden again found McCarty for a 31-yard touchdown and the final points.
Swanzy’s interception with 1:26 remaining sealed the victory.
The Lions opened the game with a six-play, 67-yard scoring drive as a 50-yard carry by Moreno on the fourth snap set up his own 2-yard touchdown plunge two snaps later.
“That was just attitude,” Burnett said of Moreno’s long run, which seemed to set the tone for the Lions offense the rest of the night,
Graham scored the next two touchdowns on a 32-yard swing pass from Lanham to Gilmore and an 8-yard toss from Lanham to Raider Horn, as the Lions trailed 13-6 with 11:22 left in the half.
The Lions answered with two touchdowns of their own on another 2-yard rub by Moreno at 6:37, and a 33-yard toss from a scrambling Bowden to Kallman with 3:09 before the break.
“It was a good ball game in the first half,” Burnett said. “We had some plays break down but we were able to improvise and found some receivers on some scramble routes. I thought we did a good job with that.”
The Steers answered with a 2-yard plunge by Gilmore to even the score at 20 with 1:27 left in the second quarter.
“The Gilmore kid is pretty good,” Burnett said. “He got to us some early, got the edge on us by hitting us off the C and D gap, but we were able to fix that. The kids did a good job. “
The Lions will attempt to start their first win streak of the season and level their record at 2-2 when they visit Class 5A Division II Wichita Falls Rider at 7 p.m. Thursday. Rider (1-2) suffered a 28-0 loss to Amarillo High Friday night.
BROWNWOOD 47, GRAHAM 26
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Brownwood 6 14 14 13 - 47
Graham 6 14 6 0 - 26
B: Ian Moreno 2 run (kick failed), 9:15, 1st
G: Chase Gilmore 1 run (kick failed), 6:40, 1st
G: Raider Horn 8 pass from Hunter Lanham (Greg Simental kick), 11:22, 2nd
B: Moreno 2 run (Zack Smith kick), 6:37, 2nd
B: Ben Kallman 33 pass from Tommy Bowden (Smith kick), 3:09, 2nd
G: Gilmore 2 run (Simental kick), 1:37, 2nd
B: A.J. McCarty 14 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 7:01, 3rd
G: Daniel Gilbertson 35 pass from Lanham (kick failed), 5:38, 3rd
B: Bowden 41 run (Smith kick), 4:40, 3rd
B: Bowden 1 run (kick failed), 11:10, 4th
B: McCarty 31 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 1:51, 4th
First Downs 26 18
Total Offense 471 374
Rushing Yards 37-197 29-149
Passing Yards 274 225
C-A-I 18-26-0 14-21-2
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Penalties 5-49 6-60
Punts 2-32.5 4-28.0
B: Tommy Bowden 20-94, Ian Moreno 13-86, Hayden Tunnell 2-9, Reece Rodgers 1-6, Joseph Johnson 1-2.
G: Chase Gilmore 24-129, Daniel Gilbertson 2-13, Wyatt Mayberry 2-9, Hunter Lanham 1-(-2)
B: Bowden 18-25-0-274, A.J. McCarty 0-1-0-0.
G: Lanham 14-21-2-225.
B: McCarty 10-140, Moreno 3-32, Zach Strong 2-32, Ben Kallman 1-33, Hunter Leonard 1-21, Braden Jetton 1-8.
G: Gilbertson 5-66, Gilmore 3-88, Marcus Clark 3-30, Raider Horn 2-36, Ethan Hughes 1-5.