Bulletin Staff Report
COLLEGE STATION — After capturing first place in their pool, the Brownwood Lions cleared their first hurdle in their quest for a 7-on-7 Division II state championship Thursday at Texas A&M University’s Penberthy Field.
The Lions knocked off the Prosper Eagles, 47-18, in rematch of a pool game from the Gatesville state qualifier on May 28. Brownwood also won the first meeting, 47-14.
Now, the Lions will tangle with one of the teams that give them a blemish on their record this summer — the Rockdale Tigers. Brownwood and Rockdale will battle at 8:30 a.m. in the round 16 at Penberthy Field in a rematch of the Tigers’ 43-42 victory, which occurred after time expired in the semifinals of the Gatesville tournament.
“It’s ironic we get to play them again,” said Lions 7-on-7 coordinator and offensive coordinator Mitch Moore. “Actually, we’re going to play two bracket games and they are against teams we’ve already faced.
“Of course Rockdale was the team that knocked us out in the first tournament and there was a little controversy with possibly an extra down and them winning with no time left. I think playing them in the first game (Friday) will make a big difference for us.”
The Lions caught fire in the last two of their four games Thursday, scoring 97 points after suffering only their third loss of the summer.
Following a surprising 28-27 pool loss at the hands of Jasper, the Lions answered with a 50-21 thrashing of Bandera in the pool play final, then carried that momentum over to their 29-point win over Prosper.
“Against Jasper, we got up by two touchdowns and then had a bit of a letdown,” Moore said. “We were stopped a couple of times and missed a couple of extra points and that wound up hurting us. That loss stung a little, but it helped us get refocused for games three and four.
“We really got rolling pretty good against Bandera. We were ahead three or four touchdowns most of the game and it was good to see us carry over that momentum. Against Prosper, we were up 35-6 at halftime and it was pretty much over. We were able to play a lot of people in the second half.”
The Lions began the day with a 40-26 victory over Kirbyville — the only Class 2A school in their pool.
“It was a good back and forth contest that was tight for a while,” Moore said. “We were finally able to get some stops, though.”
Brownwood’s defense was sparked by two interceptions from Graylon Brown, one each from Kenny Vaccaro and Payton Ragsdale and Hayden Hewitt provided solid coverage, according to Moore.
Offensively, Parker Taylor caught a team-high five touchdown passes, followed by four from Travis Holleman and three each from Vaccaro, Rashad Deal, Vance McShan and Luke Chastain. Cade Johnson and Shelby Miller — who played in only one game — hauled in a pair of scoring tosses.
Moore praised the effort of quarterback Casey Pachall and his ability to once again spread the ball to a variety of receivers. Brown also saw time at quarterback late in the day and was able to toss a couple of touchdowns.
The winner of the Brownwood-Rockdale contest will face either Class A Normangee or Marion in the state quarterfinals at 9:30 a.m.
The rest of the “Sweet 16” includes Rice Consolidated vs. Lovejoy, Jasper vs. Navasota, Diboll vs. Celina, Melissa vs. New Waverly, Crane vs. Bandera and Gatesville vs. Paradise.
The Division II championship game is still tentatively scheduled to take place at noon today at Kyle Field.