Bulletin Staff Report

“We went into the tournament shooting to qualify for the 3A tournament, and after qualifying in 4A-5A last week, we felt confident we would,” Lions wide receivers coach Chris Hagler said. “Fortunately, we won the tournament, went 4-0.”

Brownwood defeated Carrollton Creekview 34-20 in the first game Saturday, and then stopped Coffman 35-25 to win its pool. In an unusual turn of events, the Lions won a bye in its third game, and advanced to the semifinals where a 39-19 win over Crandall ensured a berth in the state tournament July 9-10.

Then, in the finals, Brownwood got by defending 3A 7-on-7 state champion Celina 35-27. That win is also significant because Celina also won the Class 3A state crown in regular season play.

“It makes you feel pretty good to come away undefeated, because we really weren’t hitting on all cylinders,” Hagler said. “But we stood our ground. On offense, our receivers weren’t as consistent as they have been, but they caught the ball when we needed them too — for first downs and touchdowns. We struggled all day, and we just weren’t where we felt comfortable. Defensively, it was the same way, but we made plays when they were needed. But with all that said, we’re doing OK. We persevered.”

Brownwood will host a qualifying tournament next Saturday, and Hagler said several teams that will be here have already qualified as well.

“We’ll see Lake Travis, Copperas Cove and several others,” Hagler said. “It will be a good tournament. We look to make some adjustments and improve.”

Leading point producers for the Lions Saturday included Kenny Vaccaro, 41 points through the four games including two key touchdowns on interception returns while playing defense; Travis Holleman, 27 points; Parker Taylor, 25 points; and Shelby Miller, 25 points.

“We have five freshmen, who will be sophomores, playing well for us,” Hagler said. He mentioned the play of freshman Cade Johnson on Saturday, but said the others are making important contributions as well.

“They’re not playing like they’re underclassmen,” Hagler said. “We’ve got a good mix.”

7-on-7 football is used by Texas high schools as an off-season workout program to promote and improve the quality of quarterbacks, receivers, secondary players and linebackers. High school programs throughout Texas organize teams and participate in a summer league that culminates with the FSN Southwest state championship tournament in July. To comply with UIL rules, active coaches are prohibited from instructing players during games.

The 7-on-7 format emphasizes passing using a 45-yard field and a one-hand touch for a tackle. All players, except the center, are eligible receivers. The game is played in two 20-minute continuous halves. Uniforms consist of shorts and T-shirts with no pads or helmets.