The Brownwood Lions’ offensive assault on the record book continued in Friday night’s 56-26 homecoming victory over the Breckenridge Buckaroos. But more importantly, the Lions (3-4, 1-1) earned their first District 2-3A victory and remained in the thick of the playoff chase with three games remaining.
“The playoffs started for us tonight,” said Lions head coach Steve Freeman, whose team was coming off a 31-28 district-opening loss at No. 7 Abilene Wylie. “We chipped away at this one and we’ve got a little less than a week to get ready and do everything we possibly can about the next one (at Graham). We were due and I’m really excited for our kids. It was a great outing for them tonight.”
Brownwood racked up a season-high 627 yards of total offense, unofficially the most by a Freeman-coached Lions team.
“I’m never aware of yardage during the game, but there were some good offensive moments for us tonight, mostly in the air,” Freeman said. “I know in our tenure in Brownwood, we can go back to 1998 when we put 615 (total yards) together one night in Stephenville at Tarleton Stadium. But what a great night tonight for us offensively.”
Lions quarterback Casey Pachall eclipsed 400 yards passing for the second time this season - finishing with 423 after completing 16-of-25 attempts. Pachall also threw six touchdown passes for the second time this year and rushed for a team-high 79 yards with another score.
“Casey was a lot more sharp tonight than what he was a week ago,” Freeman said. “With the stuff that was going on tonight on the edge, and Parker (Taylor), Shelby (Miller) and Travis (Holleman) in rotation, I know those guys mixed it up early on and played some zone stuff, and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Taylor established a new Brownwood receiving record with 295 yards and three touchdowns on just eight catches. Taylor, who broke the school record earlier this season against Liberty Hill, caught touchdown passes of 92, 61 and 33 yards.
“Parker had an absolutely great night tonight,” Freeman said. “He can run and he can catch and if you get the ball around him, he’s going to make something happen.”
The Lions also added a season-high 204 yards on the ground as three different rushers - Pachall, Rashad Deal (60 yards) and Levi Perez (58 yards) - broke the 50-yard barrier.
“We had a lot of people touch the ball and a lot of yardage from a lot of people,” Freeman said.
Defensively, the Lions’ performance was again sporadic. A Breckenridge team that had not scored more than 12 points in a game this year more than doubled its best point output, while a rushing attack that was churning out right at 100 yards per game finished with 332.
Brownwood’s defense did hold Breckenridge without a completion in 10 pass attempts, but Buckaroo running back Troy Roberson finished with 265 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 26 carries.
“I’ll be surprised when the season is over if there is a running back in the district much tougher or better than the one they had tonight at Breckenridge,” Freeman said. “He was very tough and never quit running. It was obvious they put some yards together. He’s a tough kid.”
The Lions raced out to a 35-13 halftime lead, but not before Brownwood and Breckenridge exchanged the first four touchdowns.
Brownwood opened the scoring just 1:42 into the game as Pachall connected with Holleman on an 11-yard scoring toss for a 7-0 Lions’ lead.
Following the only turnover of the night - a Derek Longoria fumble that was returned 33 yards by Juan Hernandez to the Lions’ 7 - Roberson scored on a 1-yard 4th-and-goal run to even the score at 7-all with 5:13 left in the opening period.
The Lions needed just three plays to respond as Pachall and Taylor connected on their first touchdown, a 61-yard toss that put Brownwood back in front, 14-7, with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
Just 23 seconds later, the Buckaroos received an 80-yard touchdown run from Roberson, but the kick failed, which left the Lions in front, 14-13.
Brownwood tacked on a final first-quarter touchdown as Taylor galloped past the Breckenridge secondary on a 92-yard reception from Pachall. The play came immediately after Deal’s 92-yard kick return was called back for a holding penalty - one of eight flags for 68 yards against the Lions.
The Lions scored the only points of the second quarter on a 35-yard quarterback draw by Pachall, and a 16-yard Pachall to Miller pass.
Leading by 22 points at the break, the Lions allowed Breckenridge to take the opening drive of the second half 50 yards in six plays as Roberson scored on a 21-yard scamper.
The Lions gained a 42-20 edge on Pachall’s 33-yard strike to Taylor at the 8:33 mark of the third period, then Pachall found MIller on a 25-yard scoring toss to boost the lead to 49-20 with 2:57 left in the stanza.
Breckenridge scored its final touchdown with 5:11 remaining on a 41-yard Roberson sprint, but the Lions answered with 2:08 left on a 22-yard run by Perez, who notched his first touchdown of the season.
Brownwood will target its second straight district victory when it heads to Graham (1-6, 0-2) next week. The Steers suffered a 31-24 loss to Sweetwater Friday after dropping a 30-26 decision to Snyder in the district opener.
In this week’s other 2-3A contest, No. 7 Wylie rallied past Snyder, 18-14, Friday.