The Seminole Indians offense gave Brownwood’s defense fits — for a half, at least — this past Friday, and the Lions will be facing another stern challenge from the Wimberley Texans in the Class 3A Division II, Region I semifinals.
Brownwood (10-2) and Wimberley (8-4) will square off for the right to play for the regional championship at 2 p.m. Friday at Copperas Cove’s Bulldawg Stadium.
The Texans have collected victories in seven of their last eight games heading into Friday’s showdown, and Wimberley’s offense has averaged 38 points per game during that span.
Wimberley’s offense is led by the three-headed monster of running back Dennis Smith, quarterback Brooks Blakemore and receiver Brennan Blakemore.
Unofficially, Smith has piled up 1,230 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground, with 320 yards and seven touchdowns coming in playoff wins over Glen Rose and Iowa Park.
Brooks Blakemore — who missed three games early in the season, including two Wimberley losses, due to injury — has completed 64-of-126 passes for 981 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Brennan Blakemore, the younger brother of the quarterback, has 31 receptions for 512 yards and seven TDs.
Against Glen Rose in the opening round of the playoffs, Wimberley climbed out of a 16-0 first-quarter hole for a 49-44 victory.
Smith rushed for 217 yards and five touchdowns, while Brooks Blakemore completed 7-of-10 passes for 164 yards and rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Brennan Blakemore added five receptions for 97 yards, as Wimberley racked up 464 yards of total offense, with 300 coming on the ground.
In last week’s 31-14 win over Iowa Park at Gordon Wood Stadium, Smith rushed for 103 yards and two scores, while Brooks Blakemore connected on 8-of-14 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, including a 42-yarder to Brennan Blakemore.
The Lions, who have won six straight, gave up 422 total yards to Seminole last week — the second-most tallied by an opponent all season. However, the 71 yards yielded in the third and fourth quarters marked the third straight game in which the opposition failed to reach at least 100 yards of total offense in one half against the Brownwood defense.
Despite the ugly numbers overall surrendered last week, the Lions’ defensive stats over the last six games are still better than the season as a whole.
For the year, Brownwood is allowing 17.5 points and 274.8 total yards — 141.8 rushing and 133 passing — per contest. During the win streak, the Lions have yielded 13.8 points and 259.7 total yards — 130.2 passing and 129.5 rushing — with 13 turnovers forced.
Not only have the defensive stats improved over the course of the season, the Lion defensive performances have excelled as the games have progressed during the six-game win streak — a sign of positive adjustments.
Brownwood has also shown it is more than capable of bottling up an offense from start to finish — as evidenced by the 112 total yards allowed and defensive shutout against Dalhart.
Whether Brownwood gets Wimberley’s offensive attack under control early or late, slowing down the Texans to some extent will be crucial to the Lions’ hopes of playing football into December.