The Brownwood Lions cleared their first hurdle in District 8-3A action with a 25-13 road victory at Burnet, but an even tougher test awaits Friday further away from home.
The Lions (3-3, 1-0), in the midst of their first win streak of the year, will try to upend the preseason district favorite Liberty Hill Panthers (5-1, 1-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Liberty Hill has reeled off five consecutive victories and scored at least 46 points in each of those contests. The only loss for the Panthers was a 32-29 setback against No. 7 Giddings in the season opener.
Among the victims for the Panthers during their string of victories are Hondo (61-16), Smithville (49-13), Rockdale (76-35), Wimberley (46-24) and Llano (55-28) in last week’s district opener.
The wing-T based Panther offense is producing 457 yards per game, with 432 yards coming on the ground. Through six games, the Panthers have passed for just 147 yards.
The two leading rushers in District 8-3A hail from Liberty Hill — Jesse Perez with 766 yards and six touchdowns and Cory Ferrell with 687 yards and 11 scores. Will Fromme ranks sixth in the district with 409 yards and six touchdowns.
Brownwood, meanwhile, is surrendering 23 points and 306 yards per game with 113 coming on the ground. The Lions have also forced 11 takeaways, including five last week against Burnet, and allowed just 13 points in each of the last two games.
Liberty Hill is yielding 25 points and 387 yards per game on average, which could bode well for the Brownwood offense.
The Lions are generating 25 points and 283 yards of total offense — 156 passing and 127 rushing.
Chris Keesee has thrown for 923 yards and eight touchdowns, Cooper Howey has grabbed a team-high 33 receptions for 356 yards and five scores and Braxton Kilgo leads the Lions with 341 yards rushing and five trips to the end zone.
The Lions, Liberty Hill and Gatesville (6-0, 1-0) currently share the 8-3A lead.