The Brownwood Lions punted on their opening drive, then followed with nine consecutive scoring marches — and also scored on a pair of Springtown possessions — en route to a 72-28 thrashing of the visiting Porcupines Friday night at Gordon Wood Stadium.
In the final game before the start of District 3-4A Division I competition, Brownwood (5-1) racked up 404 yards of total offense in the first half alone, with 287 coming on the ground. By the end of the night, the Lions — behind the front five of Kory Owen, Tucker Roberts, Hayden Day, James Nash and Clayton Hagey — had generated 496 yards against the Springtown (2-3) defense, including 375 yards rushing on 47 carries, while compiling 31 first downs.
“I think we’re hard to handle and can present some problems, but it starts with the offensive line,” said Lions head coach Chuck Howard. “If you win the battle up front, you have a chance to win games. It all starts right there. We’ve got some weapons offensively you have to account for, and I’m not sure you can account for all of them. If we come out and play hard and play focused, we’re hard to stop offensively.”
Quarterback Grant Lewis rushed for a team-high 127 yards and two scores, Harley Price chipped in 112 yards with a trip to the end zone and Gavin Jefferson added 95 yards with three touchdown carries.
Lewis also completed 5 of 9 passes for 121 yards, including scoring tosses of 66 yards to Connor Howard and 37 yards to Rylee Gregory.
Lewis offered praise to the offensive line as well.
“I can’t thank those guys enough,” Lewis said. “I tell them every day how thankful I am for the big guys up front pushing the defensive line and letting me rush a little bit. It’s rewarding in the end for them to see a score like that up on the board.”
Defensively, the Lions wound up surrendering 373 yards — 268 passing and 105 rushing — but much of that came in the fourth period as Brownwood cleared the bench after establishing a 57-point lead late in the third period.
“I’ve been saying it over and over, but this a tremendous group of young men,” Howard said. “We’ve got great leadership and they’ve worked extremely hard. We talk about giving, giving as an individual during the week to your team so on Friday night we can come out here and take, take what we want. Great competitors go out and take it.”
The Lions led 21-9 after one quarter as, after trading punts, Brownwood travelled 66 yards in one play on its second possession, as Howard scored on a bubble screen from Lewis.
Springtown — also known as Pojo — responded with a 32-yard field by Wriley Russell to cut Brownwood’s lead to 7-3, but a four-play, 49-yard response culminated with a 31-yard touchdown gallop by Jefferson.
Brownwood’s 14-3 lead was short-lived as Springtown quarterback Kaleb Chesney connected with Mateo Herrera on a 75-yard scoring toss, but the two-point conversion failed.
The Lions answered with five-play, 37-yard trek — after Price returned the kickoff deep into Porcupine territory — as Lewis scored on a 3-yard dive.
Brownwood tacked on 30 points in the second period as the lead grew to 51-15 at intermission.
After stuffing Springtown — which rushed for only 8 yards on 13 carries in the first half — on a fourth-and-2 from its own 41, the Lions needed only four plays to extend their advantage to 28-9. Price scored on a 22-yard jaunt just 50 seconds into the second quarter.
The Porcupines punted on their next possession, and Brownwood responded with an 81-yard scoring drive — all on the ground — which was capped by a 8-yard sprint from Jefferson with 6:21 before intermission.
Leading 35-9, the Lions pinned Springtown on its own 1 after the Porcupines bobbled the ensuing kickoff. On the second play of the possession, Fisher Drewry was bottled up in the backfield by the Brownwood defensive line, and the lead increased to 37-9 following the safety.
Lewis ran for 37 yards on the first play of Brownwood’s next drive, which ended with 3:33 left in the second period on a 1-yard touchdown carry by Lewis, stretching the lead to 44-9.
Springtown struck for six points on a 63-yard toss from Chesney to Herrera, but the Lions answered with a 37-yard scoring strike from Lewis to Gregory with 37 seconds left in the half.
“Our kids are playing extremely hard but we still have a lot of things we need to work on,” Howard said. “I was disappointed in the two deep balls because those things will bite you in big games.”
For the second week in a row, the Lions recorded both a safety and a defensive touchdown as Aaron Jimenez picked off Chesney on the second play of the third quarter and returned the interception 20 yards to boost Brownwood’s advantage to 58-15.
“I guess the quarterback didn’t see me because I was crouched down to the ground, and I just took the opportunity,” Jimenez said. “This team has worked so unbelievably hard, it’s an honor to play with these guys. They go 100 percent every single day, every single hour.”
The Lions’ next drive covered 65 yards in nine plays and ended on a 14-yard Jefferson touchdown run, making the scoring 65-15 at the 5:23 mark of the third period.
Brownwood tacked on one final touchdown before the third quarter ended as Xavier Armenta — who added 27 yards late — scored on a 3-yard carry as the lead stood at 72-15 with 58 seconds until the start of the final period.
Springtown mustered two late touchdowns on runs of 5 yards by Quinton Allen and 1 yard by Drewry.
Next week, the Lions open district action at Stephenville (2-3), which had a bye Friday. Brownwood has not defeated the Yellow Jackets since the 2010 campaign.
“Obviously it’s a big game,” Howard said. “Stephenville was off this week so they’ve had two weeks to prepare for us. We’ll go to work tomorrow and it’ll be like every other week to this point. We’re going to be 0-0 going into the week, and we’re going to have to execute well and play extremely hard to win that game.”
Lions 72, Springtown 28
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Springtown 9 6 0 13 - 28
Brownwood 21 30 72 0 - 72
B: Connor Howard 66 pass from Grant Lewis (Aaron Jimenez kick), 8:12, 1st
S: Wriley Russell 32 FG (5:50, 1st
B: Gavin Jefferson 31 run (Jimenez kick), 4:46, 1st
S: Mateo Herrera 75 pass from Kaleb Chesney (run failed), 4:05, 1st
B: Grant Lewis 3 run (Jimenez kick), 1:54, 1st
B: Harley Price 22 run (Jimenez kick), 11:10, 2nd
B: Jefferson 8 run (Jimenez kick), 6:21, 2nd
B: Safety: Fisher Drewry tackled in end zone, 6:09, 2nd
B: Lewis 1 run (Jimenez kick), 3:33, 2nd
B: Herrera 63 pass from Chesney (run failed), 1:49, 2nd
B: Rylee Gregory 37 pass from Lewis (Jimenez kick), 0:37, 2nd
B: Jimenez 20 interception return (Jimenez kick), 11:18, 3rd
B: Jefferson 14 run (Jimenez kick), 5:23, 3rd
B: Xavier Armenta 3 run (Jimenez kick), 0:58, 3rd
S: Quinton Allen 5 run (Russell kick), 8:11, 4th
S: Drewry 1 run (Russell kick), 0:36, 4th
First Downs 17 31
Total Offense 373 496
Rushes-Yards 28-105 47-375
Passing Yards 268 121
C-A-I 15-26-1 5-9-0
Fumbles Lost 1 1
Penalties 14-121 8-65
Punts 3-37.6 1-34.0
S: Quinton Allen 17-60, Kaleb Chesney 9-45, Fisher Drewry 2-0. B: Grant Lewis 15-127, Harley Price 11-112, Gavin Jefferson 10-95, Xavier Armenta 7-27, Bruce Sterling 2-9, Connor Howard 1-8, Marlwin Perez 2-(-3).
S: Chesney 15-26-1-268. B: Lewis 5-9-0-121.
S: Mateo Herrera 8-175, Austin Bauman 3-29, Eric Antonucci 3-18, Brandon Santos 1-46. B: Howard 2-72, Rylee Gregory 1-37, Price 1-8, Jefferson 1-4.