Lions will play pool games at Springtown

After playing their first three games of the Gatesville state qualifier in Copperas Cove last weekend, the Brownwood Lions’ schedule for their second qualifying tournament is even more bizarre.

The Lions will compete in the unique Brock state qualifier beginning at 9 a.m. today, however, pool play for Brownwood will be held in Springtown. There, Brownwood will face only two teams — Eastland and Argyle, as Decatur has dropped out with its baseball team still in the playoffs.

What’s even more unusual is the Brock tournament will consist of six pools and send three teams to the 7-on-7 Division II State Tournament in College Station June 29-30. Most state qualifying tournaments are comprised of 16 teams situated in four pools, with the pool winners meeting in semifinal games. The winners of those semifinals advance to state.

Today, Brownwood, which is situated in Pool F, would face the Pool E winner in Springtown with a state berth on the line — if the Lions are pool champions. Pools A, B, C and D, meanwhile, will conduct a traditional format 7-on-7 tournament in Brock.

Unlike last week when the Lions won their pool, they will not have to change towns to compete for a state berth, according to Brownwood head coach Kyle Maxfield.

Brownwood posted a 3-1 record in its first state qualifier of the season, posting a 3-0 record in Copperas Cove before dropping a 35-32 decision to host Gatesville in the semifinals.

Looking back on last week’s effort, Maxfield, who was on hand to observe the action, said, “We saw so much good stuff last week, we just want to build on it. We just didn’t finish that last game. We put ourselves in a great situation to qualify, we just didn’t finish. That would be our big word for this weekend.”

The Lions began last weekend’s action with a 45-32 victory over Little River-Academy, using a 19-0 spurt at the end of the first half and beginning of the second to take control of the contest. A 43-38 victory over Cameron followed, as the Lions built a 31-19 halftime lead only to witness Cameron rally and grab a 38-37 advantage. The Lions scored the winning touchdown in the final minute. Brownwood capped pool play with a 53-6 thrashing of Moody.

In the semifinals, the Lions turned the ball over twice and had a pair of drives stall inside the Gatesville 10. In three pool games, Brownwood committed just one turnover — that on the final snap of the last game.

Clayton Bertrand and Tommy Bowden split snaps as quarterback, as both are vying for the starting position.

“I thought both quarterbacks played well, really executed and made some plays, Maxfield said after last week’s effort. I’m excited about both of them.

“We did a great job of spreading the ball around and the guys made plays. We just made a few too many mistakes when it counted in the semifinal game. We have plenty to build on, we just have to keep our heads up and keep working.”

Leading receivers included Braden Jetton, Hunter Leonard, Jordan Ortega, Gavin Jefferson Nick Salazar, Tristin Revada, A.J. McCarty, Rylan Reagan, Grayson Swanzy and Ben Kallman, among others.

Defensively, the Lions returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns — one by Revada and one by McCarty — while Patrick Nash, Ian Moreno and Hunter Mares also picked off passes.

Brownwood will be seeking its 18th consecutive 7-on-7 state berth during today’s action.