Bangs competing in Division III qualifier at Hamilton

The Brownwood Lions' second attempt at qualifying for their 20th consecutive 7-on-7 state tournament takes places Saturday morning at the Burnet qualifier.

Only eight teams will be competing in the field, which means just one spot is available for the Division II state tournament in College Station June 27-28.

The Lions will compete in Pool B along with Midlothian Heritage, Fredericksburg and McGregor, which has already qualified for state and can't advance past pool play. McGregor edged Brownwood, 26-25, in pool play at the Gatesville qualifier a week ago.

Pool A is comprised of state qualifier China Spring, Jarrell, Gatesville and host Burnet.

The winner of the two pools will square off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday to determine which team advances to state. Pool play begins at 9 a.m.

The Lions are coming off a 1-2 performance at the Gatesville, falling to McGregor and Rockdale (33-13), while rallying to defeat Palestine (21-18) after squandering a 14-0 advantage.

Brownwood scored on nine of its 21 possessions, a 43 percent success rate.

Quarterback Drew Huff, who moved in from Mineral Wells when his father, Jeff, accepted a position on the Lions coaching staff, made his 7-on-7 qualifying debut for Brownwood. Huff completed 62 percent of his passes — 44 of 71 — with nine touchdowns and one interception. In limited action at quarterback, A.J. McCarty connected on 3 of 11 pass attempts and was the victim of a few drops.

The receiving corps was led by McCarty, who tallied 13 receptions and four touchdowns, along with Reece Rodgers out of the backfield as he grabbed 13 catches and scored twice. Also making an impact in the passing game were receivers Dane Johnson (eight catches), Isyah Campos (six catches, one touchdown), Damion Jones (two catches, one touchdown), Cooper Swanzy (two catches), Khyren Deal (two catches), and Hunter Day (one catch for a touchdown).

Defensively, the Lions recorded an interception in each game — Deal in the first, McCarty in the second and Rowdee Gregory on the final play of Palestine game, which secured the victory.

Lions head coach Sammy Burnett, who was on hand to watch Brownwood in its first qualifier, said in regard to the goals for the Burnet tournament, “I just want to see the fundamentals,” Burnett said when asked what he would like to see most improved by next weekend. “Running the right routes properly, being open by the way you run your routes and executing and finishing plays. When a ball hits you in the hands you have to catch it.

“Defensively, we need to understand where we’re supposed to be and alignments that will put us in position to make more plays, and not look back at the quarterback, be a little more disciplined.”


Dragons to compete in DIII qualifier at Hamilton


BANGS — The opening weekend of 7-on-7 Division III state qualifying tournaments takes place Saturday, and the Bangs Dragons will be taking part in the 16-team Hamilton event.

Division III consists of Class 3A Division II and smaller schools, while Division II houses Class 4A and 3A Division I programs, and Class 6A and 5A schools compete in Division I.

Two berths in the 32-team Division II state tournament in College Station June 27-28 will be up for grabs, as the Dragons will compete in Pool C along with Dublin, Brady and state qualifier Little River-Academy. Bangs will face Brady at 9 a.m., Dublin at 11 a.m. and Academy at 1 p.m.

Pool A features host Hamilton, Tolar, Millsap and state qualifier Eastland; Pool B is made up of Ballinger, Moody, Hico and Mildred; and Pool D consists of Coleman, San Saba, Bremond and the Dublin JV.

The four pool winners will advance to the 3:30 p.m. semifinals, and the semifinal winners will move on to state.