Make no mistake, the Brownwood Lions are ready for the start of the regular season.
The Lions offense scored at will, while the defense allowed just one touchdown for the second week in a row in what turned out to be a one-sided scrimmage against the Class 5A San Angelo Central Bobcats Friday night at Gordon Wood Stadium.
Brownwood, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, looked very deserving of its preseason hype. The Lions outscored Central five touchdowns to one during the 80-minute controlled scrimmage, and 17-0 during two live 10-minute quarters.
“I thought we were solid from beginning to end, especially with the first group,” said Lions head coach Steve Freeman. “It was just a solid night.”
The Lions first-team offense tallied four touchdowns in 30 snaps during its 20-minute stint on the field to open Friday’s action.
Following a fumble eight plays in, the Lions’ first-team regrouped and produced points every time they had the ball the rest of the evening.
Brownwood’s first touchdown came on its 18th snap as running back Rashad Deal scored on a 3-yard run.
Seven snaps later, quarterback Casey Pachall hooked up with Parker Taylor on a 9-yard fade in the right corner of the end zone.
The Lions turned around on their very next play and scored from 70 yards away as Deal sprinted around the right side for six points.
Pachall again found Taylor on a 17-yard catch and run on the next-to-last play of the set.
During the Lions’ first 30 plays, Pachall completed 10-of-16 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns, and also ran for 24 yards on four carries.
Deal racked up 102 yards rushing on only six carries, while Tyler Harth, Levi Perez and Bubby Harrell each carried the ball for short yardage.
Shelby Miller grabbed a team-high six catches for 101 yards, with no reception being shorter than 13 yards. Harrell added a 46-yard reception, while Travis Holleman pulled in a 12-yard grab.
“Offensively, we wanted to come out pretty quick, and then turn right around and come back quick,” Freeman said. “We were able to do that.”
Brownwood’s first-team defense did give up its first touchdown, but the overall play of the unit might have been even better than a week ago.
Central’s lone score came on a play that could have resulted in a turnover. Cornerback Hayden Hewitt jumped a route in the end zone, but a potential interception slipped through his fingers and into the arms of a Central receiver.
The touchdown was set up by a 53-yard pass on a roll out, but the first-team defense did not allow another double-digit gain the rest of the 20-minute set.
Brownwood also forced two more turnovers as Harth scooped up a fumble following a punishing hit on a wide receiver screen, while Deal picked off a pass at midfield.
“Defensively, our kids were pretty physical tonight,” Freeman said “They probably learned a little lesson, though, because Central could have had a couple of potential big plays tonight.
“But we were turning them back the other way a lot more, and we maybe had room to improve when it came to the physical part of it.”
The only touchdown by either second team also belonged to the Lions as Perez, who did not suit up with the varsity at Midway last weekend, scored on a 50-yard sprint.
During the live quarters, the Lions’ first drive stalled at the Central 6, but Miller nailed a 23-yard field goal to give the Lions a 3-0 edge.
Deal capped the second scoring march with a 39-yard TD sprint, then Pachall and Taylor again connected on a 70-yard scoring toss.
Pachall completed 6-of-7 passes for 154 yards in the live quarters. Taylor caught two passes for 88 yards, Miller grabbed two catches for 15 yards, Holleman chalked up a 46-yard catch and run and Vance McShan pulled in a 6-yard reception.
Deal led all rushers with 46 yards on four carries in the live quarters.
“The best part about Rashad’s last touchdown wasn’t the long run, it was him sticking it up there and becoming a physical runner, which he can be,” Freeman said. “He’s got the tools quickness-wise and good vision. I’ve seen that way too many times coming up the basketball court.
“But we’re still pretty young back there. The rest are sophomores and Rashad is young as far as experience.”
The defensive unit pitched a shutout in the two live quarters as they allowed just three first downs and did not permit Central to advance past the Lions’ 42.
“We can run to the football, but we’re pretty young over there, too,” Freeman said. “The coaches are coaching their tails off and the kids are believing. The continuity now is as solid as it’s been for quite some time, and that’s a big time plus.
“They’re playing extremely hard. Our goal is to prepare hard and play hard for each other, and the rest will take care of itself.”