Cougars’ speed downs Lions at Gordon Wood Stadium
The Brownwood Lions could tell from watching video that the state-ranked China Spring Cougars had speed. Then the Lions got on the field with the Cougars.
China Spring beat Brownwood 35-14 Friday night at Gordon Wood Stadium as fast -- and sturdy -- running back Emmanuel Abdallah rushed for 213 yards and four touchdowns. Cat-quick quarterback Major Bowden added an even 100 yards rushing and threw a touchdown pass for the 3-0 Cougars, who upheld their No. 10 state ranking in Class 4A Division II by texasfootball.com.
“They have incredible team speed,” Brownwood defensive coordinator David Jones said of the Cougars, who came in averaging 58 points per game. “We thought we had a good defensive plan to contain their speed, but obviously, we didn’t.
“Their speed surprised us once the game started, and that’s troubling since we preached about their speed all week. We caught up to them in the second half, but by then, it was too late.”
For the second consecutive week, Jones filled in for Brownwood head coach Sammy Burnett, who is in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19. Burnett is expected to return to practice Tuesday and return to the sideline for next Friday’s game at Burnet.
Abdallah extended his three-game rushing totals to 623 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8 senior scored Friday on runs of 6, 3, 1 and 12 yards. He gained 153 yards in the first half, often running into the Brownwood secondary before meeting a defender.
Bowden, who played at Brownwood through the 2018 season, made a triumphant return, rushing for an even 100 yards on 15 carries and completing an efficient seven of 10 passes for 82 yards. Bowden, a junior, threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Tre Hafford to give the Cougars a 35-7 lead with 7:31 left in the third quarter.
Bowden’s father, Brad, is a coach who moved from Brownwood to China Spring after the 2018-2019 school year. Major Bowden’s older brother, Tommy, quarterbacked the Lions in 2017 and 2018.
On Friday, the Lions (1-2) got 94 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 9 yards and 1 yard from Royshad Henderson. Sophomore quarterback Chance Jones added 28 yards rushing and finished 6-of-13 passing for 60 yards.
But for the second consecutive week, Brownwood’s offense failed to reach 200 yards in total offense. In last week’s 35-15 win over Midland Greenwood, Brownwood was able to convert three turnovers into short scoring drives. But China Spring played a turnover-free game on Friday.
After the Cougars took their 35-7 lead, the Lions’ offense did put together a 19-play drive that took 12:18 off the second-half clock. Henderson carried 13 times for 52 yards during the 77-yard drive and scored on a 1-yard run. But that only cut Brownwood’s deficit to 35-14 with 7:13 to play.
“We’ve got to find some consistency on both sides of the ball,” Jones said. “We’ve got to find our identity. On that 12-minute drive in the second half, we put a tight end in the game and just pounded the ball. That may be our identity. We’ve got to find it because the road doesn’t get any easier.”
The Cougars immediately set the tone, scoring on their first two possessions on runs of 6 and 3 yards by Abdallah and taking a 14-0 lead before the Lions gained a first down.
Abdallah carried five times for 44 yards on a 75-yard drive on the Cougars’ first possession. After a short Brownwood punt set up China Spring at the Lions’ 39-yard line, Abdallah finished a five-play drive with a 3-yard scoring that staked the Cougars to their 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Brownwood temporarily fought back into contention with a 72-yard scoring drive. Jones threw 26 yards to Dane Johnson, whose diving catch advanced the ball to the China Spring 24. Jones threw a 10-yard pass to Elias Huerta for another first down, and Henderson scored on a 9-yard run that pulled the Lions within 14-7 early in the second quarter.
But Brownwood’s momentum was short lived. The Cougars immediately drove 75 yards with Abdallah peeling off runs of 18, 17 and 12 yards -- with the latter crossing the goal line for a 21-7 China Spring lead with 8:02 left before halftime.
“We got them (Cougars) in a couple of third-and-long situations, but we couldn’t get our defense off the field,” Jones said of the drive. “We thought we had an interception on the tipped ball, but the back judge ruled it incomplete. That could have been a big momentum boost for us. But when those things happen, we’ve got to get on with the game and make a play.”
The Lions’ defense claimed their first stop of the fast-moving Cougars, but late in the first half, the China Spring offense put an exclamation point on a 279-yard first half with an 85-yard drive in the final 2:43 of the second quarter.
Bowden threw passes of 30 and 13 yards to Coltin Locking as the Cougars reached the Lions’ 16 with one minute left. It took Abdallah three runs from the Lions’ 3, but his touchdown with 14 seconds left completed a dominating first half in which China Spring rolled up 20 first downs.
“The score right before the half was tough because they also got the ball to start the third quarter,” Jones said, noting the Cougars scored on both drives on either side of halftime.
China Spring 35, Brownwood 14
Score by Quarters:
China Spring 14 14 7 0 — 35
Brownwood 0 7 0 7 — 14
CS — Emmanuel Abdallah 6 run (Karson Coe kick), 5:55
CS — Abdallah 3 run (Coe kick), 2:26
BR — Royshad Henderson 9 run, (Junior Martinez kick), 11:00
CS — Abdallah 12 run (Coe kick), 8:02
CS — Abdallah 1 run (Coe kick), 0:14
CS — Tre Hafford 7 pass from Major Bowden (Coe kick), 7:31
B — Henderson 1 run (Martinez kick), 7:13
First Downs 27 11
Rushes-Yards 52-332 32-123Passing Yards 82 60
Total Yards 414 193
Comp-Att-Int 7-10-0 6-13-1Punts 2-51 4-32Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 7-55 4-28
Individual StatisticsRUSHING: China Spring – Emmanuel Abdallah 27-213, Major Bowden 15-100, Sergio Watkins 5-30, Coltin Locking 1-(-)2, Team 4-(-)9. Brownwood – Royshad Henderson 22-94, Chance Jones 9-28, Konyln Anderson 1-1.
PASSING: China Spring – Bowden 7-10-0 for 82. Brownwood – Jones 6-13-1 for 60.
RECEIVING: China Spring – Tre Hafford 3-25, Locking 2-43, Jordan Nevarez 1-9, Abdallah 1-5. Brownwood – Elias Huerta 4-28, Dane Johnson 1-26, Henderson 1-6.
RECORDS: China Spring 3-0. Brownwood 1-2.