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Big-play Henderson, Brownwood outpace Burnet in win

Colby Gordon
American-Statesman Correspondent
Burnet lost to Brownwood 36-22 Friday.

BURNET Burnet possessed the ball for more than 19 of the first 22 minutes of the second half Friday, yet was outscored 29-10 in the same time frame.

It was that type of a strange game at Bulldog Field, where Burnet lost 36-22 to a Brownwood team that made big play after big play and received 254 yards and three touchdowns on the ground from Royshad Henderson.

“It was a battle between two teams who were pretty equal, and when it came down to it we made some mistakes in the second half that cost us pretty big,” Burnet coach Jerod Rye said. “If that doesn’t happens, this game probably comes down to the last possession.”

Two plays swung the game to the Lions.

Henderson’s 90-yard run gave Brownwood the lead for good midway through the fourth and broke a 22-22 tie. Then, on Burnet’s ensuing drive, with the Bulldogs inside the red zone, the Lions forced a fumble and Blaize Espinoza returned it 62 yards for a touchdown.

“We were down at half, and I challenged our team,” Brownwood coach Sammy Burnett said. “I told them I wanted to see what kind of character they had and what kind of heart they had. I think they came out the second half and found a way to get it done.”

Jose Flores’ 27-yard field goal midway through the third put Burnet ahead 15-7.

Brownwood (2-2) answered by driving 52 yards in 18 seconds and just two plays, Henderson’s 10-yard touchdown run and conversion reception tying the game.

“I thought that swung the momentum to us,” Burnett said. “That gave us the belief that, ‘Hey, we really can do this.’”

A 78-yard scoring drive capped by Marcus Escamilla’s 3-yard run gave the Bulldogs their last lead of the contest.

Having only run three offensive plays in the half up until that point, Brownwood then marched 66 yards to tie the game. Jason Jackson hauled in an 18-yard fade pass from Chance Jones to finish a drive that lasted just 2:22.

Burnet drove to the Lions 40 before punting, and Henderson ripped off his long run on the very next play, completing three second-half offensive scores for the Bulldogs that took a combined 2:52.

“We felt like every time we had the ball, we were able to move it consistently,” said Rye, whose team finished with 238 yards rushing. “Sometimes when you go on long drives, one mistake happens, then it’s sometimes hard to get behind the chains. That happened a couple of times and we weren’t able to overcome it.”

Before running out the final two minutes of the game, Brownwood ran nine plays on offense the second half, one of which was a fumble.

Burnet broke a scoreless tie early in the second quarter when Jaxson Denton hit Gunner Blair on a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Henderson’s first touchdown run, this one from 5 yards out, put the Lions on the board, but Denton connected with Devonte Miller for a 15-yard scoring strike to give the Bulldogs their halftime lead.

Escamilla finished with 144 yards rushing to lead Burnet, which travels to Waco Robinson next week to close out non-district play.

“These games before district are about getting better every week, and we just have to clean some stuff up,” Rye said. “I feel like we did some things better this week than last week and we have to continue to do that as we roll into district.”