Brownwood can secure playoff spot with win over Waxahachie Life

Mike Lee
Special to the Bulletin
Brownwood Lions running back Konlyn Anderson runs against the Lampasas Badgers defense in the first quarter Friday at Gordon Wood Stadium.

The Brownwood Lions simplified their playoff situation with last week’s 56-35 win over Alvarado. Now, the Lions can secure their 13th consecutive postseason appearance by beating the Waxahachie Life Mustangs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gordon Wood Stadium.

It will be the Lions’ final home game of the regular season.

Brownwood halted a three-game losing skid and improved to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in District 5-4A Division I with last week’s win over Alvarado. Waxahachie Life is 1-7 and 0-3, including a 35-14 district loss to Alvarado on Oct. 8.

“Our best opportunity to make the playoffs is to beat Alvarado and Waxahachie Life,” Brownwood head coach Sammy Burnett said. “That would allow us to just let it all hang out against Stephenville (in the Nov. 5 regular-season finale) and play them without having to worry about making the playoffs.”

Brownwood coach Sammy Burnett talks to his team following Friday's game against Wylie at Hugh Sandifer Stadium on Sept. 24, 2021. The Lions couldn't overcome a 42-0 deficit in the 49-21 loss.

There were multiple factors in Brownwood’s 21-point win over Alvarado last week, including Konlyn Anderson’s 230 yards and five touchdowns rushing. Equally important were three turnovers forced by Brownwood’s defense that the Lions converted into 21 points.

The first of those three turnovers was a fumble forced by linebacker Logan Posey, a sophomore called up from the JV because of season-ending ACL injuries to linebackers Owen Huntsinger and Taylor Bessent.

“We were down 14-7 at the time of Posey’s strip and just had to punt the ball back to Alvarado,” Burnett said. “It started a run of three straight touchdowns for us that got us in the lead and in control of the game. The three turnovers won the game for us.”

Brownwood’s offense has performed solidly in three district games, averaging 38 points. Burnett cited the improved performance of junior quarterback Chance Jones, who has a 13-to-1 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio this season. Jones also had a career-best 194 yards rushing – and 354 total yards – in a 49-33 loss to Waco La Vega on Oct. 15.

Brownwood quarterback Chance Jones (6) runs with the ball during Friday's game against Wylie at Hugh Sandifer Stadium on Sept. 24, 2021. The Lions couldn't overcome a 42-0 deficit in the 49-21 loss.

“Chance has gotten us in and out of plays, and he’s done a good job of reading the defenses,” Burnett said. “It all starts with him. He calls the plays, changes the plays if necessary and calls the pass protection for the linemen. He does a lot of things the fans don’t realize.”

Also last week, the aforementioned Anderson improved his season rushing totals to 1,472 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jason Jackson leads the Brownwood receivers with 32 catches for 532 yards and eight TDs. Jackson also intercepted a pass on defense and recovered an onside kick on special teams against Alvarado.

Brownwood's Jason Jackson (18) catches a touchdown pass during Friday's game against Wylie at Hugh Sandifer Stadium on Sept. 24, 2021. The Lions couldn't overcome a 42-0 deficit in the 49-21 loss.

Burnett said that Waxahachie Life, despite its 1-7 record, has athleticism in its lineup.

“They’re athletic overall and big in the line. They have a big running back and a veteran quarterback, and they run a lot of formations at you,” Burnett said. “They haven’t put it all together this year, and I’m not sure why.

“Their defensive line seems to be off sometimes, and that’s when they’ve allowed some big runs. We think we can run the ball on them.”

Life junior quarterback Colby Grimela has completed just 41 percent of his passes for 82 yards per game. He has thrown for four touchdowns against six interceptions this season. Senior Dreylon Dequine is the only Life receiver with 10-plus catches this year with 12 for 119 yards and two scores.

In the backfield, sophomore Kordell Berry has rushed for 413 yards and four TDs while senior Jeremy Brantley has 352 yards and one score.

As a team, Life has fewer rushing touchdowns (eight) than Brownwood’s Anderson, who has 15. The Mustangs also have fewer receiving TDs (four) than the Lions’ Jackson, who has eight.

The Mustangs are averaging 12.8 points per game while allowing 44.6. They’ve currently lost five straight games – including district setbacks by Alvarado, Midlothian Heritage and Stephenville by an average of 48-7.

Junior Clinton Reese is the Mustangs’ top defender with 79 tackles.