Brownwood racks up 712 yards but surrenders 772, including 726 on the ground
LIBERTY HILL — For the second week in a row, 49 points were not enough for the Brownwood Lions.
Despite scoring seven touchdowns and amassing a staggering 712 yards of total offense, the Lions surrendered 10 touchdowns and a jaw-dropping 772 yards, including 726 on the ground, as the Liberty Hill Panthers slashed their way to a 70-49 home victory Friday night.
“We felt like offensively we were able to do just about everything we had game-planned for,” said Lions second-year head coach Kyle Maxfield. “But we felt like every time we had to punt we were getting behind the eight-ball more because we hardly slowed them down. I felt like the kids came out the second half believing we could make a comeback, we just gave up big plays again for the second week in a row. We just have to keep working to get better.”
In the first half, the Lions (1-2) failed to convert three fourth down plays — two inside the Liberty Hill 25 and another inside the Brownwood 40, which the Panthers (2-0) immediately turned into a touchdown.
“We felt like if you can't stop a team you have to try and turn the tide and get some momentum,” Maxfield said. “We didn't get it on our end, but I don't think that was the turning point. We were just trying the keep the ball away from them.”
The turning point actually occurred early in the second half as the Lions — who trailed 42-28 at halftime despite narrowly outgaining Liberty Hill, 444-442, in total yards — momentarily got a handle on Liberty Hill's slot-T attack. Brownwood made stops on three consecutive Liberty Hill possessions, but only scored once — on a 38-yard touchdown run by Gavin Jefferson that closed the gap to 42-35 with 5:31 left in the third period.
The Panthers got their second wind at that point and continued to keep the Lions at arm's length the remainder of the contest.
“Most of the first half Liberty Hill got in a tackle and guard over and our young pups weren't sliding fast enough. It's just a very unique offense,” Maxfield said of the Panthers, who sprinted out of the huddle to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball almost immediately throughout the night. “At halftime we made some adjustments and stopped them three times to start the second half. But we got stopped two out of three times and only got seven points. We could never get that extra touchdown to tie it up.”
Tommy Bowden passed for 377 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions, connecting with A.J. McCarty — who caught 10 passes for 188 yards — for two scores. Nick Salazar added four grabs for 133 yards with a trip to the end zone.
Jefferson finished with 211 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, while Cain Kittrell tacked on 99 yards and a score.
“We have a lot of weapons and we're taking advantage of that,” Maxfield said. “It was nice to see us run the ball. It wasn't fancy, we just lined up and ran right at them and it was effective. When we were effective on first down I felt like our drives went a lot better. We we didn't get yardage on first down it hurt us. Offensively we're producing points, we just have to figure out a way to stop people.”
For Liberty Hill, Hunter Oncken rushed for 371 yards — marking the second consecutive game the Lions have allowed a 300-plus yard rusher — and three touchdowns, while Kyle Harrison added 186 yards and two touchdowns and Elijah Davis finished with 154 yards and three scores.
“This is going to sound crazy but I thought Tuesday we had the best workout since I've been in Brownwood,” Maxfield said. “We were simulating the slot-T as well as you could simulate it in practice. It was a very physical practice. Then we come out here and it was a night and day difference. Obviously we didn't do something right and we'll have to look at the film and fix it. But we won't see another offense like this unless we face them in the playoffs.”
Brownwood jumped in front just 52 seconds into the contest, completing a three-play, 75-yard drive with a 60-yard strike from Bowden to McCarty.
Harrison then rushed for 70 yards on Liberty Hill's first play from scrimmage — a sign of things to come — which set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Brenden Ketchem, knotting the score at 7 at the 10:21 mark.
The Lions' second drive stalled at the Liberty Hill 18 after a failed fourth-and-1 on a fade toward the end zone. But Brownwood reclaimed a 14-7 lead on its next drive thanks to a 1-yard run by Jefferson with 1:23 left in the first period. The touchdown was set up by a 41-yard toss from Bowden to Salazar, who appeared as if he would score on the play but was stripped of the ball at the 1 and recovered.
Liberty Hill then scored the next three touchdowns with another 1-yard plunge by Ketchem knotting the score at 14 with 36 seconds left in the first period. Oncken rushed for 78 yards on the first snap of that scoring series for the Panthers.
The Lions advanced to the Liberty Hill 23 on the ensuing possession, but a delay of game prior to a fourth-and-6, which was followed by a sack, halted the scoring threat.
Behind runs of 38 and 29 yards, the Panthers quickly navigated the 66 yards needed to take their first lead, 21-14, as Davis finished the march with a 9-yard touchdown carry.
Brownwood's next drive went four-and-out as the Lions opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 36 and came up a yard short. On the very next snap, Oncken broke free for a 37-yard touchdown which increased the Panther lead to 28-14.
With 4:54 left in the first half, the Lions struck for their third touchdown on a 67-yard gallop by Kittrell, but the extra point failed leaving Brownwood in a 28-20 hole.
Six plays later, the Panthers were back in the end zone after a 34-yard scoring sprint from Oncken, stretching the lead to 35-20.
Jefferson's second touchdown came on a 59-yard sprint on a third-and-10 draw as the Lions crept within 35-28 following a two-point pass from Bowden to Salazar with 1:27 left in the half.
But again Liberty Hill answered as a 49-yard Oncken run set up a Davis 14-yard touchdown carry with 36 seconds remaining before intermission for a 42-28 Panther lead.
The second half began with the Liberty Hill picking one first down before having to punt the ball away for just the second time, but the Lions went three-and-out and gave the ball right back.
The Panthers' next possession resulted in an Oncken fumble that Hayden Donahoo pounced on at the Liberty Hill 47. Three plays later, Jefferson raced to the end zone for a 38-yard score, closing the gap to 42-35.
On the next possession, the Lions again forced a Liberty Hill punt from near midfield and took over on their own 23. Needing to advance 77 yards to potentially tie the game, the Lions netted one first down before an illegal procedure penalty and a holding call forced Brownwood into a fourth-and-26 from its own 27, resulting in a punt.
“We felt like if we could stop them three times in the second half, that they hadn't really stopped us,” Maxfield said. “We just had a couple of miscues that stopped our drives.”
The Panthers found their groove again after being shutout in the third period, as Liberty Hill scored four more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Harrison's 2-yard dive with 9:52 left made the score 49-35, but the Lions fired back with a 75-yard catch-and-run by McCarty, trimming the deficit to 49-42 with 9:02 left.
At 6:15, Davis scampered into the end zone from 55 yards out, upping Liberty Hill's advantage to 56-42. The Lions answered with their final points as, after a 32-yard run by Jefferson, Bowden connected with Salazar on a 50-yard scoring strike with 5:35 remaining, making the score 56-49.
Harrison's 39-yard run with 2:32 to go gave Liberty Hill a 63-49 edge, while a Marcus Mosley 47-yard kick return to the Panther 45 gave the Lions excellent field position. After a 19-yard carry by Kittrell, the bar was jarred free and Liberty Hill recovered on its own 27 with 2:13 left.
The Panthers added a final touchdown with 19 seconds left as Oncken scored from 33 yards out for the final 21-point margin.
The Lions will attempt to snap their two-game skid when they visit the run-heavy Alvarado Indians (0-3) — who are coming off a 51-7 loss to Kennedale — at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Alvarado has also fallen to Decatur, 28-21, and Justin Northwest, 35-20.
“There's not a lot of misdirection to their offense like we saw tonight,” Maxfield said of Alvarado. “They won't be Graham and they definitely won't be Liberty Hill, they'll be Alvarado coming out of the Katy I-formation,” Maxfield said. “We'll just have to man up and get better. We're going to roll our sleeves up and go back to work, not just on schemes but on fundamentals.”
Over the last two games, the Lions have yielded 124 points and 1,437 yards of total offense — including 1,036 rushing yards.
“Brownwood has always prided itself on great defense and we're going to get there,” Maxfield said. “What's encouraging is our kids never got their heads down and fought to the end. I saw in their eyes they hurt that we lost but they still believe. We still have a chance to do some great things, and nobody said it was going to be easy. We'll find a way to get it done.”
Liberty Hill 70, Lions 49
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Brownwood 14 14 7 14 - 49
Liberty Hill 14 28 0 28 - 70
B: A.J. McCarty 60 pass from Tommy Bowden (Zack Smith kick), 11:08, 1st
L: Brenden Ketchem 1 run (Michael Shipley kick), 10:21, 1st
B: Gavin Jefferson 1 run (Smith kick), 1:23, 1st
L: Ketchem 1 run (Shipley kick), 0:36, 1st
L: Elijah Davis 9 run (Shipley kick), 8:17, 2nd
L: Hunter Oncken 37 run (Shipley kick), 6:37, 2nd
B: Cain Kittrell 67 run (kick failed), 4:54, 2nd
L: Oncken 34 run (Shipley kick), 2:34, 2nd
B: Jefferson 59 run (Nick Salazar pass from Bowden), 1:27, 2nd
L: Davis 14 run (Shipley kick), 0:36, 2nd
B: Jefferson 38 run (Smith kick), 5:31, 3rd
L: Kyle Harrison 2 run (Shipley kick), 9:52, 4th
B: McCarty 75 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 9:02, 4th
L: Davis 55 run (Shipley kick), 6:15, 4th
B: Salazar 50 pass from Bowden (Smith kick), 5:35, 4th
L: Harrison 39 run (Shipley kick), 2:32, 4th
L: Oncken 33 run (Shipley kick), 0:19, 4th
First Downs 23 31
Total Offense 712 772
Rushes-Yards 29-335 65-726
Passing Yards 377 46
C-A-I 21-31-0 1-2-0
Fumbles Lost 1 1
Penalties 6-35 3-15
Punts 2-38.0 3-29.0
B: Gavin Jefferson 12-211, Cain Kittrell 9-99, Tommy Bowden 6-12, Joseph Johnson 1-9, Braden Jetton 1-4.
L: Hunter Oncken 25-371, Kyle Harrison 20-186, Elijah Davis 15-154, Brenden Ketchem 6-15.
B: Bowden 21-30-0-377; A.J. McCarty 0-1-0-0.
L: Ketchem 1-2-0-46.
B: McCarty 10-188, Salazar 4-133, Jetton 3-20, Kittrell 2-13, Ben Kallman 1-16, Jefferson 1-7.
L: Mason Ogle 1-46.