Four 7-on-7 Division II state qualifying tournaments, four 1-2 finishes for the Brownwood Lions.
Playing on their home turf didn’t change their recent fortunes as the Lions were unable to advance past Pool A competition at the Brownwood qualifier Saturday at Gordon Wood Stadium.
Following a 33-14 victory over Harper, the Lions dropped a 26-20 decision to Lake Belton, then fell by a 33-13 count to Breckenridge – which has already qualified for the June 24-25 state tournament at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.
“We’re just finding ways to lose games instead of finding ways to win them,” said Lions head coach Sammy Burnett, who observed the action. “That’s what you’ve got to do. You can only coach so much, they have to go out and find a way to win. That’s important, and we just haven’t done that yet.”
The Lions scored on 10 of 22 drives (45 percent) as Chance Jones completed 45 of 71 passes (63 percent), with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions, but was whistled for 10 four-second calls – the equivalent of a sack in 7-on-7.
Konlyn Anderson led all receivers with 15 receptions and two touchdowns followed by Case Markham with 10 catches and one score, Jason Jackson with seven grabs and three touchdowns, Elias Huerta with six catches and three trips to the end zone, Brayden Daub with four receptions and a touchdown, and Jordan Leach, Jackson Yoder and Jaylon Brown each caught a pass.
Defensively, the Lions yielded touchdowns on 11 of 21 possessions (52 percent). Leach recorded an interception in the finale against Breckenridge, while picks by Owen Huntsinger, Markham and Leach were waved off in the first two games due to four-second calls.
“We came out and they gave effort, we just have to find ways to win,” Burnett said. “I thought we played better defensively and I thought we busted less assignments defensively. We had some bright spots on offense, yet we’re inconsistent. We’ll have a good drive, then we’ll go three and out, then a good drive and three and out.”
Against Harper, Jones completed 16 of 23 passes with five touchdowns, including three to Huerta who caught a game-high five receptions.
In a rematch with Lake Belton – which Brownwood defeated by a 26-0 count at the Burnet qualifier – the Lions grabbed a 14-7 lead in the first half. Lake Belton then responded with the next three touchdowns to seize a 26-14 edge midway through the second half.
“We had an opportunity to take a 13-point advantage in the second game but instead we don’t score, then we give up a big play with 20 seconds left,” Burnett said. “The first play of the game was also a big touchdown and right before the half was a big play for a touchdown. Their coaches are yelling take a shot and we’re telling our kids to stay deep and it’s just a lack of execution on our part. They have work together and find a way to win.”
In the finale against Breckenridge – which qualified for state at the Graham tournament – the Lions fell in a 13-0 hole before an interception by Leach. Down 19-7 at the half, Brownwood was unable to rally in the final 15 minutes.
Brownwood on Friday will travel to Tuscola to compete in the Jim Ned state qualifier, its last chance to clinch a 21st straight state tournament berth.
“I’m not worrying about qualifying, I’m worried about our guys going out there and doing what they’re taught, executing as a team, and competing,” Burnett said. “It’s not OK to lose, it doesn’t matter what you do. You could be playing jacks with your little sister, you ought to be trying to beat her if you’re playing a game, that’s what we believe. We have to find a way to compete and win those games we should be winning that we’re not.”