Bryson spoils Crowell’s homecoming night
When Bryson traveled to Crowell on Oct. 4, the Cowboys knew it would not be an easy game. The Cowboys entered the game as 45 point underdogs and Wildcats were celebrating homecoming. However, the visiting Cowboys overcame their own mistakes to upset the Wildcats 54-48.
The Cowboys started strong on their opening drive. After driving downfield, Landon Stephens ran it in from three yards out. A successful two-point conversion gave the Cowboys the lead at 8-0.It initially did not look like the Wildcats would respond to the game-opening score. Faced with fourth and long, Seth Bearden got the Wildcats on the board. However, the extra point kick was missed, and the Cowboys still led 8-6. On the Cowboys ensuing drive, Stephens scrambled on a third-and-5 from the Crowell 30-yard-line and ran for a 50-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick was good, and the Cowboys increased the lead to 15-6.
“That’s the cool thing about six-man football,” Cowboys coach Jason Briles said. “Teams can score at any time, and you see that a lot on broken plays.”
Any hope at a quick response by the Wildcats was quickly dashed. After an on-side kick, the Wildcats struggled to move the ball and decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their 32-yard-line. The Wildcats failed to break through the Cowboys’ defensive line, and the Cowboys took over in prime field position.
Less than two minutes later, TJ Imotichey found Justin Justus in the end zone for a touchdown and a 24-6 lead after the two-point conversion. The Wildcats recovered and scored on their own broken play. Running in the backfield to avoid a sack by the Cowboys’ defense, Bearden found Trent Baize downfield and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass. The quarter ended with a 24-12 Cowboys lead.
The second and third quarters have been a struggle for the Cowboys this season. The team has been outscored 162-86 in the middle quarters, so it would be understandable to question how long the Cowboys could play at the pace they did in the opening quarter.
Crowell’s defense dominated the Cowboys in that stretch. In the opening minutes of the quarter, the Wildcats stood firm and stopped the Cowboys on a fourth-and-1. On the Wildcats’ next drive, they reached the Bryson end of the field after a penalty for a horse collar tackle but failed to take advantage. An incomplete pass on fourth-and-11 from the Bryson 36-yard-line gave the Cowboys another opportunity. It was an opportunity the Cowboys nearly took advantage of on the first play. A touchdown was overturned by an offensive pass interference penalty. The Cowboys could not recover and were held to a three-and-out.
The Wildcats took advantage of a 49-yard run by Jemal Lane to advance to the Cowboys’ four-yard-line. Simon Rodriguez scored on the next play. After the successful extra point kick, the Cowboys’ lead was cut to four at 24-20. The Cowboys failed to respond as Stephens threw the first of three interceptions with 5:03 remaining in the half. The Wildcats took their first lead of the game when Lane scored from eight yards out. The extra point attempt went wide left, but the Wildcats led 26-24.
After a three-and-out by Bryson, the Wildcats looked to extend the lead but were stopped when Bearden was picked off by Drake Huffman. He returned the ball to the Crowell 16-yard-line with 1:27 remaining in the second quarter. Four plays later, Stephens threw for a 14-yard touchdown to Huffman and reclaimed the lead. The extra point was blocked, and the Cowboys held a 30-26 lead with 40.6 seconds on the clock.
The Wildcats responded an 18-yard touchdown pass with 11.8 seconds remaining in the half and took a 34-30 lead into halftime.
For the rest of the story, see the Wednesday, Oct. 9 edition of The Graham Leader.