Lions dominate second half of 37-10 area win over Randall


MIDLAND GREENWOOD – No lengthy playoff run occurs without overcoming some adversity, and the Brownwood Lions experienced their fair share in the Region I-4A Division I area round of the playoffs – some due to the Canyon Randall Raiders and some of their own making.

An opening two quarters that featured a pair of turnovers, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone, and a spirited effort by Randall resulted in Brownwood trailing for a significant portion of the first half.

Still, the Lions were able to surge in front just prior to halftime, and a dominant second half followed as the Brownwood scored the game’s final 31 points – and all 24 points after halftime – in a 37-10 come-from-behind victory over the Raiders.

“Our kids are resilient,” said Lions sixth-year head coach Sammy Burnett, who has led Brownwood to its most wins since 2010, matching the 2015 and 2019 campaigns with 11 victories. “We made a couple of mistakes in the first half that kept Randall in the game, but we overcame those like we have all year. We came out in the second half and played like we expected to play for all four quarters, and we dominated.”

At the end of the night, the Lions (11-1) – behind the performance of offensive linemen Quinten McCarty, Cole Miller, Davis Le, Aidan Packheiser and Logan Knight – had generated 409 yards of total offense, with 289 coming on the ground and 120 through the air. Brownwood also overcame the aforementioned two first-half turnovers, as well as 12 penalties for 105 yards – three of which negated touchdowns.

Quarterback Ike Hall rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns while completing 6 of 9 passes for 120 yards with a scoring toss and interception. Jaylan Brown chipped in 99 yards and a touchdown on the ground, Morsello Hooker led the receiving corps with three catches for 69 yards and a trip to the end zone and Carson Noe hauled in a pair of receptions covering 43 yards.

“Offensively, I just told them we have to stop making mistakes,” Burnett said. “They didn’t stop us, we stopped ourselves. Stay poised, stay disciplined in what we’re supposed to do, don’t bust assignments, go out and execute at the line of scrimmage and we’ll win, and we did.

“I also told Ike after the game I thought that was the best decision making he’s had all year throwing the football. We had receivers getting open and he was checking to his second, third and even fourth receiver. His poise in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and making good decisions in the pocket was huge. We had some really good pass plays and catches.”

On the defensive end, Brownwood surrendered 237 yards to Randall (7-5) – 119 rushing and 118 passing. Before the end result became clear and both teams allowed the reserves to play, the Lions had surrendered just 122 yards – including a combined 87 rushing yards on 37 carries to quarterback Tryston Sanchez and running back Dylan Ray, who had combined for almost 2,000 rushing yards this season.

The Lions were also aided by a season-high three takeaways – all interceptions – from Hooker, Stevie Ramirez and Jordyn Nickerson.

“Coach (David) Jones preached to be physical and define what physicality means, and I thought we were,” Burnett said. “The adjustment we made on our alignment for what they were trying to outside was huge, especially when they were running the bootleg. We also made an adjustment in the back end on how we were playing that and made an adjustment in a couple of other formations as far as coverage that was hurting us in the first half.”

The Lions opened the game with a 64-yard drive that ate 5:14 off the clock and stalled at the Randall 11, but Junior Martinez booted the first of his three field goals from 28 yards out for a 3-0 Brownwood lead.

Randall’s first drive ended on its second snap as Hooker picked off Sanchez at the Raider 32. Faced with a first-and-goal situation five snaps later, the Lions instead settled for a second Martinez field goal, from 29 yards out, as the Brownwood lead stood at 6-0 with 3:38 left in the opening quarter.

“Every day after practice I try 20 kicks from all places on the field, every hash mark, a lot of repetition just trying to prepare for everything,” said Martinez, who has converted 10 field goals on the season and scored 92 points. “Ike helps a lot with his holding and I’m thankful for Luke (Hagood) and his good snaps.”

Randall responded on its second possession with its best drive of the night, traveling 75 yards in 15 plays as Sanchez scored on a 1-yard plunge and Jacob Avalos converted the extra point as the Raiders grabbed a 7-6 lead with 10:09 left in the first half.

Brownwood followed with its first turnover at midfield on the third play of the ensuing drive, a fumble Randall pounced on. The Raiders then chewed another 4:19 off the clock before settling for a 35-yard field goal from Avalos, but the Lions found themselves in a 10-6 hole with 4:53 left before halftime. On both Randall scoring drives, the Raiders were able to keep the march alive with a fourth-down conversion.

Down four points and with possession at their own 21, the Lions needed just five plays to regain the lead. Facing a first-and-10 from the Randall 41 after back-to-back runs from Hall netted 30 yards, Hooker caught a jump ball from Hall down the left sideline and broke away from the defender to trot the last 15 yards to the end zone. Martinez followed with the extra point, as the Lions were back in front, 13-10, with 2:34 left in the first half after the 41-yard scoring toss.

Brownwood then forced a three-and-out and moved the ball into the red zone on its final drive of the first half, thanks to a 47-yard run by Aaron Edmonds on a third-and-20 reverse call from the Lions 29. But the march ended with 40 seconds left in the half on an interception at the Randall 8.

The trials and tribulations the Lions experienced in the first half were nearly non-existent after halftime.

The third quarter began with a three-and-out by the Lions defense, then the offense took over at their own 45 and moved 55 yards in seven plays, scoring on a 5-yard carry by Brown at the 7:07 mark to stretch the lead to 20-10. Brownwood actually scored twice more on the drive – on a 21-yard run by Hall and then a 29-yard pass from Hall to Noe, but both of those were called back due to penalties.

With a two-score advantage, the Lions defense then forced a four-and-out for Randall as Sanchez was stuffed at the Raider 34 on a fourth-and-1 rush attempt. Brownwood mustered just 12 yards on this possession, but that was good enough to set up Martinez with a 39-yard field goal attempt that he converted for a 23-10 Lions’ lead with 3:23 left in the third period.

“Regardless of what you say they’re kids, and sometimes you have to learn from your mistakes,” Burnett said. “We were sluggish and had some penalties that forced us to kick field goals when we should have scored touchdowns. Then we turned the ball over a couple of times, and we also weren’t getting off the field on third downs. We went in and made adjustments at halftime, they listened to their coaches and what we try and get them to do and applied it in the second half and they were successful. One thing they never do is lose hope, lose faith or doubt themselves. They put too much work into this to doubt. They play the next play, never give up and never surrender.”

Randall’s next possession ended with an interception by Stevie Ramirez, and that set up Brownwood’s third consecutive scoring march. The Lions needed just two plays to score as Hall broke free for a 31-yard run – his longest of the game – to pad the cushion to 30-10 with 34 seconds left in the third period.

“Coach Jones is always saying our defense is bend but don’t break,” Ramirez said. “We really take that to heart, and we try and smash teams in the mouth.”

The Raiders’ next drive advanced to the Brownwood 29, where the Lions stuffed another fourth-and-1 rush attempt – this time by Ray – to foil Randall’s hopes of getting back into the contest.

A five-play, 69-yard journey followed that culminated with a 10-yard touchdown carry by Hall – who now stands at 1,491 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground, to go along with 1,664 passing yards and 17 scoring tosses for the season – with 7:18 left for the final 27-point margin.

“We started off a little slow and the coaches told us you just aren’t going to flip a switch and do big things,” Hall said. “You have to revert back to what you’ve done in practice all week and that’s what we did and came out with the victory.”

The Lions will next face Springtown (9-3) – a 62-21 winner over El Paso Riverside (9-3) Thursday night – in the Region I-4A Division I semifinal round at 7 p.m. Friday in Crowley.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and have had some phenomenal teams and talented kids, but this is only the seventh time I’ve got to play after Thanksgiving,” Burnett said, “I want them to understand how special that is and the opportunity they have before them. The kids are hungry, I’m really proud of them, and I thank the good Lord for the blessings He’s given us. I don’t understand why but I’m thankful. We’re going to go back to work and get ready for Springtown. They played Decatur real close, they’ve beaten some opponents we’ve beaten in a similar fashion, but we’re blessed with another Friday night football game and we have some work to do to prepare for it.”


Lions 37, Canyon Randall 10


Canyon Randall 0 10 0 0 – 10
Brownwood 6 7 17 7 – 37



B: Junior Martinez 28 FG, 6:46, 1st

B: Martinez 29 FG, 3:38, 1st

R: Tryston Sanchez 1 run (Jacob Avalos kick), 10:09, 2nd

R: Avalos 35 FG, 4:53, 2nd

B: Morsello Hooker 41 pass from Ike Hall (Martinez kick), 2:34, 2nd

B: Jaylan Brown 5 run (Martinez kick), 7:07, 3rd

B: Martinez 39 FG, 3:23, 3rd

B: Hall 31 run (Martinez kick), 0:34, 3rd

B: Hall 10 run (Martinez kick), 7:18, 4th


First Downs 13 17
Total Offense 237 409
Rushes-Yards 44-119 36-289
Passing Yards 118 120
Comp-Att-Int 8-18-3 6-9-1
Fumbles Lost 0 1
Penalties-Yards 7-70 12-105
Punts-Average 2-32.5 1-19.0


RUSHING: R – Tryston Sanchez 17-55, TD; Dylan Ray 20-32; Roberto Chavaria 4-17; Logan Hanna 1-9; Gio Miranda 2-6.  Ike Hall 17-128, 2 TDs; Jaylan Brown 14-99, TD; Aaron Edmonds 1-47; Xavier Zepeda 3-11; Caven Webster 1-4.

PASSING: R – Sanchez 5-13-2-92; Miranda 3-5-1-26.  Hall 6-9-1-120, TD.

RECEIVING: R – Collin Miller 3-31; Caden Brown 1-45; Breken Melton 1-16; Osmane Omar 1-14; Hanna 1-10; Chavaria 1-2.  Morsello Hooker 3-69, TD; Carson Noe 2-43; Stone Ratliff 1-8.

KICKING: B – Junior Martinez 4 of 4 PATs. 3 of 3 FGs, long of 39.

1 punt, 19 yards, 19.0 average.