Brook Hill blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter to a talented Garrison squad. Down 20-17, the Guard defense gave the offense the ball back with 1:13 left and no timeouts.
After graduating 18 seniors from last year's state championship squad, the younger Brook Hill players thrust into the spotlight could've folded. Instead, they found a way.
Chase McDermott beat his man with a double move, hauled in a pass from Will Weathers and escaped the tackle attempt from the Bulldogs safety to sprint 73 yards for a touchdown with less than a minute to play to lift the Guard to a 24-17 victory Friday.
"Our kids, they aren't going to give up," Brook Hill coach Terry Pirtle said. "They know how to win.
"They're young. They've seen us win and they fall into that system."
With his team trailing late, Pirtle may have been ready to use the loss as a teaching tool. Brook Hill had three turnovers and missed countless tackles. Instead, the Guard pulled out the win.
"It's a testament to never give up, make sure you're always playing," Pirtle said. "It's a big boost for our kids' confidence."
COUGARS LOOK READY FOR DISTRICT
After three convincing wins, undefeated Grace Community has looked like a team ready to defend its district title.
The Cougars concluded their non-district slate with a 57-6 win over Kemp. Grace (3-0) averaged 19.2 yards per play, totaling 519 yards, and scored touchdowns of 88, 42, 68, 26, 42, 6, 35 and 36 yards. Garrett Newman recorded his first touchdown of the year on a 42-yard dash.
"We didn't have that many offensive plays, but we got everyone in the game," Cougars coach Mike Maddox said. "I think that's always good before you start district play."
Grace also beat a San Augustine squad that began the year ranked in 1A and a strong Mineola squad. The Cougars outscored their three opponents 154-54 and in the process built some team depth, especially at receiver and defensive back.
"It was good to get more and more kids into the rotation," Maddox said. "We were real thin in the secondary and receiver, but we got some young guys stepping up and getting playing time at those positions."
The Cougars spent Tuesday doing their annual clinic with the Azleway Boys Home. They'll spend the rest of the bye week working on special teams and maybe adding a few wrinkles to their offense.
"It's been a good pre-district schedule for us," Maddox said. "So we'll be chomping at the bit to get going."
TURNOVER BUG BITES TROJANS AGAIN
All Saints fell to 0-3 on the season on Friday and once again the culprit was easy to point out.
"We improved a lot on both sides of the ball," All Saints coach Mike Hall said. "We just didn't improve on the turnovers and penalties."
The Trojans fumbled the opening kickoff leading to an early Beckville touchdown last Friday. All Saints then took control, leading 12-7 at half, but as the rain poured down the Bears took advantage of more Trojans turnovers en route to a 35-12 victory.
Hall said the team is doing everything it can to stop the turnovers.
"You just keep trying to do the right things," he said. "Right now, I think it's Murphy's law."
Injuries, too, played a part, with sophomore starting quarterback Matt Brunson out for the year with a broken collar bone. William Alexander, who had his share of playing time before Brunson was hurt against Beckville, will start Friday against Bishop Gorman.
"William's more of a pure pocket passer for us," Hall said. "We can probably stretch the field vertically."
CRUSADERS EAGER DURING IDLE WEEK
Though Bishop Gorman's bye week came two games into the season, first-year coach Coby Gipson said given the way his team practiced it was one of the more exciting bye weeks he's been a part of.
"I think they were really excited to practice," Gipson said. "More than anything, they want to get better. They see the progress they make with every rep."
The Crusaders went 1-1 to start the season, beating Beckville handily 34-7 before they were humbled by Arlington Oakridge 70-27. Gorman spent its bye week going back to the basics.
"We basically went back to the fundamentals of tackling and catching and securing handoffs, ball security, blocking," Gipson said. "It was more like two-a-day workouts in the middle of the season. It really helped us."
On tap for TAPPS: Gorman hosts All Saints at 7:30 p.m. Friday from McCallum Stadium. Brook Hill travels to face Spring Hill. Grace is off this week before playing Dallas Christian in Mesquite on Sept. 28.