Coming off a potentially demoralizing defeat the week before, Bullard Brook Hill showed no ill effects Friday against Bishop Gorman in a key TAPPS D-II District 2 showdown.
After a 55-14 setback against Grace Community, the Guard jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead en route to a 36-20 victory, handing the Crusaders their first loss of the year.
"We really felt good about our matchups, our team against theirs," Brook Hill coach Bobby Brasher said. "But after you lose a game you're a little emotionally unsure and your confidence level is a little shaky. We wanted to get off fast and we did. We hit them a couple of times pretty quick and really played hard."
Receiver Seth Brasher, the coach's son, hauled in three first-half touchdown passes from Grant Hanks, who finished with 298 yards through the air. Brasher totaled nine catches for 184 yards.
"I think he flourishes in big games and we were able to put him in situations where we got matchups we liked and we had good protection and the quarterback put the ball where it was catchable," Bobby Brasher said. "We were able to get the ball to him and he made some plays. We were real happy with our whole offensive group on Friday."
Brook Hill (4-2, 3-1) is in a four-way tie for first in TAPPS D-II District 2, from which four playoff spots are awarded. The Guard finish the season with two home games and one road game, starting with a visit from Frisco Legacy Christian on Friday.
COUGARS BUILDING DEPTH
When it comes to winning in the playoffs, Grace coach Mike Maddox is a believer that depth is a key factor.
With that in mind, the Cougars are working on building their depth with three games left until the postseason.
"You're going to have to win playoff games with those second string guys (playing) like first string guys," Maddox said. "I think with three games left you really have to emphasize getting those kids playing time."
Grace (5-2, 3-1) was able to do that in a 58-14 win over All Saints on Friday. One of those who made the most of his playing time was sophomore quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi, who came off the bench to complete 8 of 11 passes for 150 yards while also surpassing the 100-yard plateau rushing.
"We got to play a lot of kids; I just thought everybody got a chance to contribute," Maddox said. "We were able to go a little deeper with our bench and it was good to get more kids into the game.
"Overall I was just pleased with the amount of time our younger kids got."
The Cougars, part of the four-way tie for first at 3-1, plays Carrollton Prince of Peace at 7 p.m. Friday on Senior Night from Clyde-Perkins Stadium.
CRUSADERS TAKE POSITIVES FROM FIRST DEFEAT
Bishop Gorman was confident heading into its heavyweight clash with Brook Hill, but the Crusaders found themselves trailing 28-0 at halftime.
TKG coach Coby Gipson said his team had two options at that point: start looking forward to next week or fight.
"Our kids chose to come out and fight," Gipson said. "At no point in the game did we feel like we weren't going to win the game."
The Crusaders (6-1, 3-1) rallied to within 33-20 after three quarters but ultimately fell short, losing 36-20. The Guard helped stifle momentum by returning a fumbled PAT attempt 90 yards for two points to make it 30-13.
"I think they took the positives from it, knowing when they are focused, we can execute against anyone," Gipson said. "They also know it's a game where you can't let the emotions and the environment and intensity of the game overcome you where you make mistakes you shouldn't make."
Despite suffering its first loss of the season, Gorman is still in the four-way tie for first place. The Crusaders face one of those 3-1 teams, Dallas Christian, on Friday at McCallum Stadium.
ALL SAINTS IMPROVES IN LOSSES
After starting the year 4-1, All Saints has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time all year.
Despite the setbacks, Trojans coach Mike Hall thinks his teams will only get better after losing to cross-town rivals Gorman and Grace.
"You get better by playing better people," Hall said. "In that theory, we should be better this week."
The Trojans (4-3, 2-2) lost 45-0 to the Crusaders and 58-14 to the Cougars last week. Hall said he felt like his team played better against Grace, which he described as an offensive juggernaut.
"I thought we played with more intensity," Hall said. There were a lot of things we did better this week. Give (Grace) all the credit in the world.
"For a little while there it looked like we were right there then they started to pull away. (They have) so many weapons, so much speed, we couldn't hang."
After two straight games against top-level competition, All Saints plays last-place Dallas Shelton, which is winless on the season. The Trojans will be celebrating their homecoming game at 7 p.m. from Mewbourne Field.
— Staff writer Chris Parry contributed to this report.