— By GREG WEBB
BURLESON — Coming out of the half-time locker room on Friday and down by a touchdown Burleson had scored in less than a minute and a half to end the second quarter, the Weatherford Kangaroos’ offense set forth on a 9-play, 80-yard mission to re-tie the non-district football match at 21-all.
When WHS junior Cameron Hood recovered his own ensuing on-side kick, the pendulum was decidedly swinging in the Roos’ favor. Unfortunately, bad luck and a dubious call soon after the good fortunes stalled the momentum shift that would be telling, as Weatherford fell to the Elks at Burleson ISD Stadium, 42-28.
A holding call and a pair of false starts nixed the Roos drive after the special teams coup, but fate seemed to remain friendly to the WHS boys when the Burleson punt returner muffed the ball deep in Elks’ territory.
As the refs were sorting through the mass of humanity piled atop the ball, the Roos had an indication they had recovered the fumble and jubilantly headed for the sideline. But, after what seemed like an inordinate amount of time, after the Roos had left the field, the officials ruled in favor of the Elks.
The resulting decision turned the momentum back to Burleson for the moment and, as fickle fate would have it, affected the balance of the match.
“We just seem to keep stubbing our toes, and its certainly not through any lack of effort from our kids,” said head coach Weldon Nelms. “I thought we had gotten a nice break when we recovered that fumble [on the punt], but as it turned out, they decided Burleson had the ball.
“That was a horrible event for us at that particular time.”
Despite the misfortune, the Weatherford offense displayed a good measure of resilience in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 27-yard touchdown run by running back Jeuqwan Brownlee to take a 28-27 lead with 6:23 left in the contest.
A lapse in the kickoff coverage gave Burleson a short field, and the Elks scored in two plays to retake the lead for good.
A failed fourth-and-six conversion on the Roos next possession granted another short field to the Elks, which they exploited on the first play with a 34-yard scoring run.
For the third week in as many games, the Weatherford offense has displayed improvement with each outing, and hopes to continue the production while a young and battered defense tries to catch up.
“Our kids have to learn to trust the scheme and they are just a step behind, which creates some of those gaping holes when that happens,” Nelms said. “We have to use the week off to get back to work and get a lot more done between now and our district opener.”
Early on, the Roo aerial attack was discovering holes in the Elks secondary, with Werts finding receiver Chase Warren open over the middle, which netted the first score of the game. Warren emerged from the game as a valid weapon for the Weatherford passing game, finishing the night with three catches for 77 yards, including the 37-yard strike to begin the scoring.
Brownlee’s effectiveness carrying the ball began to take hold in the second half. The sophomore ended the night with 109 yards on 10 carries.
The Roo defense’s primary nemesis was Burleson quarterback Isaiah Hall, who went to the air 23 times, completing 18 for 161 yards and two TDs. Hall also seemed to find the seam in critical situations throughout the night running the ball. The senior led the Elks rushing, with 148 yards on 26 carries.
With its win, Burleson broke a 13-game losing streak, dating back to the 2011 playoff season.
Weatherford will have a bye week to add more options to an offensive scheme that has work to do, but is improving. With the spectre of the talented and athletic Arlington teams in its near future, Weatherford will also pay much attention to the defense, with hopes of plugging the holes that have plagued them thus far in the season.
“It’s obviously tough with a start like this,” Nelms said, “but we have to keep on keeping on, and keep fighting.
“Our boys need to keep working hard, trust the system and just go.”