Sophomore quarterback Bryce Burks spelled starter Grant Werts late in the third period, and in their first series of the fourth quarter, the Roos finally broke the drought on an 18-yard off-tackle scoring jaunt by Jeuqwan Brownlee. A Trey Rich point-after gave Weatherford the lead it would not relinquish.
Brownlee had a few rough moments in the early going of the contest, but he proved to be the lightning rod for the Roos, finishing the night with 200 yards rushing on 24 carries.
“Jeuqwan had a couple of fumbles and missed a pass [in the first half],” Nelms said, “but he didn’t hang his head and give up.
“He just kept fighting and really ‘ran like a man’ tonight.”
The WHS defense doled out more of the same to the Panthers offensive efforts through the final period, until the seven-minute mark, when alternating runs by Brownlee and Burks resulted in a 3-yard touchdown by Brownlee. Rich split the uprights for the 14-6 final mark.
A sporadic passing game gave way to an effective rushing attack in the final period. Burks complimented Brownlee’s high-water mark of the season with an additional 61 yards on a dozen carries.
“Bryce came in and did a good job for us tonight,” Nelms said. “He has shown a lot of improvement this year and he really came through when we called on him.”
North Crowley, still within eight points with 1:34 left, had its hopes dashed when Fred Brownlee stepped in front of the Panther receiver to gather in an interception in the closing seconds.
Nelms, as well as the staff members who followed him to Weatherford, have been accustomed to winning at the state level. Nonetheless, the head coach was emotionally thrilled with the first victory at the helm of the Roos.
“I told the guys [in our post-game huddle] ‘I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a good number of successes in my life, and this one ranks right up there,’” he said. “And it’s not so much just for me, but for these kids.