The Brock Eagles (11-2) came into Friday’s Class 3A, D-I regional semifinals matchup with the Bushland Falcons having won their first two playoff games by a combined margin of 79-14.
On Friday night, Brock showcased its mettle in a different kind of game, as the Eagles outlasted the Falcons, 20-17 in overtime to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead early (11:22 left in the first quarter) courtesy of a 63-yard TD scamper by junior tailback Cash Jones, Brock found itself tied with Bushland midway through second frame after an 11-yard TD run by Jones was negated by penalty, making way for a 1-yard rushing score by Bushland roughly halfway through the frame.
Still tied at seven coming out of the break, neither team got on the board in the third quarter.
However, the Falcons kept the pressure on with a fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to go up, 14-7.
Still trailing by the same mark with 6:49 left in regulation, Brock marched 60 yards before tying the game at 14 with a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Jaxon Gleaton, a mark which would stand for the rest of regulation.
Eagles’ Head Coach Chad Worrell said that late fourth quarter drive was a great example of a team effort.
“The kids really locked in, focused, blocked well and the running backs ran hard,” Worrell said.
“That was a great team achievement to go down there and get that score in that situation.”
Holding the Falcons to a 41-yard field goal early in the extra period, the Eagles’ offense once again came through in the clutch, quickly sealing the contest with a 2-yard TD run by Jones.
Worrell said his offensive staff came up with an excellent plan of attack before that game-winning drive, while the players did well executing said plan.
“You’ve got about a five-minute break before you start overtime, and the offensive unit and coaches got those guys together and made a little adjustment,” Worrell said.
“It’s something they felt like would give us a good chance to be successful there in overtime and they went out and executed it to perfection.”
However, while Worrell praised the clutch performance by his team’s offense in its final two scoring drives, he credited his team’s defense for putting the unit in such situations.
“We knew when we got into the playoffs that if our defense continued to play well and improve each week, and we held on to the football, we would be in every game,” Worrell said.
“Our offense has come along and done their part, and that’s what we did.
“We struggled through a bit of the middle quarters offensively, they were giving us some different looks on defense we hadn’t seen and it stalled out some drives. But our kids played good defense and stayed calm. Whenever bad things happen, they keep their composure and we got the ball back in regulation with maybe seven or eight minutes and score, then our defense gets two huge stops, one in regulation to stop them around midfield, and then we got the big stop in overtime on their first possession.”
Heading into the contest, Bushland had averaged 48 points per game (574 points on the season to that point).
Against the Eagles, that same offensive unit scored only one offensive touchdown and a field goal, while being restricted to 212 yards, including a measly 27 yards rushing.
Jones paced Brock’s backfield with 226 yards and two TDs on 35 carries.
Brock advances and plays the Pilot Point Bearcats (12-1) in the state quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bedford’s Pennington Field.