Heading into Thursday night’s crucial District 7-5A Division II contest against Frisco Reedy, the dynamic Braswell offense awaited a highly anticipated matchup with one of the best defenses in the area.
The Bengals offense got off and running with a 14-play touchdown drive on the opening series of the game. From that point forward, it was the defense who led the Bengals to their fourth consecutive victory in a 37-7 win over the Lions.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Braswell coach Cody Moore said. “We got tons of pressure on the quarterback. We played with energy, we ran to the ball and tackled well while forcing turnovers. That was an awesome performance by them.”
A Bengals defense that had given up 34.3 points per game this season came to life and forced five turnovers while limiting the Lions to 85 yards of offense through three quarters. The Lions finished with 220 total yards on the evening and did not advance the ball past midfield until the early part of the fourth quarter.
Moore said tonight’s win is the most complete game the Bengals have played in his four-year tenure at Braswell.
“It’s not even close,” Moore said. “It’s the best game that this program has played. We’ve been working on just putting a full game together in all three phases. That’s what it was going to take to beat a team like them. The kids played great.”
The Bengals (5-2, 4-1 in 7-5A) entered Thursday with just three interceptions on the season. Against the Lions, the Bengals secondary intercepted five passes from the Lions quarterbacks.
Ben Blackmore led the way with his first two interceptions of the season. Cam Smith, Evan Peterson and Wayne Willis also reeled in their first interceptions of the year.
“We studied film all week, so we had a good idea of what routes they were going to run and what the quarterback was going to do with the ball,” Blackmore said. “We couldn’t have done it without our defensive line up front. They got after the quarterback.”
The Bengals offense is known for its lethal passing attack, but for the second straight week, the run-game led the offense.
The Bengals rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries. Braswell finished the night with 17 first downs and 308 total yards.
Ifesimi Yessuff carried the load for the Bengals, rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Jamerion Sanford and Chatavies Johnson also scored a touchdown on the ground.
During the last two weeks, the Bengals have rushed for 650 yards.
“One of the things we try to do is just keep the numbers in the box right,” Moore said. “Early on in the first half, the run is kind of what the game called for. I talk to our kids all the time about trying to win different ways. That’s what being balanced is all about.”
Although Braswell still remains a couple wins from claiming its first playoff berth, the Bengals put themselves in the driver’s seat with a statement win over the Lions (4-4, 3-3), who qualified for the state quarterfinals last season.
“We were hungry,” Blackmore said. “We’ve got to capitalize on this because we’ve been showing everyone what we can do. This is really what we’ve been striving for the entire season. We’re right there, and we have to keep our momentum going into next week.”
Braswell 37, Frisco Reedy 7
DB — Cam Smith 13 pass from Greyson Thompson (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — CJ Johnson 4 run (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — Arturo Ramirez 45 FG
DB — Arturo Ramirez 40 FG
DB — Hesimi Yessuff 18 run (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — Arturo Ramirez 34 FG
RD — Jacob Smith 24 pass from AJ Padgett (Will Harbour kick)
DB — Jamerion Sanford 8 run (Arturo Ramirez kick)
Rushing — DB: Hesimi Yessuff 24-150, Jamerion Sanford 15-49, CJ Johnson 4-26, Greyson Thompson 2-5, Cameron Lara 5--2, RD: Jacob Smith 12-51, Sam Noskin 6-50, Zion Washington 1-8, Will Harbour 2--1, AJ Padgett 1--2, Jalen Kitna 3--20.
Passing — DB: Greyson Thompson 9-15-0-80, RD: Jalen Kitna 9-20-4-95, AJ Padgett 3-5-1-39, Will Harbour 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — DB: Cam Smith 6-47, Jacob Hernandez 2-23, Kenvodrick Shaw 1-10, RD: Jacob Smith 4-65, Josh Barbour 2-21, Noah Jackson 1-17, Zion Washington 2-17, Jaylen Fuksa 3-14.