Eighty-six days have passed since Aug. 29, when Braswell stunned No. 7 Red Oak 48-27 to kick off the Bengals’ 2019 campaign.
That signature win marked the beginning of a historic season for Braswell, which enters the area round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs with a 9-2 record after winning just five games in the past three seasons.
Now, nearly three months later, the Bengals and Hawks will square off in a highly-anticipated rematch at AT&T Stadium, the mecca of Texas high school football.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday night.
“We’re going to get there as early as we can to kind of get some familiarity and get all the stars out of our system,” Braswell coach Cody Moore said. “We’ll let them soak it in, but they know why we’re there. We’re there to win a football game, and that’s where our mind will be when we take the field.”
The Bengals are riding an eight-game winning streak and captured their first playoff victory last week after beating Corsicana 49-28.
Quarterback Greyson Thompson accounted for six touchdowns last week and threw for 278 yards, while Cam Smith finished with 108 receiving yards, two touchdowns and a 103-yard interception return.
Meanwhile, Red Oak has been just as dominant.
The Hawks (10-1) have rattled off 10 consecutive wins since its Week 1 loss to Braswell. They have also undergone a major turnaround under head coach Chris Ross, who has compiled a 19-3 record in his second season at the helm.
Both teams have improved immensely over the course of the season, and Moore expects this week’s game will be completely different than what occurred on the opening day of the season.
“There hasn’t been a big change schematically with either of the teams,” Moore said. “But you can just tell by watching film that both teams are much better at what they’re doing. Red Oak is ultra-talented on both sides of the ball, and on the offensive line they are huge. It’s certainly not going to be a 20-point game again.”
For the first time this year, Braswell will face an opponent who has scored more points than them. The Hawks average 58.6 points per game behind a stout rushing attack from C.J. Palmer (1,451 all-purpose yards and 21 TD) and Zach Sanders (906 yards and 14 TD).
Red Oak quarterback Joshua Ervin directs the offense with 2,152 passing yards and 34 touchdowns this season. The Hawks also have the biggest offensive line that Braswell has seen all season.
This will be Braswell’s toughest test since a Week 5 triple-overtime thriller against Lucas Lovejoy. Both of these teams have aspirations to make deep playoff runs, but only one will remain standing after Saturday night.
“It’s going to be a really fun atmosphere, and we’re going to have to play really good to beat them,” Moore said. “But we’re up for the challenge.”