After clinching their first playoff berth in school history last week in a 49-32 win over Princeton, there wasn’t much celebration in the Braswell Bengals’ locker room at Jackie Hendricks Stadium.
Braswell coach Cody Moore said his team would enjoy the win, but his team expects to achieve more than just a trip to the postseason in 2019.
With a playoff spot locked up, the Bengals enter the last two games competing for a league championship in a wide-open District 7-5A Division II. Frisco, Denison, Lovejoy and Braswell all enter Week 10 holding a 5-1 record in district play.
The Bengals could finish anywhere from first to fourth, depending on how the chaos of the final two weeks unfold.
Braswell (6-2, 5-1 in 7-5A) returns to C.H. Collins Athletic Complex on Friday for the first time since Sept. 13 to host Lake Dallas (2-6, 1-5) at 7 p.m. for senior night.
“We have to make sure we approach this game like any other,” Moore said. “It starts with how we approach practice and the intensity that we have each day. We can’t afford to approach this game like it isn’t a big deal. What we do right now directly affects the first or second round of the playoffs.”
Lake Dallas has struggled this season after losing 14 starters from last year’s playoff team. Despite only winning two games, the Falcons have showed no sign of throwing in the towel after coming up three yards short in last week’s 28-26 loss to Lucas Lovejoy.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less of Lake Dallas or their coaching staff,” Moore said. “They’re not a team that’s going to fold the tent at the end of the year if things aren’t going their way. They’ll show up ready to make plays, and they’ll try to beat us.”
The Falcons are led by two key pieces in Texas Tech commit Kobee Minor and Air Force commit Brandon Engel. Minor, a two-way starter, scooped up a fumble last week and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and later scored on a 41-yard run.
Lake Dallas also presents a physical defensive line that will give the Bengals a test in the trenches. Braswell’s young offensive line has exceeded expectations this season and is a essential component of the Bengals’ offense that averages 527.8 yards per game.
After establishing themselves as a pass-happy offense in the first half of the season, Braswell has rushed for 946 yards in the last three game, giving the Bengals a healthy balance on the offensive side of the ball.
“I really love how we’re playing up front right now,” Moore said. “It really showed last week with our explosiveness in the run game. Big plays in the passing game have been there all year, but part of becoming an effective offense is having the ability to take what’s given to you. We’ve done that the past several weeks.”