On Friday at 7 p.m., a Braswell team that entered the year with just five wins through its first three seasons will have a chance to clinch a share of the District 7-5A Division II championship.
The Bengals (7-2, 6-1) have won six straight, and can lay claim to their first district title with a victory over Denison at Munson Stadium.
“This means everything to us,” senior linebacker Chatavies Johnson said. “Coming into this program as freshmen, we didn’t really have the connection we do now. We’ve had the last couple years to get better each day, and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work together. We’ll be ready on Friday night.”
District 7-5A Division II has failed to sort itself out 10 weeks into the season, so here are the scenarios for this week:
If Braswell wins and Lucas Lovejoy defeats Frisco, the Bengals will hold the No. 1 seed in 7-5A Division II. However, if Frisco defeats Lovejoy, then Braswell will receive the No. 2 seed because of Frisco holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.
If Braswell loses to Denison, there would be a three-way tie for second place and seeding for the No. 2, 3 and 4 spots would come down to points.
The Yellow Jackets would be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss and a Frisco Reedy win over Princeton. With Denison’s back against the wall, Braswell coach Cody Moore expects the Yellow Jackets to come out and play their best football of the year.
“I told our kids yesterday that this is going to be the hardest thing they’ve done this season up to this point,” Moore said. “We’ve got to travel to Denison, the weather may not be great and they’re going to throw everything they can at us. This will be a lot of fun.”
Denison features a stout run-defense led by defensive tackle Jordin Hunter. The Yellow Jackets allowed just six rushing yards in an overtime loss to Lovejoy last week and have only allowed 84 combined rushing yards in the last two games.
“I think we’re a little bit different than anybody they’ve seen all year,” Moore said. “We have a really efficient passing game, so if they’re not allowing us to run the ball, then I have confidence in our offense to throw the ball effectively.”
Offensively, Denison showcases a physical, run-oriented attack. Running back Asa Osbourn leads the Yellow Jackets on the ground with 750 yards and seven touchdowns, while quarterback Caleb Heavner has accumulated 1,445 total yards on the season.
Instead of pressing about the most crucial game in program history, Moore and the Bengals look relaxed and excited about the upcoming opportunity.
“What better scenario could we have in front of us?” Moore said. “It’s a good opportunity to go into the most adverse situation we’ve been in all year. Regardless of how it turns out, we’re going to be better when we leave there. This is just an outstanding opportunity for our kids to go see what we’re made of.”