There are many things that happen on fall Friday nights that make people adore Texas high school football.
On Friday night at Denton High’s Bronco Field, everything people love about the state’s most popular sport was on display.
After three overtimes, 1,079 yards of offense and 110 total points, Braswell defensive lineman Amari Banks charged through the Lucas Lovejoy offensive line and sacked the Leopards’ quarterback to lift Braswell over Lucas Lovejoy 59-51 and end one of the season’s craziest games of the year.
“I changed my stance right before they snapped the ball,” Banks said. “The quarterback was good at throwing the deep ball and running outside, but on that last play he turned his back to me and it was game over.”
Braswell has looked for a signature win since the school opened in 2016. Tonight, the Bengals may have done just that.
“At the beginning of the year I said that we had to get over that hump,” Braswell coach Cody Moore said. “You have to have things like this happen. You’ve got to believe when the chips are down. We continue to build our fight and continue our progression of this program. This was awesome.”
The game had early signs of being a classic when Braswell receiver Jacob Hernandez caught a slant pass over the middle of the field and raced 73 yards to the end zone on Braswell’s third offensive play.
The Leopards responded with a quick score of their own on a Luke Mayfield touchdown reception from R.W. Rucker. However, that would be all of the chaos for the moment as the Braswell defense played lights out for the remainder of the first half, allowing just 86 total yards.
Moore said a program as established as Lovejoy’s always has a chance to comeback in the second half. It turned out Moore was right. Lovejoy scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to overcome a 17-point deficit and send the game into overtime, which saw both teams convert multiple plays on third and fourth down in an effort to outlast one another.
Braswell tied the game at 37 on a 2-yard rush from Cameron Lara with 2:19 remaining in regulation. The Leopards drove it down to the Braswell 32-yard line and attempted to kick a 49-yard field goal with seconds remaining.
Although the Lovejoy kicker had converted a 49-yarder earlier in the game, this one fell short of the crossbar and sent the game into overtime.
During the third and final overtime, Braswell scored first on a 1-yard run from Tristan McClary. The Bengals converted their two-point conversion on an outstanding tumbling catch by Jaylon Banks, who reeled in Braswell quarterback Greyson Thompson’s jump pass in the back of the end zone.
Thompson finished the game 16-for-25 with 391 yards and five total touchdowns. Cam Smith led the Bengals with eight catches, 181 yards and two touchdowns.
Rucker finished with 249 passing yards, 163 rushing yards and seven total touchdowns for the Leopards. His favorite target was Luke Mayfield, who had a breakout game with 14 catches, 135 yards and four touchdowns for Lovejoy (3-2, 1-1 in District 7-5A).
The win moves Braswell to 3-2 on the season and 2-1 in District 7-5A play. The win will surely give the Bengals confidence heading into next week’s bye before playing the second half of their schedule.
“That was a great football game, Moore said. “I don’t even know where you start. It kind of seems surreal right now. We jumped out to a couple touchdown lead, and a program like Lovejoy isn’t going to lay down. They’re a great program.
“I can’t explain how proud I am of our guys tonight. We didn’t get into the playoffs with this game, but it’s a win. It’s all the things we talked about for three or four years. Being able to handle adversity and go win a football game. It’s what we’ve worked for since we opened.”
Braswell 59, Lovejoy 51
DB — Jacob Hernandez 73 pass from Greyson Thompson (Arturo Ramirez kick)
LJ — Luke Mayfield 19 pass from R.W. Rucker (Tyler Loop kick)
DB — Cam Smith 16 pass from Greyson Thompson (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — Cam Smith 31 pass from Greyson Thompson (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — Arturo Ramirez 20 FG
LJ — R.W. Rucker 6 run (Tyler Loop kick)
DB — Cameron Lara 2 run (conversion failed)
LJ — R.W. Rucker 55 run (conversion failed)
LJ — Tyler Loop 49 FG
LJ — Harper Pool 27 pass from R.W. Rucker (Tyler Loop kick)
LJ — Luke Mayfield 33 pass from R.W. Rucker (Tyler Loop kick)
DB — Cameron Lara 2 run (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — Greyson Thompson 1 run (Arturo Ramirez kick)
LJ — Luke Mayfield 24 pass from R.W. Rucker (Tyler Loop kick)
LJ — Luke Mayfield 6 pass from R.W. Rucker (Tyler Loop kick)
DB — Greyson Thompson 3 run (Arturo Ramirez kick)
DB — Tristan McClary 1 run (Jaylon Banks pass from Greyson Thompson)
Rushing — DB: Cameron Lara 15-89, Ifesimi Yessuff 8-49, Jamerion Sanford 14-48, Greyson Thompson 14-22, Cam Smith 1-9, Tristan McClary 3-1, LJ: R.W. Rucker 28-163, Noah Naidoo 17-51, Luke Mayfield 1-7.
Passing — DB: Greyson Thompson 16-25-1-391, LJ: R.W. Rucker 26-37-0-249.
Receiving — DB: Cam Smith 8-181, Jacob Hernandez 4-109, Deuce Bailey 2-41, AJ Flowers 1-39, J’Kalon Carter 1-21, LJ: Luke Mayfield 14-135, Harper Pool 3-42, Noah Naidoo 3-27, Leighton Archer 1-17, Bo Allen 3-16, Reid Westervelt 2-12.