No. 3 Lampasas downs No. 13 Brownwood 55-23 to open 2020 football season
By TJ MAXWELL
The reigning Class 4A Player of the Year, Ace Whitehead, and the No. 3 ranked Lampasas Badgers continued their high scoring ways with a 55-23 rout of the No. 13 Brownwood Lions to open up the 2020 football season Friday night at Badger Stadium in Lampasas.
What looked to be a battle to the final play in the first half turned into a one-sided affair in the second half as the Badgers outscored the Lions 27-3 after the Lions pulled within eight points with 3:28 left in the first half.
“It feels great to get out here and play,” Lampasas head coach Troy Rogers said in a post-game interview with the media. “I thought the kids played well right out of the box, so I am proud of them.”
A pass from Whitehead to senior Michael Murray for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:17 left closed out the first half scoring and gave the Badgers a 35-20 lead at the break.
Senior running back Jack Jerome then added his second touchdown of the night on a 24-yard scoring run with 8:14 left to cap a six-play drive.
Whitehead then escaped for a 92-yard score to close out the third-quarter scoring with the help of big holes opened by the offensive line and receivers. The score capped a five-play drive that began at the Badgers’ own three-yard line.
The Badgers capped their high-scoring affair with a 95-yard touchdown on the kickoff return by junior Case Brister for his third score of the night with 8:39 left in the game. The return came after the Lions scored their only points of the second half on a 35-yard field goal by Brownwood kicker Junior Martinez.
The nearly 200-yard and two touchdown night pushed Jerome over the 3,000-yard mark in his career with a full season yet to play.
“Hit 3,000 career yards last night thanks to the best offensive line in the state of Texas and receivers blocking on the outside,” Jerome said in a social media post Saturday morning.
Fittingly, Jerome also scored the opening touchdown of the season with a 71-yard touchdown run and flip into the end zone down the visitor’s sideline to open the contest and give the Badgers a 7-0 lead.
After the long Jerome score to open the first quarter of action, the Lions showed they had a capable running game as well when senior running back Royshad Henderson escaped for a 70-yard touchdown run to not the game a 7-7 as time expired in the opening stanza after a turnover by each team on consecutive plays.
A fumble by Henderson recovered by senior defensive back Cade White gave the Badgers the ball with 7:05 left in the first quarter but Lampasas gave it right back on a rare interception thrown by Whitehead and picked off by Brownwood senior Hunter Day with 6:48 remaining.
Whitehead responded by leading his team on a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by a one-yard scoring plunge by Brister.
The Lions responded with a six-play, 66-yard scoring drive to pull within a point, 14-13, after a bad snap on the extra-point attempt.
Whitehead called his own number again with a four-yard scoring run to cap a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive for a 21-13 Badger lead after the extra point by Whitehead with 7:57 left in the first half.
The Badgers pushed their lead to 15 with a three-play, 37-yard scoring drive finished by a 19-yard run by Brister after Lampasas senior Owen Seaver forced a fumble by Brownwood senior quarterback Blaize Espinoza that was recovered by Lampasas senior Keagan Richardson at the Lions’ 37 with 7:44 left in the first half.
The Lions pulled back within a score, 28-20, when Espinoza found sophomore receiver Jason Jackson for a 16-yard touchdown with 3:28 left in the half.
Jerome finished with 194 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Badgers with Whitehead adding 190 yards and two scores on 12 carries and Brister adding two more scores on four carries for 28 yards.
Murray led the Lampasas receivers with five catches for 60 yards and a score. Sophomore Ethan Moreno added three receptions for 30 yards, senior Lane Haviland added five catches for 28 yards and sophomore Carter Johnson had one catch for three yards.
Whitehead added 121 yards passing and one touchdown on 19 attempts while throwing one interception.
Leading the Badgers defense in tackles were Richardson and Brister with 19 and 15, respectively.
The Lions’ rushing attack was led by Henderson’s 107 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Espinoza led the passing game with 184 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts with Jackson lead the way in catches with 66 yards and a score on the grabs.
Senior Khyren Deal led the Lions in tackles with 13.
The Badgers face Stephenville in a road game at Tarleton University this Friday with a. 7:30 p.m. kickoff.