Breckenridge Texan

After Ballinger cancels, Buckaroos lose last-minute Homecoming game to Bells Panthers

After Ballinger cancels, Buckaroos lose last-minute Homecoming game to Bells Panthers
September 05
09:46 2021

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

In the football world, preparation can be one of the biggest factors of the game. There’s time taken to watch video, scout the opposing team and then apply a plan to counter the opponent’s scheme with typically at least three days (at high school level) to practice against the scout team.

With a week of excitement of things to come following the Breckenridge Buckaroos’ 49-20 win over Jacksboro last week, the Bucks spent all week preparing for their next scheduled opponent in the Ballinger Bearcats. However, at around 10 a.m. Thursday morning, an announcement was made by BISD administrators and Buckaroo head coach Casey Pearce that the Bearcats would have to cancel Friday’s game against the Buckaroos.

The Buckaroos prepare to take the field for the 2021 Breckenridge High School Homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 3. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Added to the mix was it was homecoming for the Bucks. But shortly after the announcement of Ballinger cancelling due to COVID-19 within the varsity team, the BISD administration and coach Pearce went to work to look for a homecoming opponent. BISD and Pearce were able to locate an opponent in the Bells High School Panthers and it was announced shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday evening.

That gave the Bucks roughly 24 hours to prepare for a team that saw a great deal of success at the 3A Division II level in 2020 making it to the second round of the state playoffs.

The Panthers and their slot-t offense made the three-hour trek to play the spoiler for the Buckaroos’ homecoming festivities as they handed the Bucks their first loss of the 2021 season 41-20.

“It would be tough preparing for (Bells’ offense) for five days, but we do basic things, and we didn’t do basic things right tonight,” Pearce said. “That’s on us.”

Added to the traditional distractions of homecoming week, is the modern issue of COVID-19 and a possibility of cancellation due to illness on an opposing team.

“In this day in time, you got to be able to handle it,” Pearce said referring to the Ballinger cancelation. “You better be able to handle distractions on homecoming and distractions of COVID. I don’t know that we did that very well.

“It’s what we needed to do. I don’t know that we were prepared mentality for what we were about to get into,” he continued. “Somebody is not going to drive four hours to come be somebody’s homecoming date and just take it. They came with a plan, and they executed. They are a senior heavy team, and we didn’t respond very good.”

The Buckaroos started the game on offense and moved the ball 35 yards before being stopped on fourth down.

The Panthers responded with an 8-play 67-yard (all rushing) drive that ended with a six-yard run by Bo Baker. The two-point conversion was good, giving the Panthers an 8-0 lead with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter.

Buckaroo running back Anson Rodgers evades the Bells Panthers during the Breckenridge Homecoming game Friday night. Click here to see more photos from the game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The ensuing drive saw the Buckaroos not be able to find their offensive rhythm as they were forced to punt after just three plays.

The Panthers used up the remainder of the 2:11 of the first quarter and another roughly 1:30 of the second quarter clock as they capped off a 10-play 75-yard drive with a one-yard run by Brock Baker. The PAT was good, giving the Panthers a 15-0 lead with 10:38 left in the second quarter.

In an effort to try and establish an offensive groove, the Bucks converted a third down attempt but had a 12-yard run by Jerry Lawson erased after being flagged for holding. The Bucks were unable to recover from that penalty and were forced to punt.

Bells answered with another 10-play drive that ended with a one-yard run by Grady Waldrip. The PAT was blocked, but the Panthers would lead 21-0 with 3:59 remaining in the first half.

The Panthers cashed in another Buckaroo punt for a touchdown following a two-yard run by Blake Rolen. Another blocked PAT attempt made the score 27-0 with 43 seconds left in the second quarter.

Things continued to dwindle down hill in the second half as Bo Baker returned the second half kick-off 99 yards. The PAT was good, giving the Panthers a 34-0 lead with 11:44 remaining in the third quarter.

A punt was the result of the next Buckaroo drive and once again, the Panthers found the endzone. This time on the first play from scrimmage with a 70-yard run by Bo Baker. The PAT was good, making the score 41-0.

Both teams traded punts on their next possessions, before the Buckaroos were able to put together a steady drive stretching 50 yards in 12 plays. Anson Rodgers capped the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run with 11:33 remaining in the fourth quarter. Benny Escobedo’s PAT attempt was good, making the score 41-7.

The Buckaroos forced another punt and cashed it in with a one-yard touchdown run by Jerry Lawson. The PAT was no good, making the score 41-13 with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter. Rodgers help put the Buckaroos in great position to score following a 23-yard punt return.

Breckenridge was able to capitalize on another punt and scored their final points of the game with a four-yard run by Cedric Baladez with 2:28 left to play.  Escobedo’s kick was good to make the score 41-20.

The Buckaroos finished with 261 yards of total offense, 177 yards rushing on 35 attempts and had 84 yards passing.

Breckenridge High School’s 2021 Homecoming Queen Samantha Smalley is crowned by last year’s queen, Kayla Wood, while Homecoming King Julian Eutimio looks on. Click here to see a photo gallery from the Homecoming festivities. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Chase Lehr completed 14-23 passing attempts for 84 yards and rushed for 83 yards on eight attempts. Lawson finished with 44 yards on 13 attempts and two touchdowns.

The Panthers rushed for 400 yards on 52 attempts and had just one pass attempt for five yards.

The Bucks will begin the first of a three-week stretch of road games at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10, as they take on the Cisco Loboes, in Cisco.

The Loboes pulled off an overtime win over the Wall Hawks 27-21 in double overtime.

“We got a three-game stretch here on the road, and we better find a way to rise the occasion and go do something,” Pearce said. “We have two rivalry games for the next two weeks. We better find a way to prepare. We need to beat somebody that lives close to us.”

District 3-3A Scores

Idalou 24
*Clyde 6

Cisco 27
*Wall 21

 *Jim Ned 56
Sweetwater 14

*Early 33
Tolar 16

Junction 20

*Denotes District Opponent

The Pride of Breckenridge – Buckaroo Marching Band provided the halftime entertainment during the 2021 Homecoming Game on Friday, Sept. 3. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Buckaroo Jerry Lawson dives for extra yardage as the Bells Panthers battle to take him down in Friday night’s Homecoming game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

To see more photos from Friday night’s activities, click here to see the game photos and click here to see the Homecoming festivities photos.


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