Breckenridge Texan

Buckaroos fall to Bearcats in Bi-District playoff game

Buckaroos fall to Bearcats in Bi-District playoff game
November 14
09:02 2021

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Coming off a 61-0 district finale win over the San Angelo TLCA Eagles, the Breckenridge Buckaroos had momentum heading into their Bi-District match-up with the Whitesboro Bearcats Friday evening in Fort Worth.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, they were simply overmatched, and their run in the Class 3A Division I playoffs was a short one as they were defeated by the Bearcats 56-14.

With back-to-back 1-9 seasons, it had been three years since the Bucks last made the playoffs, and that lack of experience was one thing head coach Casey Pearce pointed out following the loss Friday.

“I felt like the moment was a little bit too big for some of us tonight,” Pearce said. “That’s part of growing a program that is going to try to be a perennial playoff team. We got to learn how to respond when the heat is on, and we struggled responding early. We didn’t execute very good offensively getting the ball out of out hand and didn’t block many folks at times.

“The playoffs are like no other, and once you’re in it, you have to be able to respond to it,” he said. “It can’t be bigger than you. You have to be able to focus and control emotions and play through bad things that happens. They kind of frenzied on us, and we fought back in it and then we gave up explosive plays. We got to find a way to get rid of letting up explosive plays. When you give up 40-plus yard plays, it just guts you. They (Whitesboro) were better than us tonight, but our kids didn’t back down. There wasn’t any quit in our kids.”

Buckaroos running back Anson Rodgers breaks out with the ball after taking a hand off from quarterback Chase Lehr. Click here to see more photos from the game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Following a punt on the Buckaroos’ opening possession, the Bearcats quickly moved 83 yards in six plays and capped the drive off with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Mac Harper to Jake Hermes. The PAT was good, giving the Bearcats an early 7-0 lead with 7:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bucks lost a fumble on their first play of the ensuing drive, and the Bearcats quickly responded with three-play 40-yard drive that was capped off with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Harper to Greyson Ledbetter. The two-point conversion was good, making the score 15-0 with 6:37 left in the first quarter.

An interception by the Bearcats ended the next possession for the Bucks, and two plays later, Harper connected with Torran Naglestad for a 62-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good, giving the Bearcats a 22-0 lead.

Buckaroo Anson Rodgers created a spark for the Buckaroos on the ensuing kickoff as he returned the kick 70 yards for a touchdown. Benny Escobedo’s PAT was good, making the score 22-7 with 3:35 left in the first quarter.

Zeke Castillo and Trace Thompson teamed up to block a Bearcat punt on the ensuing possession and gave the ball back to the Bucks at the Bearcat 26-yard line.

Five plays later, Jerry Lawson scored on a two-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good by Escobedo, cutting the deficit to 22-14 with 1:12 left in the first quarter.

The momentum shifted in favor of the Bucks a little bit more as Adrian Ruiz intercepted a Bearcat pass, but the Bucks were unable to cash it in and were forced to punt after just three plays.

Four plays later, the Bearcats stretched the lead to 29-14 with 8:41 left in the second quarter following a quick 65-yard drive that ended in a 17-yard touchdown run by Sean Schares.

The Bucks were forced to punt on their next drive, and the Bearcats needed just four plays once again to go 57 yards en route to a seven-yard touchdown pass from Harper to Hermes. The PAT was good, giving the Bearcats a 36-14 lead with 5:56 remaining in the first half.

The Buckaroos chewed up the remaining 5:56 of the clock and converted a fourth and 21 with a 21-yard pass from Chase Lehr to Rodgers to move the ball to the Whitesboro two-yard line with under 30 seconds to play in the half.

With no timeouts remaining, the Bucks were forced to hurry to the line to try to gain the two yards needed for a touchdown but were ultimately stopped by the Bearcat defense and trailed 36-14 at halftime.

Both teams were forced to punt on their first possessions of the second half, before the Bearcats scored on their second possession with a nine-yard touchdown run by Jace Sanders. The PAT was good, making the score 43-14 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Another punt was the result of the next Buckaroo possession, and seven plays later the Bearcats added to their lead with a five-yard touchdown run by Harper. The PAT was good, giving the Bearcats a 49-14 lead with 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

An interception ended the next drive for the Buckaroos, and four plays later, the Bearcats scored the game’s final points of the game with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Clay Hermes to Schares. The extra point was good, making the score 56-14 with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter.

The Buckaroos finished the season with an overall record of 4-7 and will lose 13 seniors, many of whom are two-way starters for the Bucks, to graduation in 2022.

With the 13 seniors lost, the future for Buckaroo football is still bright as a strong and talented junior class awaits their time to shine and become the leaders of the team in 2022.

“The expectations have been set, and there is a plan with this program and it’s not going to change. We are going to find ways to adapt our personnel to fit our plan,” Pearce said. “These kids that are going to remain in the program have to become tougher and mentally stronger through the adversity that we face throughout this year and tonight. We have to find ways to grow up and grow the program up. We have to have player-led teams and not coach-led teams going forward.

“This junior class, there’s going to be a lot of expectations put on those guys because there’s explosive players in that group,” he continued. “I think they understand the ramifications of being a guy that is counted on as a junior. Your senior year, it’s got to come on, and I think they are going to respond. Those guys are tough, and we need to bring some sophomores and freshmen along to become apart of that. We are going to work our rear-ends off in the offseason. We are fixing to push every button we can to try to push this program forward.”

Pearce praised the senior class on this year’s team and what they brought to the team.

“This senior class is a heck of a senior class. A bunch of them had been written off,” Pearce said. “Had been told they were never going to play, didn’t play, and they weren’t any good. They found a way to become a team, and it made that locker room fun to be in and it grew a bunch of these younger ones up.”

District 3-3A Bi-District Results

*Jim Ned (11-0) 49
Peaster (7-4) 12

*Early (9-2) 43
Pilot Point (7-4) 21

Brock (11-0) 40
*Wall (5-5) 6

*Denotes District 3-3A team

Area Round Matchups
  • Jim Ned vs. Muleshoe 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at Lowery Field (Lubbock)
  • Early vs Shallowater TBA

Click here to see a Photo Gallery from the game.

Buckaroo Head Coach Casey Pearce talks to his team following their loss to the Whitesboro Bearcats in the first round of the playoffs Friday night. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Color guard member Lexi Matthews, a Breckenridge High School senior, along with other color guard members, performed with the BHS Band during halftime at Friday night’s playoff game in Fort Worth against the Whitesboro Bearcats. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Buckaroo running back Jerry Lawson tries tries to avoid Bearcat defenders after taking a handoff from quarterback Chase Lehr during Friday night’s playoff game against the Whitesboro Bearcats. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Monday, Nov. 15, to correct Adrian Ruiz’s name.

The Breckenridge Texan is in the midst of our annual fundraising campaign with the national organization NewsMatch. Donations made through the end of December will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by NewsMatch. The Breckenridge Texan is a non-profit news website covering Stephens County and Breckenridge, Texas, that depends on donations, as well as advertising, to continue our work. We appreciate your contributions. To make a donation, click here.

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