Breckenridge Texan

Buckaroos’ 2022 football season comes to a close with 47-7 loss in Bi-District playoff

Buckaroos’ 2022 football season comes to a close with 47-7 loss in Bi-District playoff
November 13
13:40 2022

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Making their second consecutive playoff appearance under head coach Casey Pearce, the Breckenridge Buckaroos had a challenging task heading into Friday’s Bi-District matchup against the Paradise Panthers.

Add in some tough weather conditions from Mother Nature with a brisk wind and temperatures in the mid-40s at gametime and it had all the feelings of a mid-November high school football game.

BHS senior Jerry Lawson evades the Paradise defense in the Bi-District playoff game Friday, Nov. 11, in Ponder. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Bucks, who went into the game 8-2 overall, had high hopes of capturing their first playoff win under Pearce and first since 2016, when the Buckaroos made it to the area round of the playoffs after defeating Comanche in the bi-district round.

The outcome of Friday’s game was not what Buckaroo Nation was hoping to see as Paradise advanced to the area round with a 47-7 win over the Buckaroos, ending the Bucks’ season at 8-3 overall.

Despite the season-ending loss, the Bucks arguably had one of their best seasons in several years. The Bucks started the year 5-0 after the pre-district portion of the schedule and improved to 6-0 after opening district with 42-0 win over Iowa Park.

Along the way to 6-0, the Buckaroos handed state-ranked Cisco their only loss of the regular season with a 30-27 win over the Loboes and won 35-8 over the Childress Bobcats, who were also state ranked at the time. Other wins included a season-opening win over Jacksboro and wins against Eastland and Class 4A Benbrook.

Also, along the way, the Bucks climbed their way to be ranked in the top 10 by Dave Campbell at No. 6 in Class 3A Division I.

The two regular season losses for the Bucks were by a combined 14 points with a 28-21 loss to the Vernon Lions and a 32-25 loss to the eventual District 3-3A champions Jim Ned.

Moving forward, the Buckaroos will lose a great deal of talent to graduation, but the future is still bright for Buckaroo football as the junior varsity team finished the season a perfect 10-0 this year.

“You look at the JV crew, that is a motley crew, and they found a way to win ball games by playing good defense, holding on to the football and doing basic things right,” Pearce said. “That group has a lot of potential and we have a lot of work to do, but you saw some play tonight. We had no expectation of that. That’s just how it played out.”

Pearce noted the challenges that lay ahead of the Bucks in replacing the seniors that have played key role in the success this season.

“There’s some continuity in the offensive line, and there’s some young kids coming. Our skill positions on our offensive side return for the most part,” Pearce said. “We are going to miss number 35, number 9, number 0 immensely. Those guys are going to be hard, hard guys to replace. Hopefully we can try to scratch a dent in the hole that those three are leaving, but it’s going to be hard to fill for those three dudes offensively. Defensively, Zeke Castillo is a scrapper, and Isaiah Lehr and Adler Loftis are going to be hard to replace as well. We got to find a way and have youngsters step up and become a player.

“This group of seniors have led the right way over the course of the last three seasons, and that was our expectation of them. They have done the things that we have asked them to do, and they have embraced their role,” Pearce continued. “To overcome some of the things that we did in the regular season, I am proud of this group of kids.”

In Friday’s season-ending loss to the Panthers, Pearce said, the pressure from the Panthers played a role in the game.

“They (Paradise) were better than us up front. They gave us some pressure, and their linebacker play was pretty good,” Pearce said. “(Weather) conditions played a little bit of a role with us not being able to throw the football down the field. That’s part of it. We took some shots, and it didn’t pay off.

“Throwing the pick hurt us and turning the ball over there in the second half and giving them short grass hurt us, and punts is a recipe for points to be put up,” he said. “When you put a defense on short grass, they don’t have much of a chance. I have been on both sides of it and it’s not a lot of fun. Hat’s off to them. They are a scrappy football team, a lot like us, but they played better than us tonight.”

In Friday’s game against Paradise, the Buckaroo defense recovered a fumble on Paradise’s first possession but threw an interception on their first possession after just three plays.

The Panthers then moved the ball 30 yards in seven plays and scored on a two-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was good, giving the Panthers an 8-0 lead with 4:45 left in the first quarter.

The Breckenridge offensive line blocks for Anson Rodgers in Friday night’s playoff game against Panther. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Buckaroos answered with what ended up being their only points of the game two plays later with a 46-yard touchdown run by Sawyer Wimberley. Wimberley’s PAT was good, cutting the Paradise lead to 8-7 with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter.

Leading 8-7 at the end of the first quarter and on the move, the Panthers scored again 54 seconds into the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown run that capped off a 12-play 75-yard drive. The two-point conversion was good, giving the Panthers a 16-7 lead with 11:06 remaining in the second quarter.

The Bucks put together a solid 10-play 36-yard drive on their ensuing possession but came away empty after failing to convert on fourth down.

The Panthers closed out the first half with a 28-yard field goal as time expired to lead 19-7 at halftime.

Needing a score to regain some of the momentum and cut the deficit to a one-possession game, the Buckaroos overcame a holding penalty on their first play of the second half and converted one fourth down attempt as they moved the ball 48 yards in 15 plays and used up over six minutes of the third quarter clock before ultimately being stopped on fourth down.

Five plays later, Paradise stretched their lead to 26-7 following a 41-yard touchdown pass with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

The Bucks were forced to punt on their next possession, and two plays later the Panthers scored again, this time on a 48-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good, giving the Panthers a 33-7 lead with 10 second remaining in the third quarter.

Another punt was the result of the next Breckenridge possession, and following a 30-yard punt return the Panthers had excellent field position with the ball on the Buckaroo 20-yard line. The Buckaroo defense clamped down, however, and came away with a fourth down stop.

The Bucks were forced to punt once again after just three plays, and the Panthers started their ensuing drive in the exact same spot at the Buckaroo 20-yard line following another 30-yard punt return.

Three plays later, the Panthers cashed in on the short field with a 13-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good, giving the Panthers a 40-7 lead with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter.

The next Buckaroo possession came to an end on the second play of the drive following a fumble recovered by the Panthers.

Three plays later, Paradise scored the game’s final points with a five-yard touchdown run. The successful PAT made the score 47-7 with 4:51 remaining in the game.

The two teams would trade punts on the next possessions, before the Bucks had the ball for the final 47 seconds of the game.

The Buckaroos finished the game with 29 yards passing and 111 yards rushing for a total of 140 yards, while Paradise had 288 yards rushing and 102 yards passing for 390 yards of total offense.

Wimberley led the Buckaroo rushing attack with five carries for 64 yards and one touchdown, while Anson Rodgers had 13 carries for 54 yards.

The Buckaroos finished the 2022 season 8-3 overall. Click here to see all the Breckenridge Texan articles from the Buckaroos’ 2022 Football Season. All of the sports stories from the past five years are featured in the Sports section.

District 3-3A Bi-District Results

Jim Ned 41
Pilot Point 0

Whitesboro 60
Vernon 6

Brock 48
Iowa Park 0

Paradise 47
Breckenridge 7

When the Buckaroo Band and Flag Corps took the field during halftime Friday night, the temperature in Ponder was in the lower 40s and winds were gusting to more than 20 miles per hour. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Along with the football team, the Buckaroo Marching Band wrapped up the 2022 season in Ponder with the Bi-District playoff game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Sawyer Wimberley runs for the goal line in Friday night’s Bi-District playoff game against the Paradise Panthers. Wimberley, a sophomore, scored the Buckaroos only points in the 47-7 loss, running 45 yards for the touchdown and then kicking the extra point. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 


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