Breckenridge Texan

Buckaroos fall short in home opener, losing 24-21 to Childress

Buckaroos fall short in home opener, losing 24-21 to Childress
September 03
10:21 2023

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Coming off a seasoning opening 57-35 loss to the Jacksboro Tigers, the Breckenridge Buckaroos had a chance to even their season record to 1-1 Friday night, Sept. 1, in their home opener against the Childress Bobcats at Buckaroo Stadium.

The Buckaroos once again led in the second half, but it was ultimately the Bobcats that walked away with a 24-21 win.

The loss dropped to Bucks to 0-2 overall on the season, while the Bobcats improved to 2-0 with the win.

Buckaroo head coach Casey Pearce said that he saw improvements from week one, but with four turnovers in the game, he pointed out the importance of taking care of the ball and limiting mistakes.

“We saw something that improved over the course of the week, but we got to protect the football,” Pearce said. “We got to make better decisions and we got to align and assign better defensively. We allowed big plays again, and it’s got to get straightened up.

“It’s going to get fixed with coaching. It’s not going to get fixed with some call or some magic some coach puts together,” he continued. “It’s about us as a football team, and it’s about us getting fixed with coaching.”

Buckaroo wide receiver Jaime Cruz scored the first two touchdowns in Friday night’s game against the Childress Bobcats. Click here to see more photos. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Childress started Friday night’s game by moving the ball 65 yards in five plays and capped the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run by Scout Smith. The PAT was good to give the Bobcats an early 7-0 lead with 10:16 left in the first quarter.

A sack and a fumble was the result of the Buckaroos’ opening possession of the game. Four plays later, Childress’ Drake Rabe connected with Logan Oldam for nine-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good, giving the Bobcats a 14-0 lead with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter.

The two teams traded punts on their next possessions before the Bucks put together their first solid drive in the game by driving the ball 40 yards on 10 plays to the Childress 16-yard line before an interception on fourth down ended the Buckaroo drive.

Late in the first half, the Bucks capitalized on a Bobcat interception made by Buckaroo Jaxon Escalon.

The Bucks cashed in on the turnover and capped off a six-play 65-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Jaime Cruz. Sawyer Wimberley connected on the PAT, making the score 14-7 with 45 seconds remaining in the half. Wimberley also had a 21-yard run on the drive to help the Bucks.

With momentum starting to swing the Bucks favor, the Bobcats took the wind out of the sail and swung the momentum back in their favor with a quick five-play 60-yard drive that ended with a 33-yard field-goal by Alejandro Romero as time expired in the first half, giving the Bobcats a 17-7 lead at halftime.

Needing a score to start the third quarter to regain the upper hand in the game, the Bucks put together a solid 11-play 50-yard drive to start the second half. The drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Cruz. Wimberley connected on the PAT, to make the score 17-14 with 6:33 left in the third quarter.

“We just settled in and did our thing (in second and third quarter) and worried about us,” Pearce said. “That’s what we are going to continue to do, but we got to continually be able to put series and drives like that together offensively and defensively.”

The Bobcats put together a 10-play drive to the Buckaroos’ 29-yard line before Jaxon Escalon came away with a fumble recovery and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. Wimberley connected on the PAT, giving the Bucks their first lead of the game at 21-17 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Buckaroos take down a Childress Bobcat early in the first half of the game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

With the momentum starting to turn in the Bucks favor, Cruz put an end to the Bobcats’ ensuing possession with an interception. Unfortunately for the Buckaroos, they were forced to punt after just three plays on their next drive.

The Buckaroo defense forced a punt by the Bobcats on their next possession, but an interception would end the drive two plays later.

Childress answered with a seven-play 64-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown run by Rabe. The PAT was good by Romero, giving the Bobcats a 24-21 lead with 7:28 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks put together a time-consuming drive that stretched 28 yards in nine plays and used up around four minutes of the clock but would come away empty as the drive ended on a fourth down attempt.

The Buckaroo defense forced a punt on the Bobcats’ next possession and were poised to make a late game winning drive with 1:25 remaining in the game, but a interception with 49 seconds left in the game, ended all hopes for the Bucks as Childress was able to kneel the ball and escape with the 24-21 win.

The Bucks finished the game with 129 yards rushing and 65 yards passing for a total of 194 yards.

Wimberley was the leading rusher with 73 yards on 21 carries, while Cam Escalon had 35 yards on six carries and Cruz finished with 20 yards on five carries and had two touchdowns.

Quarterback Cam Escalon hands off the ball to running back Sawyer Wimberley in the Buckaroos’ 2023 home opener against the Childress Bobcats. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Cam Escalon completed 12 of 22 passing attempts for 65 yards and three interceptions. Cruz was the leading receiver with three receptions for 22 yards.

Childress finished with 206 passing yards and 120 rushing yards for 326 yards of total offense.

Despite the loss on Friday, Pearce said there is still plenty of fight in the players and team to build off of.

“This is a competitive group. They are going to fight for each other and they are going to compete each week,” Pearce said. “We are going to find ways to win ball games. That’s on me. I’ve made my mind up that we are going to get it done and these players need to get theirs made up.”

The Buckaroos will return to action at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, as they take on the Cisco Loboes at Chesley Field, in Cisco.

The Loboes will enter the contest at 0-2, as well, after losses to Clyde and Wall.

“Number one, we better get ready for a physical football game,” Pearce said. “It’s going to be their dag-gum Super Bowl. We left a mark on them by breaking a streak (of losses), and they are going to try to restart a streak. We better be ready to own up.”

Jaxon Escalon recovered a Childress fumble and returned the ball 60 yards for a touchdown. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

District 3-3A Opponents Results

(District opponents in bold)

Vernon (2-0) 21
Gainesville (1-1) 20

Benbrook (2-0) 34
Iowa Park (0-2) 28

Clyde (2-0) 40
Eastland (0-2) 28

Jim Ned (2-0) 40
Holliday (1-1) 22

Bowie (1-1) 23
Bridgeport (0-2) 9

Sept. 8 Matchups

  • Breckenridge at Cisco
  • Clyde at Merkel
  • Bowie vs Henrietta
  • Jim Ned vs Wall
  • Vernon vs SA Lake View
  • Iowa Park vs Burkburnett

Click here to see more pictures from the game in the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

Click here to read Brant Thurmond’s column about how the Buckaroos need the support of the fans this season.

The pre-game activities at Friday night’s Breckenridge varsity football game highlighted Young Bucks and Cheer Buddies, a mentor program that pairs young kids with Buckaroo football players and cheerleaders. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Buckaroo Jaxon Escalon intercepts a Bobcat pass in Friday night’s game in Buckaroo Stadium. Escalon intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble, returning the ball 60 yards for the Buckaroos’ final touchdown of the game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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