Breckenridge Texan

Despite second-half comeback, Buckaroos lose to Hawks 31-28

Despite second-half comeback, Buckaroos lose to Hawks 31-28
October 08
15:07 2023

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Hoping to start off the district 3-3A portion of the schedule with a win, the Breckenridge Buckaroos had their hands full Friday evening as they hosted the Iowa Park Hawks.

However, It was a tale of two halves for the Bucks, who found themselves down 19-0 at the halftime break and 25-0 just 13 seconds into the third quarter, before coming to life in the second half to get to within three points. Unfortunately for the Buckaroos, it was a little too late and they were ultimately defeated by the Hawks 31-28.

The loss dropped the Bucks to 3-3 overall and 0-1 in district play, while the Hawks improved to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in district play.

With the Hawks’ power run game on display in the first half, the Bucks were able to make some adjustments at halftime and fight their way back into the game.

Buckaroo running back Alejandro Franco catches a pass from quarterback Cam Escalon. Franco ran the ball in for a touchdown. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

That fight and determination was one of the bright spots for the Bucks, according to head coach Casey Pearce.

“We got hit in the mouth and bullied the first half, and we had to respond,” Pearce said. “We started to respond in the third quarter, and it was evident. We looked like a different football team. We looked like the team you have seen the last three weeks. We are going to make the best of what has happened tonight and go about improving and cleaning stuff up and playing that way. That (the second half) is the expectation of Buckaroo football. This group is a resilient group, and they are going to fight and have fought all year.”

Leading up to Friday’s district opener, Pearce noted the importance of starting district 1-0. However now, the Bucks will try to dig out of a hole to get back on track in goal of making the playoffs and a playoff run.

“We’ve become the hunted, and now we got to go hunt,” Pearce said. “We got to find a way to respond a week from now, on this turf, against a Vernon team that bullied us a year ago. This group is a better group than that.

“I think they found a little bit out on how they can respond together in a true fight,” Pearce said. “We will take it how we can get it. We are going to learn some things from this, correct some things from this, but that needs to be reflected on Friday night. If we can do that, we are going to be in the ball game and we can get back to 1-1.”

In Friday’s game, a quick three and out was the result of the Buckaroos’ opening drive of the game.

Iowa Park responded with a long 11-play 74-yard drive that used up over four minutes of the clock in the first quarter. The Hawks capped the drive off with a double pass that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown from Parker Allen to Carter Sales to Koyt Holloway. The PAT was no good, giving the Hawks a 6-0 lead with 6:17 left in the first quarter.

The Bucks put together a seven-play drive but were forced to punt on their next possession.

The Hawks would answer with another touchdown drive of 17-plays 85 yards that ended with a three-yard run by Allen. The PAT by Brian McDaniel was good, making the score 13-0 with 7:24 left in the second quarter. The drive used up the remaining 4:03 left in the first quarter and another 4:36 of the second quarter clock.

The Buckaroo defense stops the Iowa Park ball carrier early in the game. Click here to see more photos from the game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The offensive struggles continued for the Bucks on the next drive as they moved the ball 25 yards in seven plays before an interception put an end to their next drive.

The Hawks went 65 yards in four plays and capped their ensuing drive off with an 11-yard touchdown run by Allen. The PAT was blocked, making the score 19-0 with 2:45 remaining in the first half.

On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, the Hawks scored once again on a jet sweep touch pass from Allen to Sales. The Hawks failed to convert the two-point conversion attempt but stretched the lead to 25-0 with 11:37 remaining in the third quarter.

The Buckaroo offensive started to hit its stride as they reeled off a 10-play 61-yard drive, and converted two third-down attempts along the way, in a drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Alexis Franco. Sawyer Wimberley connected on the PAT to cut the deficit to 25-7 with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter.

The Bucks forced a punt after just three offensive plays on the next Iowa Park possession, however a fumble while fielding a punt ultimately gave the ball back to the Hawks.

The defense managed to still hold strong and forced another punt by the Hawks after another two minutes on the third quarter clock.

The Bucks needed just one play to answer after the Hawks’ punt was downed at the four-yard line. Cam Escalon connected with Alejando Franco for a 96-yard touchdown play. The PAT by Wimberley was good, making the score 25-14 with 2:12 left to play in the third quarter.

The Buckaroo defense forced another Hawk punt on the ensuing drive, however, they would come away with no points as the Bucks failed to convert a fourth down attempt.

The Hawks answered with a six-play 60-yard drive that ended with a 44-yard touchdown run by Sales. The two-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Hawks a 31-14 with 6:43 left in the fourth quarter.

On the next Buckaroo possession, the Bucks moved the ball 61-yards (all passing) in eight plays and capped the drive off with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Escalon to Alexis Franco. Wimberly made the PAT to make the score 31-21 with 3:53 remaining in the game.

The Bucks’ defense came away with a huge turnover following a fumble on the Hawks’ first play of the ensuing drive that was recovered by Jamie Cruz at the Iowa Park 23-yard line.

With 3:45 left in the game, the Bucks quickly went six plays in 25 yards in a drive that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run by Wimberley. Wimberly kicked the PAT, making the score 31-28 with 2:42 to play.

On the ensuing kick-off Brylee Bernal recovered the onside kick attempt, but the Bucks were flagged for being offsides on the kick.

Wide receiver Alexis Franco catches the pass from Cam Escalon for the Buckaroos’ third touchdown of the night. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Iowa Park was able to recover the onside attempt to the other side of the field on the second try.

The Bucks did force a punt on the next Hawk’s drive and gave the ball back to the offense with just 53 seconds left in the game and no timeouts remaining.

The Buckaroos were unable to pick up enough yardage needed for a possible game-tying field-goal attempt and gave the Hawks the ball back after failing to convert on fourth down.

The Buckaroos finished with 277 passing yards and 21 yards rushing for a total of 298 yards, while Iowa Park had 348 yards rushing on 51 attempts and 14 yards passing for a total of 362 yards.

Escalon completed 19-28 passing attempts for 277 yards and had two touchdowns and one interception.

Alexis Franco led the Bucks’ rushing attack with 17 yards on two attempts with one touchdown, while Wimberley had 16 yards on seven attempts and one touchdown.

Wimberley led the Buckaroos in receiving yards with nine receptions for 66 yards, while Alexis Franco had five receptions for 63 yards and one touchdown. Alejandro Franco had one reception for 96 yards and one touchdown, as well.

The Bucks will host the Vernon Lions (5-1, 0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at Buckaroo Stadium.

District 3-3A Results

(Winners in bold)

Clyde (6-0, 1-0) 60
Vernon (5-1, 0-1)34

Iowa Park (2-4, 1-0) 31
Breckenridge (3-3, 0-1) 28

Jim Ned (5-1, 1-0) 34
Bowie (1-4, 0-1) 6

Oct. 13 Matchups

  • Vernon at Breckenridge
  • Bowie at Iowa Park
  • Jim Ned at Clyde

District Standings

  1. Clyde – 1-0
  2. Jim Ned – 1-0
  3. Iowa Park – 1-0
  4. Breckenridge – 0-1
  5. Vernon – 0-1
  6. Bowie – 0-1

Click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery from the Breckenridge-Iowa Park game.

Click here to read Brant Thurmond’s overview of the 3-3A district teams this year.

The Buckaroo Cheerleaders and many fans were decked out in pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Proceeds from the sale of this year’s Pink Out t-shirt benefited the local organization Stephens County Our Town, a non-profit organization that helps families in Stephens County who are battling cancer. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Breckenridge High School marching band and flag corps also donned pink for the annual Pink Out night to bring awareness to the fight against cancer. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Prior to Friday night’s game, Clear Fork Bank hosted a tailgate party for the community, serving up hamburgers and hot dogs. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Buckaroo running back Sawyer Wimberley sails over the goal line for the final touchdown of the game. His successful kick afterwards put the score at 28 for the Buckaroos to 31 for the Iowa Park Hawks. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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