Breckenridge Texan

Buckaroos drop to 0-2 with Friday night’s loss to Vernon

Buckaroos drop to 0-2 with Friday night’s loss to Vernon
October 15
15:30 2023

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Coming off a district-opening loss to the Iowa Park Hawks, the Breckenridge Buckaroos had hopes of getting back on track with a win as they hosted the Vernon Lions on Friday evening at Buckaroo Stadium for varsity football action.

Playing a Lions team that has made a name for itself for several years with their power run attack, the Bucks couldn’t find the response they needed, and in the end, the Lions came out ahead, 42-20.

The loss drops the Bucks to 0-2 in District 3-3A and 3-4 overall, while Vernon improved to 1-1 in district and 6-1 overall.

“It’s an aggravating loss,” Buckaroo head coach Casey Pearce said. “We had a shot there finishing the first half and didn’t convert some fourth-down plays. Those fourth-down plays bit us in the first half. They limited our possessions, and I think we forced two punts and both of those punts ended up inside the 10 (yard line).”

The Lions have had a lot of success with their power run game since dropping down to the 3A level following the UIL’s 2023 realignment and use that rushing attack to test their opponents.

“They just grind on you and test your depth on the defensive line,” Pearce said of the Lions’ running game. “It’s an efficient offense when you can stay ahead of the chains and stay ahead of schedule. When we got them off schedule is when we had chances to make some plays.”

The Lions started Friday’s game and drove the ball 73 yards in 13 plays and took 6:47 off the clock, while converting three first downs along the way, en route to a 19-yard touchdown run by Kale Sherrill.  The PAT was good, giving the Lions a 7-0 lead with 5:05 remaining in the first quarter.

Jaime Cruz is on his way to making the Buckaroos’ second touchdown of the night in the game against the Vernon Lions. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Buckaroos’ opening possession of the game ended after failing to convert a fourth-down attempt.

Breckenridge’s defense forced a punt on the Lions’ next possession, however another failed fourth-down attempt ended the Bucks’ drive despite moving the ball 76 yards in nine plays to the Vernon 23-yard line on a drive that started at the Buckaroos’ one-yard line.

The Lions answered with a 10-play 73-yard drive that chewed up another five minutes of the clock and was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Sherrill on fourth down. The PAT was good, giving the Lions a 14-0 lead with 2:01 left in the second quarter.

The Bucks scored their first points of the game with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Cam Escalon to Alexis Franco on a drive that went 46 yards in four plays. Sawyer Wimberley’s PAT was no good, making the score 14-6 with 41 seconds left in the first half.

The Buckaroos’ opening drive of the second half ended quickly after just four plays and failing to convert on fourth down.

The Lions stretched their lead to 21-6 following a five-play 48-yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Jevon Fanner with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter.

An interception was the result of the next Buckaroo possession.

Vernon went on another long 13-play 70-yard drive that used up the remaining 5:52 of the third quarter and another 1:30 of the fourth quarter on a drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown run by Fanner. The PAT was good, giving the Lions a 28-6 lead with 10:28 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks quickly answered however, with a four-play 63-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Escalon to Jaime Cruz. Franco ran in for the two-point conversion, making the score 28-14 with 9:34 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Buckaroo defense takes down a Vernon High School player during Friday night’s game. Click here to see more photos from the game. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Lions needed just three plays to score on their ensuing possession as they capped off a quick three-play 58-yard drive with a 44-yard touchdown run by Fanner. The PAT was good, giving the Lions a 35-14 lead with 8:52 remaining.

Cruz returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards and a penalty added an extra 15 yards to help set the Bucks up with great field position.

One play later, the Bucks found the endzone with a halfback pass from Franco to Brilee Bernal. The two-point conversion failed, making the score 35-20 with 8:39 remaining in the game.

The Lions stretched the lead to 42-20 with the game’s final points as Fanner capped off a six-play 53-yard drive off with a four-yard touchdown run with 5:03 remaining.

The Bucks had two more possessions in the game but were unable to capitalize as the drives ended with an interception and a failed fourth-down attempt.

The Buckaroos finished with 243 passing yards and 41 yards rushing on 17 attempts for a total of 283 yards; Vernon had 388 yards rushing on 58 attempts and five yards passing for a total of 393 yards.

Escalon completed 14-22 passing attempts for 243 yards and had three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Wimberley led the Bucks’ rushing attack with 30 yards on 12 attempts, while Cruz had 20 yards on two attempts.

Franco led the Buckaroos receivers with six receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown, while Cruz had one reception for 52 yards and Bernal had three receptions for 40 yards. Both Cruz and Bernall had one receiving touchdown each.

The Bucks will travel to Tuscola next week to take on the Jim Ned Indians. The Indians were defeated by the Clyde Bulldogs, 29-14, on Friday night. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.

Click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery from the Oct. 13 game.

District 3-3A Results

(Winners in bold)

Clyde (7-0, 2-0) 29
Jim Ned (5-2, 1-1) 14

Vernon (6-1,1-1) 42
Breckenridge (3-4, 0-2) 20

Iowa Park (3-4, 2-0) 48
Bowie (1-5, 0-2) 14

Oct. 20 Matchups

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

District Standings

  1. Clyde- 2-0
  2. Iowa Park2-0
  3. Jim Ned 1-1
  4. Vernon 1-1
  5. Breckenridge 0-2
  6. Bowie 0-2

Breckenridge FFA students salute the flag during the national anthem, following the raising of the flag before the Buckaroo football game Friday night. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Breckenridge ISD Superintendent Bryan Allen accepts a donation from Lori Herring and Ronnie Langford with Graham Savings. The funds were generated by Graham Savings customers who use a Buckaroo debit card. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)




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