Stepp's Top 10 Games of 2018: No. 10 — Eastland at Breckenridge

Photo by Kelly Guess

October 19, 2018

Eastland 44, Breckenridge 41

District 3-3A Division I provided high drama every week during the regular season and this matchup in Week 8 featuring Big Country rivals in one of the state’s most historic settings lived up to the billing. There had been rumblings at the statewide level about Eastland sophomore signal caller Behren Morton who earned a Texas Tech offer last summer and he lived up to the potential in the win leading the Mavericks to a win throwing for 217 yards, accounting for three total touchdowns and for good measure Morton kicked the game winning field goal from 32 yards out on the game’s final play.

Breckenridge, who came into the game losers of four straight games was desperate not to fall to 0-2 in district play and the Buckaroos came out on fire as starting quarterback Owen Woodward scored a pair of rushing touchdowns to stake the Bucks to a 13-0 lead after a quarter. Eastland took charge of the game in the second quarter scoring 21-straight points behind tough running from sophomore running back Brandon Fielding (108 rushing yards; 2 TDs) and the Mavericks led 21-13 at the break.

BHS managed to tie the game on the first play of the third quarter as Angel Ruiz ripped of a 75-yard touchdown run and the ensuring two point conversion tied the game at 21. The bad news kept coming for Breckenridge early in the third quarter as Woodward left the game early in the third quarter with an injury, but Kevin Franco moved over from receiver and led BHS running for 100 yards in the second half and two touchdowns. After Morton tossed a touchdown pass to Alex Gonzales to give EHS a 27-21 lead, Franco tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Justin Bell tying the game at 27 midway through the third quarter.

The back and forth action continued with Morton scoring on a two yard scoring run with 2:27 left in the third to put Eastland back up 34-27 at the end of three quarters. Breckenridge kept coming at Eastland and Franco would tie the game up with 34 with just over ten minutes left in the game with a three yard scoring run. Eastland would then go on an extending scoring drive taking over five minutes off the clock and getting the lead with 4:44 left on a five yard scoring run from Gonzales, the Mavericks converted a pair of fourth downs to keep the drive alive. BHS would have an answer with Angel Ruiz scoring from 22-yards out with just 1:26 left tying the game up at 41, but as is often the case, Breckenridge left Eastland just a bit too much time and the Mavericks made the Buckaroos pay. Facing a 3rd and 10 at the BHS 29-yard line, Eastland benefited from a defensive pass interference call on Breckenridge which set Eastland up for Morton’s game winning field goal.

The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for Breckenridge, who during their five game mid-season skid suffered three straight losses by a total of seven points, including the three point loss to Eastland. The Buckaroos were able to salvage their season winning two of their last three games to get into the playoffs, where they gave Brock all they wanted in the first round of the playoffs losing 34-27.  All in all, in Breckenridge’s 4-7 2018 season, the Buckaroos lost five games by seven points or less. Eastland finished in third place in 3-3A Division I, posting a solid 9-4 season falling in the third round of the playoffs to Shallowater. The Mavericks, who fielded an extremely young team in 2018 will certainly be a team to watch out in the Big Country with the majority of their team returning for the 2019 season.

2018 Honorable Mention Games

September 21: LaFeria 21, Port Isabel 14

September 27: Mansfield Lake Ridge 34, DeSoto 29

September 28: Longview 42, Rockwall 35

October 20: Eagle Pass Winn 7, San Antonio Harlan 3

December 8: Alvin Shadow Creek 25, Richmond Foster 21

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