Elks move to 2-0 with win
DENTON — Just when it seemed like Denton Braswell had fought its way back into the game, Burleson slammed the door on the Bengals’ dreams of an upset.
And the Elks did it with a pair of scores in the span of 13 seconds.
The outburst was all Burleson needed Thursday night as the Elks downed Braswell, 44-22, at C.H. Collins Stadium.
“I thought we played well,” Burleson coach Gary McElroy said. “The kids played hard. We got humbled a little bit tonight. We gave up a couple of defensive scores that were uncharacteristic of us. We understand now that everyone on the field is vulnerable and if you aren’t on your toes you get exposed.”
It was the Elks (2-0) final non-district game. Burleson opens District 9-5A Division II play Friday against Waco University at Waco ISD Stadium. The Trojans snapped the state’s longest losing streak at 47 games Friday with a 37-0 win over Austin Travis.
McElroy said he is excited to see what his team can do with a regular week of workouts in preparation for a game.
“I’m excited about us having a normal week,” McElroy said. “Going into our first game we had no idea what to expect and then we had a short week to get ready to play on Thursday and it rained on Monday. This will be the first time we have ample film on our opponent and a full week to prepare. So I’m excited to see what this team can do with a full week to prepare.”
With the Elks reeling following back-to-back scores by Braswell that sliced the margin to 30-22 with 7:32 to play, Burleson sophomore running back Jarrett Austin scored a pair of touchdowns to put the game away.
“We got put in an awkward situation with those scores,” McElroy said. “We had our backs against the wall at that point. Our kids reached down and reacted. They said you know this is not what we need to be doing and scored twice to put it away.”
First, Austin hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Amador with 5:12 remaining in the game. The touchdown gave Burleson a 37-22 lead.
The score answered a pair of fourth-quarter scores by the Bengals. Jared Shaabani had scored on a 26-yard pass from Greyson Thompson to get Braswell with 30-14. Then Braswell linebacker Braylon Butler picked off a screen and raced 40 yards for the score that cut the Elks advantage to 30-22.
Things fell apart for Braswell on the ensuing kickoff when the Bengals’ special team let the kick bounce loose only to see Burleson senior C.J. Williams fall on the loose ball at the Braswell 2.
“We asked our kicker to pooch the ball into a dead spot and he did just that,” McElroy said. “C.J. (Williams) is one of the fastest kids around and he screamed down there and recovered the ball.”
Two plays later, Austin delivered the telling block with a 2-yard touchdown run that put the Elks up 44-22 with 4:59 to play.
Austin touched the ball six times on the night (three runs, three receptions) and scored three times.
The teams opened the game trading scores.
On the Elks second play from scrimmage, Amador scored on a 40 yard run for a 7-0 lead. Braswell answered on its next possession with an 8-yard touchdown scamper by Jermeiah Richardson to tie the game.
Burleson scored the next 23 points to take a 30-7 advantage.
Austin scored a 1-yard run in the first quarter for a 14-7 lead than on the first play of the second quarter, the Elks registered a safety when Braswell snapped the ball out of the end zone on a punt.
Amador accounted for the next two scores with scoring passes of 10 yards to Gabriel Bustillos and Aden Anderson.
The Elks’ passing game was clicking Thursday as Amador completed 20 of 26 passes for 250 yards and three scores. The senior also ran for 50 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts.
“Jacob threw the ball well but at the same time there are a somethings we need to do better as an offense,” McElroy said. “We still have some chinks to work out offensively.”
Caleb Lewis was Burleson’s top runner carrying 15 times for 70 yards. Anderson caught six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown while Jacob Moss grabbed five passes for 57 yards.
The game was the Elks first true test of the season after beating Kansas City (Kan.) F.L. Schlagle, 52-0, in their season-opener.
“This a was a good test for us before district play started,” McElroy said. “The talent-level between them and our first opponent was night-and-day. They have two offensive tackles that are being recruited by every major college in the nation. They had a lot of good skill position players and are very fast.”