BROWNWOOD — After pulling within eight points of Brownwood with 6:52 left and then forcing the Lions to start consecutive possessions from inside their 5-yard line, Sweetwater was poised to complete a rainy fourth-quarter comeback here Friday.
Clinging to a 21-13 lead, Brownwood was pinned at its 2 after a 47-yard punt by Sweetwater quarterback Kaegan Jeffrey with 4:08 to play. But the Lions went to their wildcat formation, and Eddie Duque raced 95 yards before finally being dragged down at Sweetwater’s 3.
Two plays later, Brown-wood’s Braylon Johnson completed the short drive with a 2-yard run to wrap up a 28-13 win for the Lions.
While Duque’s big run was easily the longest of the night, Brownwood (2-3) did most of its damage on the ground. The hosts finished with 296 yards and had two 100-yard rushers in Duque and Braxton Kilgo.
Brownwood dominated the first half statistically as Sweetwater (2-3) was held to just 55 total yards and three first downs, but the Lions led just 6-0 — the only score coming on a 5-yard run by Kilgo in the second quarter.
Both teams missed field goals later in the period, with Sweetwater getting to Brownwood’s 10 on its drive following a 25-yard Jeffrey-to-Kaleb Hoover pass completion on fourth-and-9.
Brownwood missed a 39-yard field goal attempt to end the half, but was back in business to start the third quarter after returning the opening kickoff 63 yards to Sweetwater’s 22. From there, the Lions needed just five plays to score on Kilgo’s 2-yard run, and a two-point run by Duque made it 14-0.
Sweetwater finally scored with a 14-play, 75-yard drive — 13 of them runs — capped by Ryan Linebaugh’s 2-yard touchdown with 3:13 left to pull within 14-6.
Brownwood regained a two-touchdown advantage, 21-6, on a 2-yard Johnson run with 8:45 left in the game. Sweetwater was then forced to go to its passing game, but Jeffrey responded by leading an 11-play drive — all of them passes — that covered 69 yards and cut the Lions’ margin to 21-13.
The touchdown came on a 5-yard pass to Hoover in the left corner of the end zone. But the key play that kept the chains moving was another fourth-down com-pletion to Hoover, which again covered 25 yards and gave Sweetwater first-and-goal at the 5.
That fired up the defense, which forced Brownwood’s only punt of the night. The Mustangs failed to take ad-vantage on their next pos-session, but Jeffrey nailed a 47-yard punt that put the Lions at their 2 — only to see Duque break loose on Brownwood’s first play from scrimmage.
Now that its three-game road trip has been completed, Sweetwater will get this weekend off before starting District 4-3A play at home against Snyder on Oct. 12, followed by another home game against Greenwood.