It was going to be a tough assignment for Connally against Brownwood on Friday night under the best circumstances.
But the Cadets weren’t at full strength, and Brownwood took full advantage as the game went on.
Ike Hall threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 123 yards and two scores, and Brownwood scored 31 unanswered points in the second and third quarters in a 52-21 win at Mac Peoples Stadium.
Connally quarterback Jelani McDonald took the field to receive his crown as homecoming king in the pregame, but did so in shorts and was unable to play. The Cadets were also without wide receiver Jamarie Wiggins.
The injury list grew for the Cadets after Kobe Black took a hard hit to the head from a teammate as they converged on a tackle and missed the rest of the game.
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“We do have some kids out right now. We have five starters out,” Connally coach Terry Gerik said. “It’s tough, but we are building depth for district, and these kids have to understand it doesn’t matter who we put out there, they’ve got to be prepared.”
Both of Hall’s touchdown passes went to Thad Hinds, from 26 and 25 yards, and Konlyn Anderson ran for 113 yards and two scores for Brownwood (4-1).
With Connally missing most of its playmakers, Kiefer Sibley became the entire focus of the offense. He responded with 217 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Sibley scored twice in the first quarter on runs of 21 and 34 yards to help Connally take a 14-7 lead, but it was all Brownwood after that.
The Lions outscored the Cadets (3-2) 17-0 in the second quarter for a 31-21 halftime lead as the Brownwood offensive line and defense took over the game. But it was a disastrous start to the third quarter that finally did Connally in.
The Cadets went three-and-out on their first possession coming out of the locker room, and a high snap on the punt rolled into the end zone. Connally punter Toby Terry tried to swipe the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety, but Brownwood’s Stevie Ramirez fell on it for a touchdown.
After another Connally punt, Brownwood struck again, this time on a 14-yard Anderson run to push the lead to 45-14.
“In the third quarter when you come out, you’ve got to score first,” Gerik said. “That’s the mentality we’ve got to have.”
Sibley gave the Cadets a glimmer of hope on the next play from scrimmage, busting a 75-yard touchdown run on which he ran through one defender and outran two more that had angles down the left sideline midway through the third quarter.
“Kiefer is a great young man, and he’s a heck of an athlete,” Gerik said. “And he’s even more explosive when we have everybody around him to go with him. They can kind of key on him when it’s just him back there. He’s just a hard worker, and he gets after it. I’m proud to have him on the team.”
But Brownwood answered with a 16-play drive, all on the ground, that ended with a three-yard touchdown run from Hall.
Connally, which has dropped two straight after a 3-0 start, will close nondistrict play next week on the road against Springtown.
“If we’re not ready by the time we get to district, something is wrong,” Gerik said. “Just about every week, we’ve seen a top-10 team in the state in a division above us. Our kids understand that, but at the same time, we don’t like losing. That’s unacceptable.”
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