The Vernon Lions showed plenty of positives, but were hampered by some of the same issues that have plagued them all season in falling 42-34 to Burkburnett on Friday. The Lions have lost four straight and can chalk this one up to a similar recipe of recent weeks involving turnovers, big plays, red zone woes and falling victim to an onside kick.
But the Lions can also build on outgaining the Bulldogs by more than 150 yards, recording six sacks and having their best passing game of the season.
A huge crowd was on hand for homecoming and the Lions may have been a little too hyped, as they fumbled their first snap of the game at their own 33. It was the first of five Vernon fumbles, with two lost. Burkburnett needed just three plays to score on a 19-yard pass and go up 7-0.
Vernon answered with an 8-play 70-yard drive. The big play came when quarterback BT White hit Anthony Garza with a short flanker screen, Garza reversed field and went 35 yards inside the 5-yard-line. White then carried in from the one for the score. The 2-point try was no good and Vernon trailed 7-6.
The Lions bottled by the Bulldogs next drive with a first down sack by Marc Rodriguez and Martevious McFarland. Vernon fumbled, but recovered it on the next drive for a big loss that forced a punt. Burkburnett followed with the first of several huge plays, a 74-yard pass that was downed inside the Vernon five. Burk scored on the next play to go up 14-6.
Vernon followed with a 17-play drive. Christian Ochoa reeled off a 20-yard run on third and 4 to get Vernon to mid field. The Lions converted a 4th and 2 with an 8-yard run by White and continued to grind out yards. Vernon drove to the 6, but turned the ball over on downs.
The defense bailed out the offense. McFarland and Shawon Parker broke through the line and got a sack/safety making the score 14-8.
Vernon squandered the momentum of getting the free kick at midfield, as they fumbled the ball away.
Parker recorded an 11-yard sack to first down. But Burk got a 57-yard pass on 3rd and 18 to go up 21-8.
The Bulldogs caught Vernon off-guard with a successful onside kick, the third this season against Vernon. A sack followed by a Rodriguez tackle on 4th down gave the ball back to Vernon at the 40. On second down White threw a perfect pass to Tyler Reeves, racing down the sideline. Reeves broke a tackle and raced to the endzone. The 2-point try was no good and Vernon trailed 21-14.
After forcing a three and out, Vernon drove back down the field, thanks to a 23-yard run by White and a 28 yard pass to Ortega. Vernon drive to the five-yard-line but three straight incomplete passes ended the half with no points.
Burk struck quickly out of half with 31-yard TD pass to go up 28-14. A score to open the fourth put Vernon behind 35-14.
The Lions showed a lot of heart and didn’t go out quietly. Garza took a 56-yard pass from White for a score. Vernon also got two TD runs from White, of 57 and four yards, but couldn’t get closer than eight as Burk ran out the clock.
The Lions closed out their non-district portion of the schedule and have a bye to work out the kinks before traveling to Aubrey in two weeks for their district opener.
B – Jacob Williams 19 pass from Mason Duke (Anthony Gauthier kick), 10:55
V – B.T. White 1 run (pass failed), 7:45
B – Wyatt McAlexander 1 run (Gauthier kick), 2:57
V – Safety (McFarland & Parker sack Duke in endzone), 7:25
B –Williams 57 pass from Duke (Gauthier kick), 5:49
V – Tyler Reeves 58 pass from White (run failed), 3:46
B –Williams 31 pass from Duke (Gauthier kick), 10:30
B –Duke 2 run (Gauthier kick), 8:36
V – Anthony Garza 56 pass from White (pass failed), 7:41
B – Kaydon Davis 34 pass from Duke (Gauthier kick), 5:50
V –White 57 run (White run), 5:35
V –White 4 run (pass failed), 2:58