Bushland quarterback Jared Thomas avoids pressure to deliver a pass against Brock during a Class 3A Division I regional semifinal on Friday in Iowa Park. [Mark Lytle/ For Press Pass Sports]
Bushland’s fantastic season came to a heartbreaking end, falling to Brock, 20-17, in an overtime classic during a Class 3A Division I regional semifinal Friday evening at Hawks Stadium in Iowa Park.
Brock won the toss in overtime, forcing the Falcons to take the ball first. Bushland, playing in the school’s first ever OT playoff game, was unable to gain a first down, but did nab a 17-14 lead thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Baylor Gillispie.
However, the Eagles marched down to the 1-yard line on the ensuing possession behind their powerful run attack.
The game came down to a fourth and goal. Standout running back Cash Jones took the handoff and darted straight for the corner pylon, and was able to beat the Falcons defenders for the game-winning score, lifting Brock to the thrilling win.
“We knew this was going to be a hard-nosed game,” Bushland coach Jimmy Thomas said. “If you’re a fan of football, it was a great game. We showed great effort. I couldn’t ask for more, it just didn’t go in our favor.”
The game didn’t end without a couple of controversial calls. Bushland led 14-7 with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter after Brody Sutterfield scooped and scored a Brock fumble from 5-yards out.
With the Falcons still leading by that same score, with 4:30 to play, Bushland faced a fourth down and four at the Brock 45-yard line.
Bushland quarterback Coleman Junnell, who played two snaps at quarterback for Jared Thomas who was shaken up on the previous play, used a hard count that had seemed to make the Eagles defensive line jump, but no flag was thrown. Junnell’s pass was incomplete, giving the ball back to Brock near midfield.
“We were going to punt,” Thomas said. “That was a key point in the ball game. There was no call. But our plan was to punt but we snapped it on the jump.”
Brock, which eventually wore down a stellar effort from the Falcons defense, drove 55 yards and scored the game-tying touchdown on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Jaxon Gleaton from a yard out with 2:33 to go.
Bushland had one more chance in regulation. Ethan Fuentes returned a short kickoff 30 yards to the Brock 45-yard line. A few plays later, Thomas found Skyler Jaco down the sideline for a 35-yard gain inside the Eagles 15.
But once again, the flags were out, as Jaco was hit with an offensive pass interference call.
“Gillispie was hit on his kick in overtime and it was called running into the kicker, not roughing,” Thomas said. “I’m not sure on Jaco’s pass interference. I need to watch film and see, but those plays hurt. But hey, end of the day hand it to Brock. Their kids played hard and they are a great football team.”
Brock’s defense, which allowed 10 points a game coming in, held Bushland a potent Bushland offense to seven points and 208 total yards.
The Falcons defense also stepped up. Bushland forced two fumbles, and didn’t allow a passing yard. Brock did have 271 yards on the ground but over 100 of those yards came in the fourth quarter and OT.
Jones led all rushers, as the Brock bruiser tallied 207 yards on 34 carries with two scores.
“It was a defensive battle,” Thomas said. “We knew how good their defense was going to be. They are as good as advertised. We had to work for every yard. But our defense was just as good. Our defense did a great job of getting the ball to our offense when they tried to keep it away. I can’t say enough.
Brock (11-2) moves on to face Pilot Point in the state quarterfinals. Pilot Point downed Wall 26-7 on Friday.
Bushland ends a magical run at 12-1 overall. It was the first time the Falcons had been 12-0 since the 2009 season when Bushland played for a Class 2A Division I state title.
Bushland also said goodbye to 14 seniors Friday night. Thomas embraced those seniors, which included his son and quarterback, Jared, to express his gratitude for their career effort in the program.
“I told them how proud I was of them,” Thomas said. “What they did on the field, but also what they did in the locker room. They set a culture with a family atmosphere with the younger classes. They made them all feel special. They are leaders, that creates their legacy, and I hope it pays forward for years to come.”
Brock 20, Bushland 17, OT
Bushland 7 0 7 3 — 17
Brock 7 7 6 — 20
Brock—Cash Jones 63 run (Tatum Saathoff kick), 11:22
Bushland—Jared Thomas 1 run (Baylor Gillispie kick), 5:40
Bushland—Brody Sutterfield 9 fumble return (Gillispie kick), 10:54
Brock—Jaxon Gleaton 1 run (Saathoff kick), 2:33
Bushland—Gillispie FG 42
Brock—Jones 2 run
First downs 13 17
Rushing 2 271
Passing 208 0
Total yards 210 271
C-A-I 15-27-1 0-7-0
Punts-Avg. 5-37.6 5-28.2
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 3-35 8-70
Rushing— Bushland: David Russell 2-26; Coleman Junnell 6-5; Ethan Fuentes 2-8; Jared Thomas 22 -(37). Brock: Cash Jones 34-207; Tyler Riddle 5-27; Jaxon Gleaton 8-12.
Passing— Bushland: Thomas 15-27-1-208; Junnell 0-1-0-0. Brock: Gleaton 0-7-0-0.
Receiving— Bushland: Skyler Jack 3-89; Jake Orcutt 3-62; Jackson Espe 3-34.