SWEETWATER — Sweetwater trailed 16-14 at half and 23-22 after three quarters, but the undefeated Mustangs handcuffed Breckenridge with poor field position in the final period to escape with a 36-23 triumph Friday night in the Mustang Bowl.
The Buckaroos ran only four of their 20 plays in the fourth quarter in Sweetwater’s half of the field, and the Mustang defense pitched a shutout in the last 12 minutes after giving up 23 points in the first 36 minutes.
Coach Shane Mobley’s decision to punt in the fourth quarter from the BHS 38-yard line after a Mustang touchdown was called back because of a penalty proved to be a decisive factor.
Four plays later the Mustangs blocked a BHS punt and regained possession at the Breckenridge 9-yard line. T.C. Huitt ran in from the 1-yard line with 3:28 to play to stretch a five-point lead (28-23) to a more comfortable 13 points (36-23) to end the scoring.
“We were worried that with their size they would run right at us,” Mobley said, “but we came out after half and did a good job.
“We made some adjustments to their formations that really helped us.”
Sweetwater had taken its 28-23 lead just 1:03 into the fourth quarter when 215-pound quarterback Kaegan Jeffrey threw 27 yards to a leaping Michael Lawrence in the corner of the end zone.
That ended a 49-yard drive set up by a nice kickoff return by Huitt after Breckenridge’s final score.
In the third period, Jeffrey ended Sweetwater’s first series with a 1-yard touchdown dive at 9:11 to give the hosts a brief lead of 22-16, but Breckenridge responded with a drive of 71 yards in 18 plays that took 8:05 off the clock to reclaim the scoreboard at 23-22.
Jeffrey finished with 197 yards in the air, and Bray Amos (69 yards) and Isaiah McGee (77 yards) each caught four passes. The 3-0 Mustangs played errorless ball without a turnover.
Breckenridge, losers for the second time in three games this season under first-year coach Casey Hubble, stayed on the ground most of the night with a net of 233 yards rushing on 57 attempts.
Austin Dooley, a 195-pound senior workhorse, finished with 132 yards on 31 attempts, but he carried only twice in the final period for 4 yards.
Sweetwater defender J’Corey Amos grabbed an interception of a BHS pass in the second quarter for the game’s only turnover.
The visitors took advantage of their big offensive line to score on their first drive and eventually take a 16-14 lead at intermission. Hubble’s five-man line averages 255 pounds — led by 285-pound tackle Cason Mayo and 275-pound guard Ariel Arellano.
Omar Aguilar’s 21-yard field goal 31 seconds before half gave Breckenridge its 16-14 lead after a 43-yard drive to the Mustang 4. Key tackles inside the 10 on second down by Sweetwater’s Daniel Maldonado and Israel Vera and on third down by Jacoby Hunt and Adrian Vizzera forced the FG attempt.
The teams exchanged leads after the Buckaroos drove 51 yards on the opening series to score at 7:50. Cornett on a nice fake got the TD untouched on a 15-yard run around left end, but the PAT kick was blocked.
On its second series, Sweetwater gained the lead at 1:07 when Jeffrey threw 35 yards to Bray Amos. The TD was followed by a two-point conversion with Jeffrey throwing to Hunt.
In the second period, Dooley scored on a 4-yard run at 9:21 to give BHS a cushion of 13-8, but the Mustangs went back on top 14-13 at 5:05 when Jeffrey again connected on a TD pass — this one 32 yards to McGee.
SWEETWATER 36, BRECKENRIDGE 23
Breckenridge 6 10 7 0 — 23
Sweetwater 8 6 8 14 — 36
BRE — Cade Cornett 15 run (kick blocked), 7:50
SWE — Bray Amos 35 pass from Kaegan Jeffrey (Jacoby Hunt pass from Jeffrey), 1:07
BRE — Austin Dooley 4 run (Omar Aguilar kick), 9:21
SWE — Isaiah McGee 32 pass from Jeffrey (pass failed), 5:05
BRE — Aguilar 21 field goal 0:31
SWE — Jeffrey 1 run (B. Amos run), 9:11
BRE — Cornett 1 run (Aguilar kick), 1:06
SWE — Michael Lawrence 27 pass from Jeffrey (pass failed), 10:57
SWE — T.C. Huitt 1 run (McGee pass from Jeffrey), 3:28
First downs 25 16
Rushes-yds 57-233 27-111
Pass yds 70 197
Pass C-A-I 8-10-1 12-18-0
Punts-avg 2-20 3-29
Pen-yds 4-35 5-32
Fum-lost 0-0 1-0
RUSHING — Breckenridge, Cade Cornett 16-78, Austin Dooley 31-132, Brady Tennison 7-32, Alain Franco 1-6, Omar Aguilar 1-1, team 1-(-16). Sweetwater, Kaegan Jeffrey 4-6, Jacoby Hunt 9-47, T.C. Huitt 9-22, Bray Amos 3-36, team 2-0.
PASSING — Breckenridge, Cornett 8-10-1—70. Sweetwater, Jeffrey 12-18-0—197.
RECEIVING — Breckenridge, Franco 7-58, Brandon Hunter 1-12. Sweetwater, Isaiah McGee 4-77, B. Amos 4-69, Michael Lawrence 2-38, Max Gomez 2-13.
Records — Sweetwater 3-0; Breckenridge 1-2.