July 26, 2008

Vaccaro and Co. have plenty to prove

When talking about the great football programs in the history of the state of Texas, it doesn't take long calling roll to get to the Brownwood Lions. The Lions have been one of the most dominant programs of all time winning six 3A state titles from 1960 to 1978 as well as a 4A crown in 1981. While the Lions haven't hoisted a state title trophy since 1981, they have continued the tradition of being a perennial playoff team advancing to the post season in 4A 13 times since 1990.

In 2008, the storied program will return to 3A and begin the season ranked No.3 in the state, is led by quarterback and TCU commit Casey Pachall, Texas commit Kenny Vaccaro and LSU offensive line commit Stavion Lowe.

Most people would think making the move down from the 4A ranks to 3A would all but guarantee a state championship for a team that returns the talent of Brownwood. However, that's not the case in 2008. While the Lions are legitimate contenders for the 3A crown, the competition will be deep and talented with several teams that made four-, five- and six-week playoff runs returning the bulk of their team from a year ago.

One thing is for certain, it won't take Brownwood long to get a feeling for where they fall in their new classification. After beginning the season August 30 at 3:45 PM in the Alamodome against Burnet, the Lions play host to a very talented Waco LaVega team that finished 13-1 a year ago and returns 15 starters.

LaVega is led by junior running back Chris Parr, who tallied 1,762 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2007. Parr is joined on offense by quarterback Danzel Wilson (1,657 passing yards and 17 TD's), who will enter his third year as the signal caller. Throw in talented two way players Daxton Swanson and Chad Ward at receiver and the Pirates will not have problems putting points on the board.

The Lions will follow up the match-up of 3A state ranked teams by hosting 4A power Stephenville, who doesn't possess the big time talent of years past.

After Stephenville, Brownwood makes a key road trip in non-district play. The Lions will hit the road to take on two-time 3A defending champion Liberty Hill. The Panthers suffered key losses at running back off of 2007's 14-0 squad, but return two way star Cody Lattimore (LB/RB) as well as starters at quarterback, tight end and three offensive linemen on offense.

The Lions will conclude non-district play by hosting Manor on October 3rd before beginning district play.

Brownwood will be equally tested in district play as 2-3A features four teams in Abilene Wylie, Graham, Sweetwater and Snyder that advanced to the second round or farther in 2007.

The first test will be a short road trip to take on Abilene Wylie. The Bulldogs, who have been 3A state contenders on a yearly basis under head coach Hugh Sandifer, are coming off of an 11-3 campaign a year ago. Graduation decimated Sandifer's squad, but the Bulldogs will be well coached and head into every Friday with a winning mentality.

After hosting Breckenridge October 17th, the Lions will face a tough three game stretch to finish district play.

A trip to Graham October 24th could be a test. The Steers return six starters from a 10-2 playoff team. The leader of the group is junior quarterback Case McCoy, who threw for 2,008 yards and 22 scores a year ago. Joining McCoy, the younger brother of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, will be 6-4, 295-pound junior defensive tackle and center Blake Jordan.

After Graham, the Lions will play host to Sweetwter. Sweetwater, another storied program n the region, return 11 starters (seven on defense) off of a 7-5-playoff team. As is always the case, the Mustangs will feature some talented skill players led by 2010 prospect Kenneth Norman, who was the district newcomer of the year as a sophomore.

The toughest win in district play will likely be the last game of the regular season against the Snyder Tigers. Snyder went 12-3 a year ago and return nine starters plus some talented youngsters.

Snyder will be led by a big and talented offensive line and up and coming sophomore running back Xavier Malonep (5-11, 170-pounds).

Brownwood lions 2008 schedule (*-denotes district contest)

Aug 30 @ Burnet (Alamodome) 3:45pm
Sep 5 Waco LaVega
Sep 12 Stephenville
Sep 19 @ Liberty Hill
Sep 26 open
Oct 3 Manor
Oct 10* @ Abilene Wylie
Oct 17* Breckenridge
Oct 24* @ Graham
Oct 31* Sweetwater
Nov 7* @ Snyder

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