BRECKENRIDGE, Texas — Heading into University Interscholastic League Division I, District 4-3A play, Breckenridge High School or its varsity football team may not have been on the minds of many.
The Buckaroos were coming off a tremendously tough non-district slate in which they were winless while Brock was viewed by many as the team to beat — or better yet, the team none would beat. Breckenridge, however, rose to the task and toppled all its district opponents and set the stage for another showdown with the Eagles.
Most matchups between the two teams were close and hard-fought games, usually with Brock coming out on top. That is until the Buckaroos decided they’d finally had enough.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys; they’re as fundamentally sound as anyone,” said Breckenridge Head Coach Casey Hubble, in his fourth year at the helm. “Everybody’s surprised [by the win], but we’ve had the same battle with those guys three of the last four years. Our kids aren’t scared of anyone. We respect everyone, but our kids know how to play football. We expected the win.”
The Buckaroos challenged some of the top teams in this part of the state but were unable to score a victory against the likes of 4A programs Mineral Wells and Wichita Falls Hirschi, Cisco and Eastland, along with a three-point loss to Dublin.
As the losses mounted during non-district, the resolve to want things to change for the better grew, according to Hubble.
“I went back and charted the Dublin game to look for reasons why,” said the coach. “I counted numerous missed assignments. We weren’t playing or coaching well, and we decided we were going to fix it. We restructured our practices and revamped how we were teaching.”
It’s the fresh look at practice sessions Hubble credits to the impressive turnaround. Breckenridge begins each morning session Monday through Wednesday with defense, breaking into five to 10 minute periods of inside run game, two periods of individual sessions, and three periods of team sessions serving as the highlights.
“We try to get as many reps in as we can,” Hubble explained. “We broke it up a little bit and tried to go for more good-on-good. Practice time actually shortened, but the intensity went way up. Our kids bought into what we wanted to do and we went to work.”
Something about this practice regimen overhaul paid huge dividends, with Breckenridge earning their first win of the season with a one-point victory over Paradise to begin district.
“The kids started playing better, they did some things to make it more of a ballgame than we had hoped it would be, but that’s nothing against Paradise,” said Hubble. “The kids did well and learned how to win in that game. They understand what they’re trying to do; it’s been a complete team effort.”
Trailing 28-27 with three minutes to go in the final quarter last week, Breckenridge mounted a tremendous drive starting inside their own 20-yard line, ending wit35-yard field goal by Jose Escobedo with just seconds showing on the clock. The win earned Breckenridge the district title and snapped Brock’s 19-game win streak — which began since the Eagles first started UIL competition.
Breckenridge now prepares for the postseason fully energized, taking their momentum to Brownwood to open the playoffs against Merkel High School.
“Merkel’s about the same as us,” Hubble noted. “They have some kids who are extremely athletic; we’re going to have to go out there and beat them.”
The Buckaroos relish the opportunity to compete in mid-November however, after enduring non-district and changing up how they are as a program.
“It’s a lot like life, not everything falls into place as you would want it to,” Hubble continued. “Our kids didn’t want to settle for mediocrity though. They wanted to be the best they can be. Because they didn’t give up and settle, we’re in the position we’re in to make a deep playoff run.”
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