Photo: Vance Valentine/Texas HS Football

CONROE, Texas- Sometimes, it’s simply about finding a way to win. That’s what The Woodlands Highlanders were able to do Thursday night, holding of a previously unbeaten Beaumont West Brook by a final of 35-21.

The Highlanders were without two key starters on Thursday night in starting quarterback Quinn Binney and wide receiver KeSean Carter, who was out with a groin injury. While quarterback Quinton Johnson and receiver Malik Johnson starting in their places, The Woodlands would lean on the running game led by Lucas Summers and Bryeton Gilford.

But it was the Highlander defense that would get things going after West Brook quarterback La’Ravien Elia fumbled on the Bruins’ first possession inside their own 20. The Woodlands capitalized on the short field and jumped out to an early 7-0 lead less two minutes into the game.

West Brook came right back and scored on their next drive highlighted with a 12-yard touchdown by Bralin Simon. The extra point was missed and from that point on, it was a battle of strong defenses in the first half. Highlander quarterback Quinton Johnson was flustered in place of the injured Binney, managing just 51 yards passing in the first half. Both defenses were able to contain each other’s potent offense did and the Highlanders eventually took a 14-13 into the locker room at halftime.

The Woodlands running back Bryeton Gilford runs the ball during their game against Beaumont West Brook. (Photo: Vance Valentine/Texas HS Football)

A 56-yard pass to Connor Klapesky by the Highlanders right out of the half set them up for a quick one-yard touchdown by Summers and the Highlanders increased their lead to eight points. It didn’t last long, as Thaddeaus Johnson of the Bruins took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards followed by a two-point conversion which tied the game not even two minutes into the half.

West Brook head coach Eric Peevey felt a momentum shift following the return but “a few penalties and a fumble at the one” by running back James Jones shifted the momentum back to The Woodlands.

The Highlanders’ defense played their hearts out the second half holding the Bruins to zero points in the second half on offense. West Brook had entered the game averaging more than 50 points a game entering the game.

The Woodlands quarterback Quinton Johnson runs the ball in for a touchdown in their game against Beaumont West Brook (Vance Valentine, Texas HS Football)

The Highlanders slowly pulled away starting with a rushing touchdown by Quinton Johnson to take the lead with 9:57 left in the game. They would add another Gilford 41-yard touchdown run three minutes later to put the game away. The Woodlands, without their starting quarterback and lead wide receiver toughened out the win and extended their district win streak to 26 games.

The Woodlands head coach Mark Schmid congratulated the team’s effort to “play through four quarters” calling it a “win worth celebrating”. He was happy with the way the team played through the adversity of losing their starting quarterback and “finding out right before the game [KeSean] Carter wasn’t going to play”.

West Brook’s head coach Eric Peevey admits there are “little mistakes to fix” but believes if “we can cut the mistakes out, we’ll be set”. They look to bounce back and Coach Peevey pointed out that after last season’s loss to the Highlanders they “won every game until the third round of the playoffs”. The first year head coach looks to repeat last season’s rally, and will start with facing Lufkin at home next week.

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