AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank.
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An injury to Ramon Richards opened the door for Antonio Lopez to gain experience as a sophomore quarterback in 2013.
Thankfully for Brackenridge (2-5, 2-3), the injury that kept Lopez from competing against rival Burbank (0-6, 0-4) Oct. 10 was not of the season-ending variety, as Richards’ was. However, Vincent Gonzalez’s introduction to varsity action was similar to Lopez’s.
The current Eagles sophomore threw for a 361 yards and four touchdowns in a 33-13 win at Alamo Stadium. Lopez, now a senior who missed the game because of minor injuries, also passed for four touchdowns in his debut.
“We had a young guy under center because Tony’s out this week,” Brackenridge coach Willie Hall said. “(Lopez) will be all right. We just needed to give him a break.
“We thought Vincent was ready, but you don’t know until the game’s underway.”
Three of Gonzalez’s scoring passes went to junior receiver Justin Eaton (128 yards, 4 receptions).
“We were just exited for it,” Eaton said. “We did what we had to do without our main quarterback. We wanted to show we could do it by ourselves.”
The game’s first two touchdowns were scored by sophomore quarterbacks.
Gonzalez scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 7:17 left in the first quarter. Burbank answered with a 63-yard run from its sophomore QB Dylan Gusme (114 yards, 14 carries). The score was tied 6-6 as the quarter ended.
Brackenridge took the lead as Gonzalez passed 15 yards to senior Jalen Davis and 24 yards to Eaton in the end zone on the two plays of the second quarter. Ahead 13-6, Brack drove 58 yards to score with 1:25 until halftime. Two passes to Eaton covered 49 yards.
“That’s a preview of next year,” Eaton said with a smile.
Burbank drove 68 yards off the second half kickoff to close within 20-13. A 24-yard pass from Jeremiah Medina to Rubyn Salazar kept the drive alive. Gusme passed 12 yards to Diego Vela for the score.
Brackenridge pulled ahead again on a 58-yard pass play from Gonzalez to Davis (118 yards, 5 reception), who made an over-the-shoulder catch in stride at the Burbank 15.
“(Having experienced receivers) always helps,” Hall said, “but the thing that was most important was the guys on the line. They gave him the opportunity to see some guys open downfield.”
The Bulldogs threatened to keep their forward momentum going with a fumble recovery by Nathan Teplitzky and a 27-yard interception return from Devin Gusme. Pressure from the Eagles’ defensive front kept Burbank from mounting consistent progress offensively.
“They’ve been pretty strong all season,” Hall said. “It’s the back end where we had some problems last week against Sam Houston. The guys up front have been doing a great job.”
Eaton turned on the jets to haul in his third touchdown pass from Gonzalez. The play spanned 55 yards with 3:30 remaining.
“I was just covered, so I had to get a little bit of separation,” Eaton said. “I made a move while the ball was in flight.”
With the victory, Brackenridge moved into a sixth-place tie in the district and kept its playoff hopes alive.
“We couldn’t afford any more (losses),” Hall said, “if we’re going to have a chance to play some games at the end of the season.”