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Football: Braswell has a shot at program history against Wichita Falls

Following Braswell's loss to Sherman last Friday, coach Cody Moore told the Bengals they will have a big opportunity to garner the school's first win in football.

Moore's statement received applause and loud cheers from his team. It's no secret to the team and the Bengal faithful: Braswell has a shot against a 2-5 Wichita Falls Old High team.

"Old High will come in thinking they can do what they did to us last year, but we're a different team and we have what it takes to win," Moore said.

Wichita Falls began its season with a 2-1 record — an improvement from the 1-9 mark posted last year, with its lone win being Braswell — but the Coyotes have been outscored 47-16 in four straight losses.

For Braswell to make school history, it'll have to do two things: Start fast and not turn the ball over.

"If we can sustain the initial start of the game and get some points on the board, then I think we'll win," Moore said. "From what I've seen on film, they [the Coyotes] have a good defensive front. It'll be imperative that we block them well early on. 

"We're playing our best football right now, and if we don't turn the ball over, especially early, then we can win."

In six games, Braswell has turned over the ball 16 times, which includes the five turnovers in the first half against Sherman last week.

"I can't say it enough," Moore said. "We cannot commit silly turnovers like blocked punts or interceptions that turn into quick points. We can't make it easy for people to get on us early."

After last year's 40-9 loss, it was easy to see why then-first-year Braswell was walloped by Wichita Falls. Quarterback Stephen Gaines was a one-man show for the Coyotes, racking up 219 rushing yards, 187 passing yards and three total touchdowns.

Gaines has graduated, and the Coyotes are struggling at the quarterback position with Zach Williams and Anthony Vargas splitting reps in last week's 49-21 loss to Denton.

"They won't have a guy back there that can do what he [Gaines] did against us last year, but they do have some good skill players they can get into open space," Moore said. "We just can't give up any big plays like we did last year."

In last year's meeting, Wichita Falls scored from 66, 43 and 41 yards. This season, the Bengals' defense is not surrendering nearly as many deep plays.

For the seniors who started the program and have led the Bengals to new heights, it would mean a lot to them, the entire team and the Braswell community as a whole to record the team's first-ever victory.

"Those seniors who have been here since the beginning and stuck through some difficult times deserve a win or more this year," Moore said.

The Bengals' leading wide receiver Jaeden Johnson couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to show fans and the community that they can win football games.

"It would be huge for our program," Johnson said of the chance to defeat Wichita Falls. "We have what it takes to win these last few games. I know the senior class wants a playoff spot, and beating Old High could be the turning point for us."

JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-0379 and via Twitter at @Jimmy_Isbell12.

What you need to know

Matchup: Braswell vs. Wichita Falls
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: C.H. Collins Athletic Complex
What happened last year: Wichita Falls won 40-9.
Predictions:
Jimmy Isbell — Braswell 28, Wichita Falls 21
Steve Gamel — Braswell 21, Wichita Falls 17
Brady Keane — Braswell 21, Wichita Falls 20
Clay Massey — Wichita Falls 28, Braswell 16