By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Despite a spectacular statistical night, the state-ranked Red Oak offense sputtered when it mattered most in a season-opening loss against Denton Braswell.
The upstart Broncos built a three-score lead by halftime and cruised home with the 48-27 victory.
Braswell outgained Red Oak 490 yards to 42, which included 320 yards through the air on 22-of-35 passing by Greyson Thompson.
Thompson completed two of those passes for touchdowns and added two more on the ground.
Junior quarterback Joshua Ervin led the Red Oak offense with 242 yards and four touchdowns on 11-of-27 passing. Raymond Gay pulled down two of those Ervin passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Coby Cavil recorded six catches for 88 yards and one score.
Zach Sanders paced the Hawks ground game with 19 carries for 78 yards (4.11 YPC).
The Hawks finished the game 1-for-7 on fourth-down conversions and also lost the turnover battle (2-1) on Thursday at CH Collins Stadium in Denton. Both Red Oak turnovers came following mishandled kicks.
Braswell did, however, double-up the Hawks on penalty yardage, as the Broncos were flagged 12 times for 120 yards to the 9-60 of the Hawks.
Red Oak entered the game ranked 17th in the Dave Campbell’s Football 5A poll.
Braswell quarterback Greyson Thompson completed three passes to Cam Smith on the Broncos opening drive — one for 45 yards and another for a 12-yard touchdown.
The Hawks quickly turned the football over on downs five plays from scrimmage later, setting the stage for a short Bronco drive.
Thompson again hooked up with Smith — this time from 23 yards out — for a 14-0 Braswell lead with 6:40 to play in the first quarter.
The score held through the first buzzer of the season, but the Hawks entered the second quarter with momentum following an interception.
Three plays later, Red Oak junior quarterback Joshua Ervin connected with Coby Cavil for a 55-yard touchdown. Dakota Santos split the uprights on the point-after-touchdown attempt to cut the Braswell lead in half, 14-7.
The Broncos responded on their ensuing drive with a 45-yard field goal off of the foot of Arturo Ramirez and then promptly recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Thompson once again marched the Broncos down the field, capping the seven-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The score and Ramirez PAT put Braswell ontop 24-7 with 6:43 to play in the first half.
It then took just two plays for the Hawks to find paydirt.
Following a run for no gain, Ervin found Raymond Gay II for a 75-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown.
The 10-point deficit ultimately proved to be the closest Red Oak pulled to Braswell the rest of the evening. It came with 6:03 remaining in the first half.
The Broncos eventually added a fourth first-half touchdown to take a 31-14 lead into the locker room. Braswell then outscored Red Oak 17-13 in the second half for the program’s first 1-0 start in its two-year history with a 48-27 win.
Red Oak defeated Braswell in game one of the 2018 season, 27-7.
Thursday’s defeat marked the first non-district loss for the Hawks under second-year head coach Chris Ross. The Hawks went 9-1 in the regular season this past year, with the lone loss coming against Dallas South Oak Cliff in district play.
The Hawks final two touchdowns Thursday both came on completions by Ervin. The first went to Gay for 20 yards (2:28, 3Q) and second was caught by Tristan Lee from 21 yards out with 27 ticks remaining in the ball game.
The Hawks continue their non-district slate with a 7:30 p.m. home kickoff against Princeton on Friday, Sept. 6.