FORT WORTH – On a football team filled with youth, one of the youngest members had one of the biggest plays of the season Friday night.
Granbury sophomore Justin Brassie fell on an onside kick by South Hills with 1:50 remaining in the game. It squelched hopes of the Scorpions pulling out a last-second victory and helped lift the Pirates to a 24-21 district-opening victory at Handley Field.
“We work on that every week. When we send that bunch in, the game’s on the line,” said Granbury head coach Scotty Pugh.
The Pirates (4-0) now have a chance to go 5-0 for the first time since 1981. They also continue in their quest to become a part of history as only the second football squad ever at the school to reach the playoffs in four straight seasons, joining the 1965-68 teams.
Pugh also believes the Pirates might very well have defeated another playoff team Friday. The Scorpions entered the game 3-0.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt they can make the playoffs,” he said. “They’re an extremely good football team, and that quarterback’s just a freshman. That’s scary.”
South Hills quarterback Tracin Wallace continued the torrid start to his high school career, passing for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He finished 25-for-38 with no interceptions, and he ran for a touchdown.
His 32-yard touchdown strike to Treylon LaSalle pulled the Scorpions to within 24-21 with just under two minutes to play. With only one timeout remaining, kicking away was not an option, and Brassie had his chance to come to the rescue.
“That’s a little sophomore scrapping under the pile. He fought hard for that ball,” said Pugh.
Not to be outdone, Granbury’s Ryan Suitt threw for 290 yards and a score. The junior second-year starter is on pace to throw for nearly 2,500 yards if the Pirates do as expected and reach the playoffs again.
LaSalle and Granbury Nick Doughty combined for quite a show. Doughty hauled in seven catches for 138 yards, including a 72-yarder on the game’s third play to set up Malik Allen’s 9-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
LaSalle finished with 10 catches for 132 yards and two scores. His first, a 27-yarder, tied the game at 7.
Granbury’s Jacob Rose broke the tie with a 43-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
Shortly after Wallace’s 15-yard run put the Scorpions up 14-10, Malik Allen of Granbury raced 74 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Granbury went up 17-14 and never trailed again.
Allen, a move-in from Trimble Tech, has settled in nicely in the Granbury backfield. He’s rushed for 369 yards and five touchdowns.
“He’s comfortable,” said Pugh. He’s extremely smart, and he picked things up quick. And when he gets a chance to break open, he’s dangerous.”
The lead increased to 24-14 with 3:41 left in the third when, on fourth-and-12, Suitt connected with Rose for a 33-yard touchdown.
Ironically, the Granbury defense played its best when it would seem they might be tiring. After South Hills had gone on a scoring drive of nearly seven and half minutes, Allen’s long scoring run allowed the Granbury offense to have the ball for only 15 seconds.
But the Pirates held the Scorpions and took over on downs, then forced a punt before halftime. In the second half, they got the ball on downs twice and forced three punts before South Hills’ late surge.
“I think that’s a credit to the shape the defense is in and how the coaches have gotten them ready,” said Pugh.
“They were in a tough spot, and they played great.”
South Hills converted its first six third downs, but was held to just two of its next eight and finished 0-for-4 on fourth down tries.
The Pirates entered the game allowing opponents just three conversions on 31 third-down attempts.
Meanwhile, the Pirates, who have been strong on third down all season, converted half of their attempts (6-for-12), improving them to 18-for-45 on the season (40 percent).
Also, after South Hills dominated the time of possession in the first half, the Pirates did the same in the second. Granbury finished with a 36-second advantage.
Pugh also praised his team for finding a way to win despite turning the ball over twice, getting no takeaways, and failing to score twice very deep in South Hills territory. They fumbled at the South Hills 13 and the clock ran out with them on the 5 at the end of the first half.
“That just shows the progress this program has made,” said Pugh.
HOMECOMING THIS WEEK
The Pirates are playing at home for the first time since Sept. 6, and Pugh said the team is ready and anxious.
“Without a doubt. Any time you can play at home, you’re excited about that,” he said. “It’ll be nice to play on our own field again.”
And that field will be the new synthetic turf installed this season.
The Pirates will be hosting O.D. Wyatt (1-3). The Chaparrals were a playoff team last season, but have fallen on hard times.
Wyatt has been outscored 166-65 and is coming off a 46-20 loss to Southwest.
The Chaps will bring to town one of the top runners in the district in Javorte Adams. He’s rushed 629 yards and has accounted for over half of his team’s total offense.
Granbury has consistently performed well in homecoming games, even in the team’s lean years. The Pirates have won each of their past three, including last season’s 56-18 win over Trimble Tech.
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Pirates 24, Scorpions 21
Granbury 10 7 7 0 – 24
South Hills 7 7 0 7 – 21
G – Malik Allen 9 run (Jacob Rose kick)
SH – Treylon LaSalle 27 pass from Tracin Wallace (Kevin Rodas kick)
G – Rose 43 FG
SH – Wallace 15 run (Rodas kick)
G – Allen 74 run (Rose kick)
G – Rose 33 pass from Ryan Suitt (Rose kick)
SH – LaSalle 32 pass from Wallace (Rodas kick)
First downs 18 18
Rushes-yards 31-145 26-121
Passing yards 290 265
Passes 18-29-1 25-38-0
Punts-avg. 3-35.3 4-32.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-40 7-62
Granbury – Malik Allen 14-118, Ryan Suitt 12-21, Brenden King 1-11, Peyton Gilmore 4-(-5).
South Hills – Tracin Wallace 7-47, Mitchell Bailey 12-47, Antwan Roberson 6-26, Tylan Wallace 1-1.
Granbury – Suitt 18-29-1, 290 yards.
South Hills – Wallace 25-38-0, 265 yards.
Granbury – Nick Doughty 7-138, Skylar Baskin 5-55, Thomas Weaver 3-50, Jacob Rose 1-33, Malik Allen 1-9, Austin Stufflebean 1-5.
South Hills – LaSalle 10-132, Ty Wallace 7-84, Roberson 6-38, Joseph Smith 2-17.
Sam Allen 11, Landon Gray 11, Cole Davis 8.
Evan Sledge 1, Tristen Gilmore 1.
Granbury 6-12, South Hills 8-14.
Granbury 1-1, South Hills 0-4.