FORT WORTH — The last time the Granbury Pirates lost a football game they responded with five consecutive victories.
“I’d love that very much if we could do that again,” said Granbury head coach Scotty Pugh following his young team’s 42-24 loss to speedy Fort Worth Southwest at Clark Stadium Friday.
The loss dropped the Pirates (5-2 overall) to 3-1 in District 7-4A. It ended their first five-game winning streak since 1981.
Southwest (6-1, 4-0), meanwhile, remained in a first-place tie with three-time defending state champion Aledo. Those two teams meet in Aledo Friday.
The Pirates now return home to face Trimble Tech (1-6, 0-4) in homecoming, a game that before last season, had not been kind to them for several years. Before defeating Joshua 45-21 a year ago, Granbury had lost six consecutive homecoming games.
A victory against Trimble Tech would go a long way in helping the Pirates reach the playoffs for a third consecutive year, something that hasn’t been done since the 1965-68 seasons.
“I told them soak it all in, it’s a fun week,” said Pugh. “But remember that we’ve got a huge game at the end of the week.
“I told them, ‘You still have control of your own destiny. Let’s not get in a situation where we have to rely on somebody else.”
The Pirates were in that situation in 2011 when they got to the postseason on the final night of the regular season thanks to Cleburne losing to Arlington Seguin.
Despite Friday’s loss, Pugh said he saw some things that make him confident these Pirates are a team worthy of returning to the playoffs.
Among them was the performance of sophomore quarterback Ryan Suitt. He was 28-for-42 for 341 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“I think he grew up in the second half,” said Pugh. “It’s hard when you’re behind like that.
“The linemen gave him ample time, especially with as many people as they (Southwest) were bringing.”
Suitt said he felt the intense pressure of the speedy Raiders, but he was only sacked once.
“They were bringing more people than we could block,” he said.
Ironically, Suitt did not start the game. The Pirates instead went with the more run-oriented Brandon Fichter, who gave them an early 7-0 lead with a 1-yard touchdown late in the first quarter after Caleb Bendewald’s interception at the Southwest 26.
By the end of the quarter, however, it became apparent that the Pirates would need to go to the air more to try and keep pace with the high-powered offense of the Raiders.
Suitt spread his completions to six receivers. Justice Love caught eight for 101 yards and Nick Doughty hauled in eight for 75 yards.
“We had receivers doing what they needed to do,” said Suitt.
It kept the Pirates in the contest for the better part of three quarters. When Pirate Jacob Rose kicked a 24-yard field goal with 2:18 left in the third, Granbury trailed just 21-17.
The Raiders, however, answered with three touchdowns in five minutes. They were helped by an interception, a 10-yard punt and a 25-yard return of an onside kick.
The overwhelming Southwest offense features wide receiver Robbie Rhodes, rated among the top 50 players in the nation. For most of the first half the Pirates kept him bottled up, but he scored on a 54-yard pass from quarterback Justice Adams-Jones late in the first half to put the Raiders ahead for good, 21-14.
Adams-Jones was starting in place of the injured Wesley Harris. He gave way to Rhodes for part of the second half, and Rhodes rushed for two touchdowns.
Rhodes also had an interception seconds after his long touchdown reception.
Rhodes, however, was only a complement to the running of Jameion Williams, who rushed for 281 yards and three TDs, including a 90-yarder.
After Southwest scored twice to go up 13-7, Granbury went back ahead 14-13 after a screen pass from Suitt to Love went 40 yards for a TD. It capped an 80-yard drive that came after Granbury recovered a fumble at the Pirate 20.
Adams-Jones credited his team for being ready for the Granbury defense, which came in as one of the top scoring defenses in the Metroplex.
“They had a great defense, but we have a great offense,” he said.
In Tech, the Pirates will face a team that has had trouble holding onto the football. The Bulldogs have given up 13 interceptions and eight fumbles.
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Raiders 42, Pirates 24
Granbury 7 7 3 7 — 24
Southwest 7 14 6 15 — 42
G – Brandon Fichter 1 run (Jacob Rose kick)
SW – Jameion Williams 13 run (Rhys Ewing kick)
SW – Williams 90 run (kick failed)
G – Justice Love 40 pass from Ryan Suitt (Rose kick)
SW – Robbie Rhodes 54 pass from Justice Adams-Jones (Rhodes pass from Adams-Jones)
G – Rose 24 FG
SW – Rhodes 16 run (kick failed)
SW – Williams 47 run (Adams-Jones run)
SW – Rhodes 8 run (Ewing kick)
G – Daniel Arnett 8 pass from Suitt (Rose kick)
First downs 22 19
Rushes-yards 28-68 38-424
Passing yards 375 57
Att-comp-int. 31-47-2 4-12-1
Punts-avg. 5-29.6 2-25.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-yards 6-60 10-66
Granbury – Brandon Fichter 12-35, Justice Love 9-24, Ryan Suitt 6-20, team 1-(-11).
Southwest – Jameion Williams 19-281, Justice Adams-Jones 13-87, Robbie Rhodes 5-43, Willie Robinson 1-13.
Granbury – Suitt 28-42-2, 342 yards; Fichter 3-5-0, 33 yards.
Southwest – Adams-Jones 4-11-1, 57 yards; Rhodes 0-1-0, 0 yards.
Granbury – Love 8-101, Skylar Baskin 6-95, Nick Doughty 8-75, Fichter 3-56, Daniel Arnett 5-39, Chris Richardson 1-9.
Southwest – Rhodes 3-54, Jordan Trim 1-3.
Granbury tackles – Nathan Urbanovsky 8, Caleb Bendewald 7, Tristen Gilmore 7, Zach Scott 6.
Granbury interceptions – Bendewald 1.
Granbury fumble recoveries – Jacob Rose, Kevin Hennard.
How the Granbury Pirates have fared over their past 10 homecomings:
2002 – Granbury 28, Joshua 0
2003 – Granbury 28, Brewer 27
2004 – Granbury 37, North Crowley 34
2005 – Weatherford 56, Granbury 23
2006 – Burleson 43, Granbury 22
2007 – North Crowley 37, Granbury 0
2008 – Joshua 35, Granbury 7
2009 – Crowley 8, Granbury 0
2010 — Crowley 33, Granbury 31
2011 — Granbury 45, Joshua 21