Brahmas keep winning streak over Shiner alive
By Jeremy Shapiro, Special to the Advocate
Sept. 8, 2017 at 10:07 p.m.
Updated Sept. 8, 2017 at 11:47 p.m.
SHINER – Hallettsville junior wide receiver Jackson Taylor was reminded Friday of the times he, his brother and his father would go out and toss the football around the backyard.
Except this time the setting was Comanche Stadium under the Friday Night Lights. Jackson completed seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns from his other brother, DJ, as the Brahmas routed Shiner 49-12. It was the fourth straight win in the series for Hallettsville.
“It’s a dream come true to catch passes from my brother,” Jackson said.
The big-play Brahmas – ranked 4th in 3A – scored eight touchdowns Friday. The average yards per touchdown was 40. The longest scoring play was a 74-yard pass from DJ Taylor to Scooter Adams. Taylor also connected with Lane Linhart on a 69-yard strike. Linhart caught the ball at midfield and was untouched on his way to the end zone.
“We expect great things from our quarterback and receiving core,” Hallettsville coach Tommy Psencik said. “Most of our skill players are back. DJ has good chemistry with his receivers. They all hang out and work out together.”
DJ Taylor completed 83 percent of his passes and had more than 300 yards through the air. Six different receivers caught balls as Hallettsville (1-0) had an opportunity to delve into the depth chart in the second half.
“I lot of people contributed and played roles tonight,” Psencik said. “We are trying to gain depth, so it’s very important to us.”
Class 3A No. 11 Shiner was coming off an 8-4 season, but the Comanches were tasked with replacing virtually its entire starting offense. That didn’t seem to be a problem on the first drives of each half.
The Comanches (0-1) opened the game with a 71-yard scoring drive, all on runs. Collin Bujnoch scored from four yards out on a pitch play. Shiner sophomore Danyai Taylor charged forward on a 29-yard touchdown run with 7:43 left in the third quarter. That brought the score to 25-12 and brought life to the home crowd.
“We have total respect for Shiner,” Psencik said. “They are a scrappy team. We have similar communities and we respect their coaching staff and the type of program they run. We know they are young, but they showed they can do some great things.”
The Jackson brothers connected two minutes later on a 19-yard strike to up the lead to 31-12. Linehart’s long catch further expanded the lead, and Logan Holik cemented the win with a 32-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
The one sore spot for the Brahmas was penalties. Hallettsville had 15 of them. The only infraction against Shiner was for pass interference, but it was negated by an offside call on Hallettsville.
“I wasn’t pleased with amount of penalties, but I was pleased with the way we overcame adversity,” Psencik said. “It’s a starting point, and I’m hoping we continue to improve.”
Jacob Cowan and Donyai Taylor led Shiner with 44 yards rushing. In his first game as starting quarterback, Tyler Mikes rushed for 25 yards and was one of three on pass attempts.
The game was the first of the season for both teams after Hurricane Harvey wiped out the scheduled openers. Hallettsville players and their parents helped evacuees and participated in service projects.
“It’s what needed to happen,” Psencik said. “The human side of life came out. We didn’t suffer the devastation that other towns did, but I was proud the way the team reacted. It was time we needed to take off and serve people in other communities.”