Gatesville football

Brownwood receiver Cory Richardson is sandwiched by Gatesville defenders Jacob Teed (2) and Nick Gibson (28) during the Hornet’s season-opening 35-0 loss.

Derrick Stuckly, Brownwood Bulletin

Coming off a 2013 campaign in which Brownwood allowed 42 points and 475 yards per game, and playing through a pair of scrimmages with a number of starters missing time because of injuries, no one was quite sure what to expect from the Lions’ defense in Friday night’s season opener.

What the Lions delivered was the program’s first shutout since 2009, and its first season-opening victory since 2011 with a 35-0 win over the Gatesville Hornets, a former district rival, at Gordon Wood Stadium.

“When we go into games I’m thinking about us being in the right positions, lining up right and pitching shutouts,” said Lions’ second-year head coach Chuck Howard, who was defensive coordinator of the 2009 Brownwood team that blanked Sweetwater, 42-0.

“You have to play great defense if you’re going to win championships, so I’m very pleased.”

The Lions, who finished last season at 4-7 and exited in the first round of the playoffs, surrendered just 273 yards of total offense — 161 on the ground and 112 through the air — and gave up a mere 125 yards during the first two periods.

Brownwood also created five turnovers — interceptions by Tristan Duque, Aaron Jimenez and Connor Howard and fumble recoveries by Dalton Simmons and Grant Lewis.

The Lions also recorded five takeaways against Gatesville a year ago in a district contest.

Only four Gatesville plays in the first half covered more than 10 yards, with a long gain of 21.

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