BROWNWOOD — There was no disappointment.
Playing in its final state qualifying tournament of the summer, Lampasas traveled to Brownwood on Saturday and put together an impressive showing.
The Badgers swept through their pool, winning three games by a combined 51 points, and were on the verge of earning the program’s first state berth after rallying from a 14-0 deficit to take a two-point lead against Stephenville late in a semifinal contest.
With time dwindling, however, the Yellow Jackets scored to secure a 58-54 victory, but Lampasas experienced no disappointment.
“It was a goal to go to state,” Badgers senior Cameron Everts said, “because we are all competitors and trying to be the best at what we do, but our focus is on the season.
“We’re getting prepared to go compete in the sport we love.”
Everts recorded six touchdowns, including the go-ahead score, against Stephenville as Lampasas almost made history, but like his standout receiver, Badgers head coach Troy Rogers admits advancing to state in the fall — not the summer — is the true priority.
“We always play to win in everything we do,” he said, “so it would have been nice to reach state, and it would have been a great experience for the kids, but every time we play 7-on-7, it’s practice for the season.
“By winning our pool, we got an extra game of practice, and that’s important.”
Lampasas opened the day by defeating Sweetwater 49-26 before being forced to hold off Glen Rose in the following contest. After taking a 21-7 lead into halftime, the Badgers found themselves in a 28-28 tie.
But moments after the Tigers evened the score, Brenton Webb caught a touchdown from Ace Whitehead, and it made the difference as Lampasas won 35-28.
Then, the Badgers concluded pool play by building a 27-20 advantage against Tuscola Jim Ned before shutting out the Indians in the second half en route to a 41-20 victory.
“I thought it was a really productive day,” Whitehead said. “We played some of the best 7-on-7 we’ve played in a long time, maybe ever.
“But nobody wins a football state championship in the summer playing 7-on-7.”
Now, with its hopes of advancing to College Station for the upcoming 7-on-7 championships officially dashed, Lampasas turns its attention completely toward the season opener against Joshua on Aug. 30.
And the Badgers intend to use the remainder of their 7-on-7 season to prepare.
“We just have to keep working our stuff and getting more and more familiar with it,” Whitehead said. “We need to be crisp for the fall.”
Lampasas will continue traveling to Georgetown for league play each of the next three Mondays with the intention of becoming more cohesive both offensively and defensively, but the benefits extend beyond the playbook, according to Rogers.
“Since we can’t coach them in 7-on-7,” he said, “you get to see guys really step up and lead. You see how they communicate with each other, and that is a big deal, because that’s where teams jell.
“You build that family bond during the summer.”
HORNETS GO 1-2
Gatesville saw its hopes of returning to state for a second time in three years come to a close after winning one of three games.
The Hornets started strong, climbing out of a 13-7 halftime deficit against Burnet in their pool-play opener to win 29-26 as Wesley Brown and Carson Brizendine combined for a pair of touchdowns in the victory.
But Gatesville could not maintain the momentum.
Lubbock Christian defeated the Hornets 20-7, and the host Lions ended Gatesville’s day with a 33-18 win to conclude pool play.