COLLEGE STATION — Unable to keep a two-touchdown halftime lead, the Sweeny Bulldogs were held scoreless in the second half as they fell to Pleasant Grove, 41-28, in the second round of the Division II 7-on-7 Championship Bracket on Friday.
Facing overcast skies but humid conditions, the loss was especially tough for a Bulldog team that finished 3-1 in the tournament at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.
Three interceptions in a row also hurt Sweeny in the second half, especially once they fell behind.
“I just felt like once they got their momentum, our guys just started giving up and making mistakes and they weren’t communicating,” Sweeny coach Donovan Banks said.
Pleasant Grove came out right away in the second half and put a score on the board as quarterback Ben Harmon completed five of six passes with the final one going to Bruce Garrett to cut the lead to seven points, 28-21.
In Sweeny’s first second-half series, quarterback Trey Robbins found three different receivers right away — Trey Fields, Justice Clemons and Xavier Woods — to head down the field. But after an incomplete pass, Robbins tried threading a pass into a host of players and Pleasant Grove’s Nick Martin came up with the interception.
It took the Vikings two plays to pull within a point as Harmon found Sergio Rodriguez in the end zone to make it 28-27.
Sweeny drove back within 8 yards of the end zone, but once again, Robbins’ pass was tipped and Harmon picked it off.
“We were trying to calm them down because they were forcing too many things and you could tell that our team wanted it bad, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Banks said.
At times it looked like the Bulldogs were more lethargic than in the first half. It could have been that their 26-6 win against Burnet had taken something out of them.
“I was just trying to get short yardage and get closer to the end zone, but I just didn’t read the right plays and our guys were covered and it happens,” an emotional Robbins said.
Pleasant Grove capitalized again with Harmon finding Rodriguez in the end zone on a long throw beating Bulldog defenders Colon Amey and Justin Garner. The Vikings converted on the two-point conversion with Harmon getting the ball to Jackson Cobb for a 35-28 lead.
Another pass by Robbins on Sweeny’s next drive was tipped and Martin came up with the interception for the Vikings.
After a completion by Cobb, Harmon found Rodriguez in the end zone on his second throw with Caden Wilhelm and Amey trying to keep up with him for the final points of the game.
“I felt like our guys got tired a bit and their defense did improve as well in the second half,” Banks said. “I thought that there was a lot going through our guys heads, mainly that that team won state last year.”
Robbins came out sharp for the Bulldogs in the first half, going 3-for-3 on their initial drive finding Jayden Ward for the score. He also connected with Woods for the two-point conversion for an 8-0 advantage.
But the Vikings matched that score with Harmon hurling a shot to Cobb for six points. Harmon also converted on the two-point play to tie it up.
Sweeny then had its longest drive of the afternoon, using 11 plays with Robbins finding Woods in the end zone. The Bulldogs missed on the two-point conversion but still had the lead, 14-6.
A couple of Bulldog penalties helped the Vikings on their next drive with Harmon finding Logan Johnson in the end zone. The extra point was missed, but the score was tied at 14.
It took the Bulldogs one play to get the lead back when Robbins found Ward downfield. Robbins also connected with Woods for the two-point conversion to make it 22-14.
Sweeny made a bold defensive stand on the Vikings, using a couple of four-second calls on Harmon as they got the ball back with halftime getting close.
Robbins needed just one play as he found Clemons, who was double covered, in the end zone to take a 28-14 halftime lead.
“It was a team effort for everyone, but really I just kept making the wrong reads,” Robbins said. “I just made the wrong plays and their defense stepped up. It was a team effort and we lost as a team.”
Robbins finished 20-for-31 passing including 11-for-17 in the first half with four touchdowns.
Pleasant Grove ended up losing in the Division II championship game to Sunnyvale, 34-27.
SWEENY 26, BURNET 6: In a matchup of a couple of Bulldog mascots, Sweeny held its own to start Friday morning on a good note.
Playing tough on both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs took a 6-0 lead when Robbins hit Woods on a short pass up the middle in a crowded secondary to go up 6-0.
The Burnet Bulldogs came right back with a 10-play drive, but it was the work of Amey who came up with a defensive play on fourth down that stopped the drive just short of the end zone.
Robbins then capitalized, finding Ward down the right sideline to make it 12-0. On the two point conversion, Woods came up with the catch from Robbins, 14-0.
With a two-touchdown lead at halftime, the Bulldogs from Burnet pulled within eight points after coming out on their first drive and scoring, 14-6.
Robbins came right back, going 4-for-8 with Treylan Austin making an acrobatic catch in the end zone for a 20-6 advantage.
Sweeny put the game away on its next offensive series as Robbins found Clemons speeding down the left side of the field.
Clemons and Dylan White also came up with Sweeny interceptions on consecutive Burnet drives.
Robbins, finished 15-for-26 passing with four touchdowns.