It was billed as District 20-3A’s best offense (Brownsboro) against the district’s best defense (Athens).

Defense, did, in fact, win the game. But it was the Bears who built the brick wall in the second half in taking down the Hornets, 27-21.

For the first time since Week 1, an opponent kept the Hornets — a strong second-half team — out of the end zone over the final two quarters. The Hornets hadn’t been held scoreless in the second half since Mabank did it in a 46-0 win on Sept. 4.

To quote Athens Head Coach Paul Essary earlier this week, Brownsboro’s not 7-1 (now 8-1) for nothing. This is the kind of performance you’d expect from a team that has lost only one game this season. It’s the kind of performance you’d expect from a team that has players on its roster that played in a regional championship game just four years ago at Texas Stadium.

Don’t read this wrong: it’s not a criticism of the Hornet offense. There’s no denying what Athens’ offensive unit has accomplished over the last five weeks. It’s more a testament to how well the Bear defensive unit played in the second half.

Consider this: at the end of the first quarter, Athens led, 7-0 (and would go up 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter). At that point, the Hornets had 156 yards of offense and 10 first downs.

The Bears, to that point, had 19 yards of offense and one first down.

But in the second half, the defense did what it needed to do — namely, keep the Hornets out of the end zone.

It should be noted, too, that with the Bear offense going on a number of long drives, Athens’ offense only got the ball three times in the second half. It was almost a mirror image of what the Hornet offense did to the Bears in the first half.

“We ran harder, way harder,” said Brownsboro senior Cameron Warren, who played at Texas Stadium four years ago. “Our coaches told us at halftime to stay confident, and that if we did we’d catch some breaks.

“And we did.”

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