IOWA PARK – Baron Brown felt like he set the tone for the East All-Stars on Friday night.
Chosen to represent his team in a shootout during halftime of the Oil Bowl boys basketball all-star game at Rider Fieldhouse, Brown, a recent Henrietta graduate, was challenged to make a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot before Holliday’s Austin Jones, representing the West All-Stars, could complete the same feat.
While he fell behind early, Brown rallied and eventually found nothing but net on a half-court attempt. The shot gave the East the designation as home team for Saturday’s Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl Football Classic.
And while that may seem like a trivial detail to some, the energy that shot produced among Brown and his teammates carried over to Hawk Stadium where the East rolled to a 42-14 victory in the 85th Oil Bowl.
“That fired us up,” Brown said. “It really did get us going.”
It was Brown who got the East going in the first quarter Saturday.
Taking the handoff from Henrietta teammate and quarterback Braden Bell on a jet sweep, Brown threw a dart while on the run to Whitesboro receiver Jake Hermes. The trick play resulted in a 77-yard touchdown, igniting the East offense.
“All I was thinking when I threw it was ‘Don’t drop it, Jake. Don’t drop it,’” Brown said. “I knew it was a good throw. We ran it during practice, and it worked great. I knew we were going to run it, but we did it a little sooner than I thought. But it worked.”
The East led 28-0 by halftime, giving it more than enough cushion en route to a convincing victory.
Brown finished with three receptions for 35 yards, an interception on defense and that 77-year touchdown throw.
Bell started at quarterback for the East, 10 of 16 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a 1-yard TD, while splitting snaps with Benbrook’s Major Youngblood (7 of 12, 68 yards, two TDs).
Bell and Brown were a lethal combination for Henrietta last season, connecting 60 times for 1,280 yards and 13 TDs. Both were named to the Red River 22 small-school football team.
“We had a great time all week, practicing, hanging out in the dorms then coming out here and winning a football game,” said Brown, who plans to be a walk-on for the Texas State football team.
“This was great,” Bell added. “He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever been around. It was great throwing to him again.”
Brown wasn’t the only receiver Bell found a connection with this week. Hermes had perhaps the most impressive offensive performance of the game, catching five passes for 146 yards and two TDs. While Bell didn’t throw Hermes either of his two scores, he did find the Whitesboro grad for a long throw that set up Bell’s 1-yard TD plunge in the first quarter.
“He’s a big, athletic target just like Baron,” Bell said. “I had two guys like that to throw to tonight. That was amazing.”
And it didn’t hurt to have their high school head coach, Michael Johnson, on the sidelines.
“That’s just another great opportunity for us,” Bell said. “One last time with our coach.”
The West never got closer than 21 points in the second half, getting short TD runs form Windthorst running back Haven Vieth and Sanger quarterback Rylan Smart. Vieth finished with 100 rushing yards on 24 carries. Archer City’s Ty Bates was the East’s leading receiver with 34 yards on four receptions.
City View’s Jourdain Durham had a 4-yard TD run late in the second quarter, pushing the East’s lead to 28-0, while also playing stalwart defense at linebacker like he did for four years with the Mustangs. Wichita Falls High receiver DaJuan Pando caught four passes for 35 yards.
But the night belonged to Henrietta’s “Killer B’s.” And it’s a night Brown and Bell will never forget.
OIL BOWL FOOTBALL CLASSIC
East 42, West 14
East 14 14 0 14 -42
West 0 0 7 7 -14
E – Jake Hermes 77 pass from Baron Brown (Quade West kick), 9:17
E – Braden Bell 1 run (West kick), 4:16
E – Hermes 12 pass from Major Youngblood (West kick), 4:54
E – Jourdain Durham 4 run (West kick), 2:31
W – Haven Vieth 1 run (Sadler Germany kick), 4:43
E – Nathaniel Sessions Jr. 17 pass from Youngblood (Baron Brown kick), 11:57
W – Rylan Smart 3 run (Germany kick), 6:11
E – Jayce Sanders 23 pass from Bell (Brown kick), 3:50
First downs: (E) 20; (W) 15
Rushing: (E) 35-71; (W) 41-146
Passing: (E) 18-29-0—305; (W) 12-24-1—82
Punts: (E) 6-32.5; (W) 7-34
Fumbles: (E) 1-0; (W) 0-0
Penalties: (E) 6-47; (W) 8-71
RUSHING – (East) Kamerin Ferguson 9-32, Jourdain Durham 7-24, Major Youngblood 5-17, Braden Bell 8-7, Jacob Holder 2-7, Team 4-(-16). (West) Haven Vieth 24-100, Tristan Gray 7-35, Rylan Smart 10-11.
PASSING – (East) Bell 10-16-0—160, Baron Brown 1-1-0—77, Youngblood 7-12-0—68. (West) Smart 12-24-1—82.
RECEIVING – (East) Jake Hermes 5-146, Holder 1-39, DaJuan Pando 4-35, Brown 3-35, Jayce Sanders 1-23, Nathaniel Session Jr. 1-17, Zane O’Donnell 2-10. (West) Ty Bates 4-34, Zane Hackley 3-25, Mason Cravens 1-12, John Machtolff 2-8, Gray 1-2, Ethan Faulkner 1-1.