Having already secured a playoff spot, Azle’s next goal was to win the district title in 3-5A Division I.
There’s no better way to do that than on senior night.
The Hornets (8-1, 7-0) snapped a three-year losing streak to Brewer, 24-17, Friday to clinch their first district championship since 2014 and the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs.
“It’s unbelievably special,” Azle coach Devon Dorris said. “I’m so proud of these kids.”
Brewer had one final opportunity to tie the game with 33 seconds left, but senior Grayson Burgess sealed it with his first interception of the season.
“Two weeks ago I dropped a pick and everyone started calling me butterfingers,” Burgess said. “So I had to redeem myself. I made sure I was in bounds and I couldn’t ask for a better ending.
“We set a goal to be undefeated at home. We’re in playoffs now and hope we get a shot at a home game in the playoffs – feels great.”
Leading 17-3 at the break, Azle’s offense slipped in the second half with three fumbles. But the Hornets still got out to a 24-10 advantage when Drey Owen hit Dave Johnson for an 8-yard TD with 9:13 to play.
The drive was set up when Brewer turned the ball over on downs and Billy Copeland picked up 38 yards that set up first-and-goal.
The Bears (4-4, 3-3) got within one-score when Bryce Ramsey caught a 7-yard TD pass from reigning quarterback of the week Adam Duncan with 3:34 left. The score capped off a 17-play and 75-yard drive for Brewer.
“It was a very emotional and very intense win,” senior Cody Akers, who finished with 78 yards of total offense.
Akers wore No. 25 in honor of Christian Morales, who was injured last week. He gave Azle a 7-0 lead on a reverse. He broke a tackle before scoring on a 29-yard touchdown run with 3:16 in the first quarter.
“I’m on the top of the world right now – it’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
The Bears only got a 23-yard field goal in the first half from Jorge Estrada early in the second quarter. Brewer’s first drive of the game lasted 10 plays, but the Bears turned it over on downs after Burgess stuffed a run play for a loss of 1.
Their fifth drive lasted 13 plays, but ended at the Azle 6. Brewer fumbled and Ricky Firman recovered. This came after Nicky Quevedo booted a 34-yard field goal to make it 17-3 with 7:07 in the second.
Payton Vaughn added a 2-yard TD run that put Azle in front 14-3 just five minutes earlier.
“The biggest difference this year is the kids’ commitment to each other,” Dorris said. “The way they play for each other and the way they have enthusiasm and energy every week.”
Akers had three catches for 49 yards while Owen passed for 118 and rushed for another 47.
Copeland led the attack with 95 yards on 10 carries.
Brewer was led by Justin Davis, who scored in the third to bring it to within 17-10. He finished with a team-high 52 yards rushing. Duncan threw for 168 yards while Carson Ingram threw for 146. Jahrad Taylor made 10 catches for 66 yards and Jordan Goss added eight for a season-high 127.
Azle, which has a bye in Week 11, finishes the season at Saginaw Nov. 2.
Brewer, which drops back a game for the final playoff spot, hosts Granbury.