Patriots open season with road victory at Hanceville

The Brewer Patriots opened the 2023 football season with a 23-7 victory on the road at Hanceville.

It was a tale of two halves for the Patriots as they struggled in the first half with turnovers that ended potential scoring drives.

Brewer jumped out to a 7-0 lead after a JJ Nicholson touchdown run. Hanceville came back to tie the game at 7-7 right before halftime when Marguies Leeth scored on a 7-yard run.

“We made some big plays in the first half but shot ourselves in the foot too many times with turnovers. We had opportunities to break the game open but failed to take care of the football,” coach Matt Plunkett said. “I expect to see improvement this next week in how we play 1st half football.”

The team responded after the halftime break with a dominating second half. The Patriots outscored the homesteading Bulldogs 16-0 to win 23-7.

CJ Watson and DJ Burney each had rushing touchdowns in the 4th quarter to help the Patriots seal the win. Dakota Crawford added a safety late in the game.

“Overall, I was proud of how the defense responded in 2nd half! We played much tougher,” Plunkett said. “We have lots to improve on this week with a big test on the road at Arab on Friday.”

Burney led the team with 59 yards rushing and a touchdown. Nicholson added 40 yards rushing and a score, while Watson had 37 yards rushing and a score.

Cason Oden finished 10-17 for 139 yards and two interceptions. Austyn Holmes had 102 yards receiving and added 29 yards rushing.

Brewer travels to Arab on Friday to renew their rivalry.