HOUSTON — Life does sometimes imitate art.
Just ask Roshauud Paul.
The Bremond quarterback turned in a video game-style run in the second quarter, a 56-yarder that gave the Tigers a lead they never gave back, and they ran away to their second straight state championship with a 35-20 victory over Albany on Thursday at NRG Stadium.
“Last night we were playing Madden before curfew, and (Paul) does this crazy spin move,” Bremond wide receiver RayAndre Browning said. “It was some crazy fake stuff on the game, and then he does it out there on the field, and you’re just like, he’s fake, too. This guy is amazing. It’s amazing playing with this guy.”
Paul earned his second straight offensive MVP award with 185 yards and four touchdowns rushing and 164 yards through the air — 60 of which came on a deep ball to Browning for a touchdown that made it a 28-7 Bremond lead in the third quarter.
Browning caught nine passes for 157 yards, and Joe Williams picked off two Drew Neece passes for the second straight year to earn back-to-back defensive MVP honors.
Albany struck first, when Roman Fuentes caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Drew Neece with 8:24 to go in the first, and the Lion defense stuffed the Tigers throughout the first quarter.
But it was all Bremond for the next two quarters, including a 21-0 second after it made some adjustments.
“They switched their whole defensive front,” Bremond coach Jeff Kasowski said. “They switched to an odd front, and we’d been preparing for an even front, which is all they’ve shown all year long. We block odd fronts, but when you prepare your offense for an even front all week and get the odd, you have to adjust on the fly. It took us two or three series to start getting the right plays in the game for what they were trying to do, but we did and got going.”
Last year, the Tigers (16-0) stunned the Lions with 21 points in the last nine minutes after struggling through most of their championship showdown to escape with a 28-21 victory.
But Bremond spent most of the second half just trying to keep the clock moving and count down the minutes until it was time to pick up the trophy.
“The excitement last year at the end, you couldn’t set it up any better than to come back and win a game like that,” Kasowski said. “This year we felt like we should win the ballgame if we played well. They played the heck out of us, and we won.”
Albany (14-2) moved the ball throughout the game and actually outgained Bremond 463-458. But the Lions were 1-for-4 scoring in the red zone.
Neece threw for 256 yards and the first-quarter touchdown, and he also ran for 125 yards and two scores.
The first of those came with 9:19 to go, a 72-yard sprint straight up the middle to draw the Lions within 28-14, and they forced a three-and-out and drove all the way from their own 8 to the Bremond 15 with plenty of time left to make it a game.
Williams picked off Neece’s pass to the end zone, however, and Paul cashed in the turnover with a 16-yard TD run that put the game away with 2:43 remaining.
“It was just executing,” Paul said. “These guys being my teammates, I love these guys a lot. We do play as a unit and as a whole, and it helps us get the job done.”
Caleb Masters rushed for 82 yards and caught two passes for 116 yards for the Lions in the loss.
The Tigers also got off to a slow start last season before taking control. But they were more confident coming in this time and finished off a wire-to-wire run as the top-ranked 2A Division II team in the state.
“Once you win that first one, I compare it to singers and artists, that one-hit wonder. You win one, and you may never get heard of again,” Browning said. “But to win one and then win another one back-to-back. That’s something special. I’m glad I could be a part of this, because I am a senior, and put Bremond on the map for sure.”