Brown turns in career-best performance, leads Paetow past Foster

Brown turns in career-best performance, leads Paetow past Foster (Copyright (c) 2021 VYPE - All rights reserved)

ROSENBERG — Paetow senior running back Jacob Brown produced a spectacular, career-highlighting performance Friday evening, rushing for 282 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in leading the Panthers to a demonstrative 30-14 win over Richmond Foster at Traylor Stadium to open District 10-5A, Division I play.

The stirring play of the 6-foot, 200-pound Brown, who had touchdown runs of 2, 74, 2, and 89 yards, respectively, may have left many Foster supporters in awe. Heck, maybe even his own team's fans.

But it was no surprise to Paetow coach B.J. Gotte.

"The kid busted his tail all offseason," Gotte said. "He busted his tail all summer. He's had his best offseason and best summer since he's been here, and he's seeing the results."

It was no shock to Brown, either.

"I haven't had a game like this, to be honest," Brown said. "But I'm real confident because of the work I've put in. It continues to pay off and I'm excited about the rest of the season."

Brown had a slow start to the game, rushing for 23 yards on his first six carries. But then came the bursts. Seventy-four-yard touchdown. Sixty-yard run that set up another touchdown, his third. An 89-yard dazzler that put the game away in the second half following senior defensive back Kentrell Webb's clutch interception of Foster quarterback JT Fayard at the Paetow 1-yard line that took all the wind out of Foster's momentum.

"He's such a great kid, such a hard worker, and he's taking advantage of the opportunities from our offensive linemen working together," Gotte said of Brown, who has 653 yards and eight touchdowns in three games this season. "He's running with confidence, and that comes with investing in the summer, being around those linemen and having a good understanding of our offense."

Brown said his night was simply a product of what was practiced all week.

"There were a couple of plays that we had a feeling were going to work, so I read my keys and my linemen really did all the work," said Brown, who delights in the physicality of the runs for 5, 4, 2 and 4 yards just as much as he does the spectacle of his long runs.

Brown has waited and been patient. He had previously been an understudy. But instead of moping, complaining, and sulking, he watched, learned and listened from those ahead of him on the depth chart.

"It's about where I'm at mentally," Brown said. "I had a good couple of years to watch and learn from our top running backs like (Jonathan) Jolly and Damon (Bankston), and those guys really paved the way for me. Now it's my turn."

And it looks to be Paetow's turn as well in District 10-5A, Division I.

The win over perennial regional power Foster was an eye-opener. The Falcons (1-2, 0-1 district) are one of the teams the Panthers chase in pursuit of a district title, along with Manvel and Hightower.

On Friday, Paetow (3-0, 1-0) got an early leg up.

"Going into their place, first district ballgame, I told the kids all week it's going to be a war," Gotte said. "It ended up that way. First half, we came out and played clean. Did some really good things. The second half, we weren't as clean, but we won't ever apologize for winning a game. Enjoy the win.

"The positive in it is we're not even playing our best football. We've got to go back to work and get better."

Paetow compiled 469 total yards (350 on the ground) and held Foster to 190 total yards.

Gotte said he was pleased with how his defense fit the run, stayed on top of routes, and prevented big plays from a potent Foster passing attack (the Falcons had just three passing plays of more than 2o yards). Offensively, he liked how the Panthers limited pre-snap penalties (one) compared to previous games.

"It's a big boost for us, as far as showing we've come a long way from last year," Brown said. "It feels good."