Brazeal, Lions striving for another deep 2A run

by Levi Gilbert

The England Lions are on quite the run. Since last season, the Lions are 18-1, with the only loss coming last fall in the 2A state semi-finals. Brayden Brazeal has been at the helm of the England offense during the entire unprecedented run of success.

Brazeal, a senior quarterback for the Lions, was selected to this year’s 501 Football Team — 26 players representing all 11 counties of the 501. The team, sponsored by First Security Bank and First Service Bank, boasts the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Brazeal was nominated by his head coach, Terry Farmer.

“Brayden is a field general,” Farmer wrote in his nomination. “He sees the field exceptionally well. He is also a vocal leader for his teammates. He keeps everyone focused and into the game.”

Brazeal completed more than 65 percent of his passes for 2,800 yards and 42 touchdowns in 2015. He also rushed for more than 300 yards and five scores. Through half of the regular season this year, Brazeal’s numbers have been just as compelling as a year ago.

In 2016, Brazeal has completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,218 yards, 15 touchdowns and just one interception. He’s also rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns.

“I’ve had some pretty good games so far, but without my team, I wouldn’t be anything,” Brazeal said. “Personally, I would like to achieve all-state again and possibly be 2A player of the year if everything goes great for the remainder of the season. As a team, we want to win conference again and win a state championship.”

After going undefeated in the regular season in 2015 and storming all the way to the 2A semi-finals, the Lions played a tough non-conference schedule this fall to challenge themselves and prepare for another 5-2A campaign and deep playoff run. England played up in classification in each of its non-conference games.

The Lions opened the season with a win over Class 4A Hamburg, 42-28. In Week 2, England traveled to Class 3A Junction City, earning a tough road win, 31-26. The Lions closed the non-conference schedule with a 63-0 rout of Episcopal.

In their first two 5-2A games, the Lions have recorded two shutouts, averaging 58 points in the two matches. A Week 6 victory won’t come as easily for the No. 1 ranked Lions as they travel to Conway Christian. The Eagles also made it to the 2A semi-finals in 2015. Conway Christian is reeling off a tough loss at Hector in Week 5.

“Conway Christian is a very good team with some dangerous weapons on offense,” Brazeal said. “We have to stop the pass. Offensively, we have to be able to run the ball effectively early so we can open up the pass against them.”

Brazeal is a multi-sport athlete for England; he also plays basketball, baseball and track. Off the field, Brazeal is involved in Beta Club and Renaissance Club. He also volunteers at the elementary school. In his down time, Brazeal can be found outdoors, hunting and fishing.

“I expect Brayden to earn a college football scholarship, be one of the top players in the state and set an example for younger players to strive for,” Farmer said.

England (5-0, 2-0) travels to Conway Christian (4-1, 1-1) this Friday.