Rivalry games can often provide the highest of highs and lowest of lows in terms of emotion. For a former Brownwood all-state quarterback, he experienced both in a mere 12-month span during the “Battle of 377.”

Graylon Brown set the single-season passing record for the Brownwood Lions in 2010, completing 251 of 374 passes for 4,036 yards with 47 touchdowns and six interceptions en route to earning Associated Press Class 4A First-Team All-State Honors. He also rushed for 678 yards and 11 touchdowns.

A season earlier, when Brown left Tarleton Memorial Stadium following the Stephenville Yellow Jackets victory over Brownwood, he wasn’t sure what the future held for him athletically.

Brown was the junior quarterback for the Lions during the 2009 campaign, their first under head coach Bob Shipley. Coming off season-opening wins over Burnet (27-24) and La Vega (24-7), the Lions were ready to give Stephenville their best shot.

Mother Nature had other ideas, however, as the game was delayed due to lightning and heavy rain fell throughout the contest, as Brown recalled.

“We had a rain delay, I remember that, and we had to sit for a while,” he said. “It was really wet and rainy and neither team could throw the football very well because it was soaked.”

The Lions trailed 14-0 at halftime and had struggled to get anything established offensively in the first half. But the night went from bad to worse early in the third period.

“We came out the second half and I was sitting in the pocket and I remember I was waiting on one of the receivers to clear the linebackers,” Brown said. “A guy came in crawling and hit me, and I spun around. When I got up I told Stehl Ratliff that my leg felt weird. He asked if I was all right and I said ‘No, I’m going to sit out a play.’”

Brown never returned to the field in 2009.

“I looked over to Coach Shipley and started to hobble and it felt really weird, so I tried to hop it off,” Brown said.”When I sat down they told me I couldn’t return to the game. We thought at the time that everything in my knee was torn, when actually nothing was torn, it was just a broken leg. And thank God for that, because that’s much better than having some tears.”

The Lions went on to fall to Stephenville by a 35-0 count on Sept. 11, 2009.

Without their starting quarterback, the Lions responded with eight victories over the next nine games to reach the third round of the playoffs before falling to Wimberley, 24-17.

Though Brown had to watch from the sideline, helping the other quarterbacks throughout the remainder of the season went a long way toward his development as a team leader during his senior year.

“I had to be a real mentor that year,” Brown said. “Mitch Stephens came in and I had to teach and tell him some things about what to do and what not to do. Mitch ended up getting hurt and then Vance McShan went in so I tried to settle him down because he was nervous about it having never played quarterback. It turned out to be a learning year for me, and I feel like I learned how to be a role model while not playing.”

With a clean bill of health, and Brownwood sporting the No. 1 state ranking in Class 3A, Brown returned to action the following year. This time having defeated Gatesville (56-19) and Graham (37-7) for a 2-0 start, Class 4A Stephenville invaded Gordon Wood Stadium on Sept. 10, 2010 in what was anticipated to be the Lions’ greatest challenge of the regular season.

“The crowd was wild, it was very intense and the chills you get thinking about it,” Brown said. “Everybody came back because we were ranked No. 1 in 3A and Stephenville was a powerhouse in 4A. It was a fun time.

“We weren’t trying to get back at Stephenville or anything, but I told all my teammates that this was a game I was really looking forward to since I got hurt against them the year before. I told them “I’m gonna go off this game.”

And Brown did just that.

He completed 20 of 33 passes for 327 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 37 yards on the ground. Clinging to a 14-10 halftime lead, Brownwood dominated the second half, building a 28-16 advantage through three periods and scoring three additional touchdowns in the fourth en route to a 49-16 victory — the first over Stephenville since 2003.

Brown connected on scoring tosses of 26 yards to McShan, 51 yards to Derek Longoria and 3, 6, 4, and 7 yards to Jaxon Shipley.

The Lions kept their unblemished record intact until the state semifinals, where Carthage denied Brownwood its first state championship appearance since wining its seventh title in 1981.

Though the Lions didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of the school’s eighth state championship, the memories and bond between the members of the 2010 squad are as strong today as ever.

“It means a lot, we were all so close,” Brown said in regard to the 2010 Lions shattering virtually every single-season offensive record in program history. “When me and Shipley go out and do the camps we tell the kids that coaches can only make you so good. After that, you have to work on your own and trust you buddies. Once you get that camaraderie, everything starts to work. Once everybody knows their role, and they do their role right, everything seems to click. We’re still all real close after high school and college and when you think back it gives me chills. Even though we didn’t win state, I can guarantee you we were one of the best teams in the state.”

And Brown’s thoughts on Stephenville almost a decade after last setting foot on the field against the Yellow Jackets?

“There’s nothing personal against Stephenville, we just don’t like them. Do I know why? No,” Brown said with a laugh. “There’s no sport other than football that I feel that rivalry with them. Not so much when we’re playing them in baseball or basketball, but when it’s football it’s a different mindset and a different atmosphere. The attitude of the fans seems different, the speed of the game seems different, it just seems like there’s a lot more on the table.”

•••

History of the Battle of 377

 

Series Record

Brownwood 46 wins, Stephenville 29 wins,

2 ties

 

First Meeting

1937 — Stephenville 7, Brownwood 0

 

First Brownwood Victory

1939 — Brownwood 27, Stephenville 0

 

Longest Win Streaks

Brownwood, 22 — 1964-1987 (did not play in

1965, 1967)

Stephenville, 4 — 1948-51, 1999-2002, 2004-

2007

 

Combined State Championships: 12

Brownwood 7: 1960, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970,

1978, 1981

Stephenville 5: 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2012

 

Battle of 377 All-Time Results

1937: Stephenville 7, Brownwood 0

1938: Brownwood 0, Stephenville 0 (tie)

1939: Brownwood 27, Stephenville 0

1940: Stephenville 19, Brownwood 6

1941: Brownwood 20, Stephenville 13

1942: Stephenville 26, Brownwood 6

1943: Stephenville 27, Brownwood 6

1944: Brownwood 25, Stephenville 0

1945: Brownwood 27, Stephenville 14

1946: Brownwood 13, Stephenville 6

1947: Brownwood 6, Stephenville 0

1948: Stephenville 12, Brownwood 6

1949: Stephenville 33, Brownwood 12

1950: Stephenville 6, Brownwood 0

1951: Stephenville 33, Brownwood 14

1952: Brownwood 20, Stephenville 0

1953: Brownwood 45, Stephenville 12

1954: Brownwood 13, Stephenville 0

1955: Brownwood 47, Stephenville 0

1956: Stephenville 12, Brownwood 7

1957: Stephenville 26, Brownwood 6

1958: Brownwood 56, Stephenville 6

1959: Brownwood 56, Stephenville 0

1960: Brownwood 22, Stephenville 0

1961: Brownwood 39, Stephenville 0

1962: Brownwood 47, Stephenville 0

1963: Stephenville 12, Brownwood 6

1964: Brownwood 34, Stephenville 0

1965: Did not play

1966: Brownwood 27, Stephenville 0

1967: Did not play

1968: Brownwood 48, Stephenville 7

1969: Brownwood 13, Stephenville 6

1970: Brownwood 55, Stephenville 7

1971: Brownwood 48, Stephenville 7

1972: Brownwood 35, Stephenville 6

1973: Brownwood 48, Stephenville 0

1974: Brownwood 35, Stephenville 0

1975: Brownwood 28, Stephenville 12

1976: Brownwood 35, Stephenville 6

1977: Brownwood 38, Stephenville 7

1978: Brownwood 35, Stephenville 0

1979: Brownwood 38, Stephenville 0

1980: Brownwood 34, Stephenville 7

1981: Brownwood 36, Stephenville 0

1982: Brownwood 41, Stephenville 0

1983: Brownwood 36, Stephenville 0

1984: Brownwood 30, Stephenville 6

1985: Brownwood 14, Stephenville 12

1986: Brownwood 19, Stephenville 7

1987: Brownwood 62, Stephenville 0

1988: Brownwood 7, Stephenville 7 (tie)

1989: Brownwood 63, Stephenville 21

1990: Stephenville 42, Brownwood 24

1991: Stephenville 13, Brownwood 9

1992: Brownwood 21, Stephenville 0

1993: Stephenville 30, Brownwood 7

1994: Stephenville 42, Brownwood 6

1995: Stephenville 50, Brownwood 9

1996: Brownwood 42, Stephenville 39

1997: Stephenville 31, Brownwood 21

1998: Brownwood 40, Stephenville 35

1999: Stephenville 28, Brownwood 14

2000: Stephenville 27, Brownwood 13

2001: Stephenville 17, Brownwood 7

2002: Stephenville 24, Brownwood 21

2003: Brownwood 28, Stephenville 21

2004: Stephenville 52, Brownwood 38

2005: Stephenville 49, Brownwood 10

2006: Did not play

2007: Did not play

2008: Stephenville 31, Brownwood 28

2009: Stephenville 35, Brownwood 0

2010: Brownwood 49, Stephenville 16

2011: Stephenville 66, Brownwood 0

2012: Did not play

2013: Stephenville 48, Brownwood 10

(playoffs)

2014: Stephenville 40, Brownwood 21

2015: Brownwood 33, Stephenville 6

2016: Brownwood 27, Stephenville 13

2017: Stephenville 28, Brownwood 21