BULLARD -- Brook Hill faced an interesting situation around 8 p.m. Saturday. It convinced St. John Paul II of Boca Raton, Florida, to fly in for a high-profile opening-week game, but a thunderstorm was not letting up well past an hour after first kick was scheduled.

You can't just chalk up a game to weather when the opponent flies more than 1,000 miles to make it happen. You can't let them only remember they had some nice dinners and participated in a banquet meant to build anticipation for kickoff.

For the Guard, it was worth the two-hour wait. The squad erased a two-point halftime deficit and defended the state's honor with a 48-27 victory in the Tyler Ford American Warrior Bowl game at their own Herrington Stadium in Bullard.

John Paul II enjoyed the non-district exhibition as well.

"I'm a brand new coach at this school and kind of got handed this situation," John Paul II coach Jeff Dellenbach said. "Probably not what a first-year coach would normally want to take on, but I came out a couple of weeks ago for the little press conference and got to meet everybody. They're wonderful people and it was a great situation.

"We were very fortunate to be able to come out here and experience it. We're trying to come together as a team, trying to grow a little bit and get some leadership. We had a lot of time together. These kids are taking big steps in the right direction. A long way to go yet, but they're working hard and having fun doing it."

Guard safety Alec Kitt returns St. John Paul II's fourth interception of the night for a 60-yard touchdown to close scoring.

John Paul II quarterback Ryan Rizk would fit in well within East Texas. He was a one-man band for the Eagles (0-1), responsible for 353 yards of total offense and played a hand in 21 of the 27 points his side scored.

Rizk, a junior, actually outdid Brook Hill's total offensive production by 15 yards.

The Guard (1-0) worked smarter. Not harder.

Brook Hill took advantage of five John Paul II turnovers. Four picks thrown by Rizk -- mostly as the 25-man roster around him wore down against a deeper team -- and a team fumble.

Cornerback and receiver Parker Galbraith will get some praise when classes resume Monday. He picked off Rizk twice, which translated into 16 offensive points, and set up a short touchdown in crunch time with a 78-yard gain from quarterback Hood Taylor.

Running back Brooks Parham led the Guard in scoring with three touchdowns and two, two-point conversions for 22 points. Jeremiah McGowen did the heavy lifting on 22 carries for a team-best 160 yards and was rewarded with one touchdown run.

But it was looking like the same song and second verse at the end of the first half. Brook Hill lost last year's inaugural American Warriors Bowl to St. Bernard's Catholic from Eureka, California, in the final 10 seconds after once possessing a significant lead.

That loss served as the first warning sign Brook Hill was not going to be a great team on the heels of nine straight seasons with a playoff appearance. The program dipped to 5-5 overall last season.

Saturday, the Guard built up a 19-6 lead but trailed 21-19 at the break after Rizk threw his third touchdown pass to receiver Trey Ingraham of 27 or more yards.

Brook Hill punted away its first two possessions of the second half, but it slowly and surely gained edges in the field position game.

It also found a solution for Rizk along a defensive front that got worked by John Paul II's offensive line in the first half. More than that, the Guard defensive backs simply stepped up for two second-half interceptions and broke up four more passes.

Galbraith started Brook Hill's third possession of the half with his second pick at John Paul II's 28-yard line. Parham capped the short drive three plays later with his second score of the night and Taylor rolled out for a two-point conversion for a 27-21 edge.

John Paul II had an awful night getting organized at the line of scrimmage. It took four delay of game penalties and burned a timeout to avoid another one.

That issue reared its head in the Eagles' ensuing drive, facing fourth-and-1 from Brook Hill's 15-yard line. They broke the huddle with 12 players, were flagged for an illegal substitution and then missed a 33-yard field goal.

Galbraith, on a bubble screen, made his 78-yard catch-and-run the next play and Taylor dived in for a score three plays later for a 34-21 advantage with 2:10 left in the third quarter after Caleb Collins nailed the extra point.

John Paul II cut the lead down to 34-27 in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but Parham ran in his third touchdown the next Brook Hill drive and safety Alec Kitt ran back a 60-yard interception 22 seconds later.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Galbraith said. "New atmosphere, new environment. We did it. That's about it."

In doing so, the Guard gave their own first-year coach Scott Ryle his first career win with the Guard program.

Brook Hill will travel Friday to Mount Vernon for its Week 2 game.

"I'm excited to get that first win, but I'm more excited for the kids," Ryle said. "They were so ready for this game. With that lightning delay -- You could just see it. They were ready to go right at the coin flip. Then, of course, lightning struck. But it feels great."

Brook Hill running back Jeremiah McGowen breaks free for a 16-yard touchdown score in the first half of Saturday's bi-state contest.

Brook Hill 48, Boca Raton St. John Paul II 27

At Herrington Stadium, Bullard

St. John Paul II          6      15    0      6    --    27
Brook Hill                  16     3    15     14    --   48

First Quarter
BH--Brooks Parham 2 run (Parham run), 11:02
JP--Trey Ingraham 28 pass from Ryan Rizk (kick failed), 7:58
BH--Jeremiah McGowen 16 run (Parham run), 6:32
Second Quarter
BH--Caleb Collins 23 field goal, 5:48
JP--Ingraham 27 pass from Rizk (Rizk run), 2:14
JP--Ingraham 28 pass from Rizk (Rizk kick), :32
Third Quarter
BH--Parham 3 run (Hood Taylor run), 5:46
BH--Taylor 1 run (Collins kick), 2:10
Fourth Quarter
JP--James Taylor 7 run (run failed), 11:38
BH--Parham 3 run (Collins kick), 7:53
BH--Alec Kick 60 interception return (Collins kick), 7:31

                                        JP                 BH
First Downs                      17                  16
Total Yards                      347               338
Rushes-Yards             28-142         42-225
Passing Yards                  211              113
Comp.-Att.-Int.         13-23-4          10-12-0
Punts-Avg.                  2-35.0          3-31.3
Fumbles-Lost                   4-1               1-1
Penalties-Yards             11-83             5-40

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--John Paul II, Ryan Rizk 18-114, James Taylor 10-22. Brook Hill, Jeremiah McGowen 22-160, Brooks Parham 9-60, Carson Ezell 5-19, Jordon McGowen 1-5, Hood Taylor 5-(-19).
PASSING--John Paul II, Rizk 13-24-4--211. Brook Hill, Taylor 10-12-0--113.
RECEIVING--John Paul II, Trey Ingraham 6-125, Addison Bohannon 3-56, Zachary Hammann 2-20, Taylor 2-10.Brook Hill, Parker Galbraith 5-81, Alec Kitt 2-13, Campbell Fletcher 1-10, Jordon McGowen 2-9.