BULLARD -- Up 40-35 with 95 seconds left in the game, Brook Hill knew what was coming. Eureka (Calif.) St. Bernard's Catholic always actively attempts to recover its kickoffs, mostly kicks onside, and it needed this one to save itself from a season-opening loss.

Diego Perez fell on the ball at Brook Hill's 42-yard line. Six plays later, junior quarterback Jack Rice punched it in from a yard out with 10 seconds remaining to give St. Bernard's a 43-40 win Thursday at Herrington Stadium in the first game of the Tyler Ford-Brook Hill American Warriors Bowl Weekend event.

The loss negated senior Guard receiver Seth Brasher and kicker Caleb Chadwell's outstanding nights.

Brasher scored three times on six receptions and racked up 220 yards in the process. Chadwell went 4-for-4 on field goals with a long of 38 yards and was perfect on four PAT attempts.

"We gave up three onside kicks, we got inside the red zone three times and didn't score (touchdowns), we score the winning touchdown and get a penalty on that," Guard head coach Bobby Brasher said. "We played very poorly."

Senior receiver Seth Brasher reached the end zone on a 75-yard pass from quarterback McCray Fletcher. It gave the Guard a 34-28 lead midway through the third quarter. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Brook Hill (0-1) scored a 44-yard touchdown that would have given it a 43-28 lead before a PAT attempt from Caleb Chadwell with about five minutes remaining in the game. Unfortunately, the receiver that scored started his celebration 10 yards from the end zone and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. He held the ball out in front of him after beating two St. Bernard's tacklers.

Chadwell got three of those points back with his 38-yard field goal. It gave the Guard a 40-28 lead with 4:14 to play.

From there, Rice guided St. Bernard's (1-0) on a nine-play, 51-yard drive that cut the deficit to 40-35 with 1:35 to go.

St. Bernard's recovered the ensuing onside kick and Brook Hill took its final timeout after the kick to talk over its defensive strategy.

Running back Raequan Washington ran 22 yards on the first play of the drive and fumbled, but offensive lineman Sean Gardner fell on it to keep the drive alive.

The next four plays took the ball down to the 1-yard line and the moving clock to about 15 seconds. Rice punched it in on 2nd-and-goal with a timeout in his pocket. Micah Fontenot-Cornely ran in a two-point conversion.

Brook Hill's final heave from 66 yards away was not caught.

"They loaded up in the box and it was zone read," Rice said. "I just pulled it and tried to put my team on top."

Brook Hill's Jacob Dumesnil rides over St. Bernard's Raequan Washington to cap a 43-yard punt return touchdown before the Guard offense even got the ball. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

The Guard looked ready to blow the visiting California team out of the stadium early in the game.

St. Bernard's lost eight yards on its opening drive and Jacob Dumesnil returned its punt 43 yards for a 7-0 lead just 1:16 into the first quarter. Brook Hill forced a second consecutive three-and-out, but the Guard's next drive stalled at the 14-yard line and Chadwell came in for a 27-yard field goal to move the lead to 10-0 with 3:10 left in the frame.

Brook Hill led 24-14 at halftime. Receiver Seth Brasher was pulled down 11 yards shy of a touchdown as the second quarter expired.

Kaden Law got St. Bernard's cooking early in the third quarter with his first of three successful onside kicks. Donald Snowton Jr. recovered the second half kickoff at Brook Hill's 24-yard line and Rice connected with Isaac Drake for a 23-yard score two plays later to make the score 24-21.

Chadwell came out to wrap up an eight-play, 33-yard drive with a 31-yard kick the Guard's next time out.

Rice ran in from three yards out to tie the score at 27-27 with 7:45 left in the third quarter. Law gave St. Bernard's a 28-27 lead with his PAT and then gave the ball back to his side by recovering his own kickoff.

Brook Hill's defense held St. Bernard's to its first three-and-out since the first quarter before quarterback McCray Fletcher caught Seth Brasher on a fade route for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Guard back on top, 34-28, with 5:35 left in the quarter.

Two Chadwell kicks in the fourth quarter upped the lead to 40-28 with 4:16 remaining.

"It's the most amazing game I've ever been a part of," Tomlin said. "My kids were exhausted. The heat and humidity kind of got to them and zapped them. They just kept digging deep and found courage. I could not be more proud of them."

Guard senior quarterback McCray Fletcher threw for three touchdowns and 399 yards in his first varsity start. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Fletcher, in his first varsity start at quarterback, completed 17-of-32 passes for 399 yards. But he also threw a costly interception -- the game's lone turnover -- in the red zone during the second quarter.

Sophomore running back Jeremiah McGowen led six Guard players with 42 rushing yards on six attempts.

Rice completed 12-of-34 passes for 244 yards and two scores. He also scored twice on 16 carries for 123 rushing yards.

East Texas has a chance at redemption today. Edgewood will play Marco Island (Fla.) Academy at 7:30 p.m. inside Herrington Stadium.

St. Bernard's will fly home today and next faces Justin-Siena from Napa, Calif. Brook Hill travels to Tenaha next week.

"It doesn't get any easier," Bobby Brasher said. "You've got Tenaha who played in the (state semifinals) last year and then Alto. It doesn't get any easier. We just have to get better, play better defense and get better in special teams. And we have to make sure we run the ball a little bit better."

St. Bernard's quarterback Jack Rice barrels into the end zone from one yard out with 10 seconds left to give his California squad the win. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Eureka (Calif.) St. Bernard's Catholic 43, Bullard Brook Hill 40

Non-District Game
At Herrington Stadium, Bullard

St. Bernard's       6         8     14      15    --    43
Brook Hill             17       7     10       6   --    40

First Quarter
BH -- Jacob Dumesnil 43 punt return (Caleb Chadwell kick), 10:46
BH -- Chadwell 27 field goal, 3:10
SB -- Warren Freeman 4 run (run failed)
BH -- Brasher 33 pass from McCray Fletcher (Chadwell kick), :30
Second Quarter
SB -- Isaac Drake 3 run (Drake pass from Law), 5:43
BH -- Brasher 58 pass from Fletcher (Chadwell kick), 4:44
Third Quarter
SB -- Drake 23 pass from Rice (Law kick), 11:16
BH -- Chadwell 31 field goal, 7:45
SB -- Jack Rice 3 run (Law kick), 6:38
BH -- Brasher 75 pass from Fletcher (Chadwell kick), 5:35
Fourth Quarter
BH -- Chadwell 27 field goal, 10:01
BH -- Chadwell 38 field goal, 4:16
SB -- Micah Fontenot-Cornley 13 pass from Rice (Law kick), 1:35
SB -- Rice run 1 (Fontenot-Cornely run), :10

                                            SB                    BH

First Downs                         19                      21
Total Yards                         431                    518
Rushes-Yards                     33-187               25-119
Passing Yards                     244                    399
Comp.-Att.-Int.                   12-34-0              17-32-1
Punts-Avg.                           5-30.0               1-45.0
Fumbles-Lost                       1-0                    0-0
Penalties-Yards                    8-55                10-97

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--St. Bernard's, Jack Rice 16-123, Raequan Washington 10-79, Bryce Gratz 4-30, Isaac Drake 2-30, Warren Freeman 1-4. Brook Hill, Jeremiah McGowen 6-42, Jordan McGowen 11-27, McCray Fletcher 2-34, Jacob Dumesnil 4-9, Jacob Day 1-8, Alec Kitt 1-(-1).
PASSING--St. Bernard's, Rice 12-34-0--244. Brook Hill, Fletcher 17-32-1--399.
RECEIVING--St. Bernard's, Micah Fontenot-Cornely 5-89, Drake 2-51, Rasaan Washington 1-43, Raequan Washington 2-35, Gratz 1-21, Kaden Law 1-5. Brook Hill, Seth Brasher 6-220, Alex Kitt 2-79, Ryan Cox 6-52, Parker Galbraith 1-44, Chase Moore 1-9, Dumesnil 1-(-5).