Control the clock and you control the game.
A simple philosophy and one that Salado Eagles have stuck to throughout the season.
They did so again in their 35-21 road win against the Lorena Leopards tonight as the Eagles held onto the ball for 32:05 of the 48 minutes of play.
Despite having the ball for less than 16 minutes, the Leopards scored three times, thanks to Bradley Lina’s arm and legs. The Lorena quarterback threw 28 times with 22 completions, 190 yards and a touchdown.
He also threw for an interception on a long downfield attempt. Latrell Jenkins has proven to be a defensive back that it is unwise to throw deep against as he grabbed his sixth interception of the season.
The Eagles started the game as they usually do with a methodical drive, this one for 98 yards over the span of more than nine minutes and 18 plays. The Eagles converted two fourth downs with a sneak by Hutton Haire and a run by Hunter TUrk, who would cap the drive with an 18-yard run at 2:45 in the first. Wrook Brown booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
The teams swapped possessions and after giving the Leopards a short field, the Eagles stopped Lorena on a fourth-and-two to take over at their own with 8:35 left in the half.
Nine plays later, Haire hit Reid Vincent for touchdown on a third-and-goal from the 19-yard line. Brown made it 14-0 with his kick with 2:53 left in the half.
Lorena answered quickly, driving 66 yards in five plays as Lina hit AJ Brem for two quick passes and McCray Lewis for another to get the ball to the Salado 34-yard line. After running for 12 yards for a first down, Lina took a QB draw through the middle for a 27-yard TD. The kick made it 14-7 at the half.
The Leopards scored on the opening possession of the second half. They took 14 plays to go 60 yards, converting one fourth-and-ine to get in the red zone. Lina called his own number to score from the 3-yard lin with 7:08 left in the third. The kick tied the game at 14-14.
After Salado was forced to punt, Jenkins intercepted a deep pass at the Salado 30-yard line but the Eagles could not convert the turnover and ended up punting to the Lorena 20-yard line.
The Leopard punted from their own 16-yard line and a defender hit Wrook Brown after he waved for a fair cath, setting up the Eagles at the Leopard 44-yard line. On second down, Turk took a hand off 42 yards for the touchdown with 10:59 left in the game. Brown kicked the extra point for a 21-14 lead.
Lorena answered in less than 80 seconds, driving 62 yards in five plays. The drive was capped by a 4-yard run by Lina, the kick tying the game at 21-21 with 9:36 left to play.
Salado again took control of the clock, taking just under five minutes to drive 75 yards following the kick into the end zone. The drive took 10 plays, all runs with Turk scoring his third touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run with 4:43 left on the clock. Brown’s kick gave Salado a 28-21 edge.
Ethan Scott, on the ensuing kick off, ran down the field for Salado and when the Lorena player dropped the kick, landed on the ball at the Leopard 26-yard line.
Eight plays later, Brown dove through the Leopard line for a 1-yard touchdown with 1:58 left in the game. His kicked the PAT for the 35-21 lead.
Lorena threatened to score on the Salado prevent defense, but the Eagles stepped it up and forced and incomplete fourth down pass by Lina with 12 seconds left on the clock.
The Eagles had 300 yard rushing on 53 carries with one fumble. Haire passed four times, with three completions and 31 yards.
Turk led the Eagles with 131 yards on 17 carries and three TDs. Vincent followed with 121 yards on 14 carries and a 19 yard TD catch.
Brown had 46 yards on 14 carries, a rushing TD and five PATs.
Lorena Lorena had 125 yards on the ground on 18 carries. Lina did most of the work with 67 yards on 13 carries.
Lina three 28 times, with 22 completions for 190 yards and an interception. His favorite target was AJ Brem, who had seven catches for 64 yards.
The win puts Salado in a three-way tie for second place in district 8-4A with Fairfield and Mexia. The #1 Connally Cadets, who beat the Mexia Black Cats 42-26 are in first place with a 4-0 district record, 8-0 on the year. Robinson beat Madisonville 55-35 while Fairfield stayed home tonight.
Salado hosts Madisonville, which is 0-4 in district play on Oct. 25. Mexia travels to Robinson while Fairfield plays at Connally.