Almost a decade since Salado won a playoff game
The last time the Salado Eagles got to the Area round of the football playoffs, they gave former head coach Jeff Cheatham a near-perfect 13-1 record, eventually losing in the State Semi-finals to Tatum.
Salado beat La Grange Leopards in the bi-district round by the slimmest of margins Nov. 11, when the Eagles defense stopped the Leopards on a two-point try in overtime. The Eagle defense had stopped the Leopards just minutes earlier when La Grange took advantage of a defensive penalty and fresh set of downs inside the Salado 15 yard line with just over a minute left in regulation. The Eagle defense stiffened, as it had just before to force La Grange to settle for the field goal, which was declared good and tied the game at 28-28. La Grange elected to accept an offsides penalty against Salado, moving the ball inside the 15 yard line. The Leopards could not convert the new set of downs into a touchdown. Instead, La Grange settled for a 23 yard Migual Ramirez field goal with 29 seconds left on the regulation clock.
Salado got the ball first in overtime and scored in two plays, a run by Trey Sheppard to put the ball at the five. Aaron Torczynski bulled the ball in from there.
Jake Walrath kicked the extra point, giving Salado a 35-28 lead.
The Leopards responded, scoring on a 13 yard run by quarterback Colter Sipak. The Leopards lined up to kick the extra point and instead went for two.
Parker Seaton put pressure on Ryan Cooper, causing him to throw the ball away and giving Salado the one point win 35-34. The Eagles fought back from a two-touchdown deficit to tie the game at 14-14 in the first half. La Grange scored touchdowns in the first and second quarters.
Siptak, who carried the ball for 120 yards and threw for 52 yards, scored on a five yard run in the first. Ramirez kick the PAT for a 7-0 lead. Jericho Haardt scored on a two yard run in the second quarter. He had 83 yards rushing on 18 carries for the Leopards.
The PAT gave La Grange a 14-0 lead. Salado answered with two rushing TDs in the second quarter. Sheppard scored from six yards out. Jake Walrath kicked the extra point. Torczynski scored from four yards out.
The Eagles had 284 yards on the ground with Torczynski leading all carriers with 152 yards on 14 carries. Jake Harvey had 83 yards on 12 carries and Sheppard had 49 on 11 carries. Hayden Haire had 64 yards passing on three completions on six passes. In an evenly matched game, La Grange had 287 yards on the ground and 52 in the air.
The Leopards took the lead in the third quarter on a 32 yard field goal by Ramirez.
The Eagles got their first lead of the game early in the fourth on a one yard dive by Sheppard and Walrath kick to go up 21-17.
Cade Depoy picked up a La Grange fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Walrath’s kick gave the Eagles a 28-17 lead. But La Grange answered with a 25 yard touchdown run by Santana Herrera. Cooper hit Travis Ferley for a two-point conversion to bring the score to 28-25.
The Leopards tied the game with less than half a minute left on the 23 yard chip shot by Ramirez.
Up next for the Eagles
The Eagles will face the #10 Bellville Brahmas in the Area Round. Bellville beat Orangefield 45-21 in the Bi-District round.
Kick off is 6:00 p.m. Nov. 19 at Round Rock ISD Stadium in the Reeves Athletic Complex. Bellville is 8-2 on the year and Champions of District 11.
Mac Briscoe led the Brahmas to the win with 242 yards rushing on 25 carries with three touchdowns. Briscoe is a powerhouse runner who has had nine games with more than 100 yards rushing and seven games with more than 200 yards rushing. He has carried the ball 237 times for 2,047 yards on the ground and 27 TDs.
Don’t expect much passing as the Brahmas have just 634 yards passing and 3,697 on the ground. With two powerhouse rushing teams, the Area round may end being decided by which team has the ball last and which team commits fewer turnovers. With the exception of the Giddings and Connally matchup, District 9-4A Div. II got the best of its District 10 counterparts.
In addition to the Salado win, Lorena beat Gonzales 48-3 and Robinson beat Caldwell 77-59. Giddings beat Connally 41-18. Lorena (8-3) will face Liberty (9-2) in the Area round on Nov. 18 in College Station. Robinson (9-2) plays #1 West Orange-Stark (11-0) at the Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah on Nov. 18.