The Eagles will face undefeated back-to-back State Champions West Orange-Stark in the Region III Finals at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 in Katy after defeating the Bellville Brahmas in overtime 13-10 on Dec. 2. For those fans who are going to the game and would like to support the 2021 SHS Graduating Class, Salado Eagle Stadium Chairs are still available. The chairs are $50 for regular width and $60 for wide width. Call Janet Maddux at 254-780-6476 to get yours today. If you would like to ride in the fan bus to the game, contact Michael Novotny at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Photo by Ron LeGuin)
By Larnce Barker
The Salado Eagles and Bellville Brahmas are no stranger to each other as the two playoff foes battled it out at the Alamodome Dec. 2 in San Antonio.
The night cap game of the night was a thriller as the Salado Eagles beat the Bellville Brahmas in Overtime 13-10.
After forcing Bellville to settle for a field goal on their first possession of overtime, Salado quarterback Hayden Haire connected with running back Aaron Torczynski on the first play of Salado’s possession, hitting him in stride to go for 25 yards and the winning touchdown.
This 4A Division 2 Regional 3 Semi-Final match up would prove to be a defensive battle through the whole game.
Both Salado and Bellville had penalties that at times cost them field position and stalled drives for each squad.
Bellville started their offense series with an 11 play drive that got the ball inside the one yard line of Salado. The whole Alamodome was waiting for Bellville to take the early lead when Brahmas QB Marcus Ward mishandled the snap. The Eagles defense rose up for a monster goal line stand to give the Eagles the football after the Bellville fumble.
The Eagles first offensive possession would face a stingy Brahmas defense that would force Salado’s Jake Walrath to punt the football after a six-play drive. Bellville’s Chancellor Leaks-Gillum would fair catch the football at their own 32 yard line.
The Eagles defensive demonstrated why they are one of the top defenses in the state as they forced the Brahmas to punt the football 44 yards after a 10 play drive.
The Eagles set up first-and-10 at their own 6 yard line. The Eagles took the ball on a 14 play drive when Salado’s Hayden Haire pass was intercepted by Brahmas Stone Rowe at the Bellville own 13 yard line.
Defense-Defense-Defense is what the game consisted of the rest of the first half as Salado and Bellville would go in at Halftime with a surprising score 0-0. Both teams had the 3 series each the first half. Salado would get the football first to start the second half.
Salado Eagles all year has done an excellent job of half time adjustments to spark the Eagles for the second half.
The Eagles engineered an 18 play drive, topped by a two-yard run by Trey Sheppard at the 3:52 mark of the third quarter for the first score of the game.
Jake Walrath would attempt the PAT but it was blocked by the Brahmas Dontay Holmes. An off-sides penalty would nullify the block and Walrath would get another shot and made the PAT for Salado to take the 7-0 lead in the third quarter.
The Eagles defense faced a determined Bellville offense who had a 15 play drive topped by Brahmas RB Chancellor Leaks-Gillum eight-yard run with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter.
Bellville’s kicker Leo Guerrero nailed the extra point to knot the game up at 7-7.
The Eagles would take their next possession four play drive with little success. Trey Sheppard punted deep for Salado (47 yards) to the Brahmas 5 yard line.
The Eagles defense in the fourth quarter intensified over the next eight minutes to halt the Brahmas drive to turn the football over to the Eagles with 4 seconds left in the game.
The coin toss for overtime was interesting as Salado’s Coach Haire won the toss and elected to go on defense. Coach Haire stated that he went with the percentages and how his defense was playing put his defensive squad out first.
The Eagles defense would fight hard on three straight plays in overtime to force Bellville to kick a field goal in overtime.
Brahmas Leo Guerrero would make the 37 yard field goal to make the score 10-7 Bellville.
The Eagles had their turn on offense at the 25 yard line. As Coach Haire gave last minute instructions to his offense, QB Hayden Haire questioned the play he wanted to call in overtime. QB Haire said, “We need to get first downs, are you sure?”
Coach Haire stated that we need to take a shot first as we have three other downs to get a first down.”
QB Haire said, “if you want do it we’ll do it.”
Then Coach Haire said, “Well, we’re gonna do it.”
Haire would connect with Torczynski on a 25 yard strike to win in OT 13-10.
Salado advance to the Quarterfinals and will play West-Orange Stark for the Region 3 Championship 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at Katy’s Legacy Stadium at 1830 Katyland Drive in Katy.
The Salado Eagles team will be put to the test. West Orange Stark is currently on a 38 game winning streak and back to back State Championships. The last time West Orange Stark lost was in 2014 to Newton & Gilmer in the State Championship in 2014.
This is a different West Orange Stark team this season and Salado have played similar teams all season so it should be a great game to watch.