Salado Eagles struggled with executing their new slot T offensive scheme in their season opening loss to the Troy Trojans Aug. 26 at University of Mary Hardin Baylor’s McLane Stadium. Salado lost 15-3 in a game marked on both sides by mistakes, fumbles and penalties.
Salado was plagued with fumbled snaps and handoffs and other miscues. The offensive attack, which is highly dependent upon timing and execution by running backs and linemen, was haunted by bad timing on opening night. The Eagles were called six times for false start and racked up a total of 71 yards in penalties on nine flags.
But when the offense worked — and worked well — it was brilliant. Trey Sheppard tore off a 45 yard run in the second quarter before he was caught by Cameron Cavanaugh at the Trojan 35 yard line. A play later, Salado turned over the ball on a fumbled snap that was recovered by David Ortiz with two minutes left in the half.
Salado had three of its 11 drives end with fumbles, but put the ball down eight times, losing two of them. With timing thrown off, Salado running backs were caught in the backfield or on top of fumbles for 69 yards in lost turf. This brought the total rushing yards down to 67. Knowing the Eagles would not throw, the Trojans loaded the line with seven players.
Troy had 166 yards total offense, 60 of it on one play, as the Eagles defense stiffened during the game. The Trojans had three of its drives end with fumbles. Troy missed one of two field goal attempts and punted just twice in the game.
The Trojans scored on its first play from scrimmage when Tyler Welch took a pitch around the right side and dashed for the goal-line 60 yards away. The point-after failed and the Trojans led 6-0.
Jake Walrath kicked a 36 yard field goal with 8 seconds left in the first quarter to get the Salado Eagles on the board, trailing 3-6. The score was set up by Tate Harvey’s fumble recovery when he snatched up the ball dropped by Tyler Welch at the Troy 20 and ran it to the 14 yard line.
Cutter Hudgens returned the second half kickoff 40 yards to the Salado 42 yard line, but the Eagles could not advance the ball, facing third and 14, thanks to a false start penalty. Jake Harvey ran up the middle, but was stopped five yards short of the first down. A bad snap went over the punter’s head and gave the Trojans the ball at Salado’s 15 yard line. On fourth and 11, Anthony Avila booted a 33 yard field goal to give Troy a 9-3 lead.
Riley Seiter scored an 11 yard touchdown with 9:09 left in the fourth. The two-point try failed, giving Troy its final lead of 15-3.
Salado will travel to play Comfort Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m.