After the Eagles forced the visiting Waco Connally Cadets to punt at 9:51 in the first, the grinding offense took 18 plays and 9:58 of the clock to score on the first play of the second quarter.
Adam Benevides ran up the middle for an 8 yard touchdown with 11:53 in the half. He and Aidan Wilson provided a potent one-two combination (with Seth Reavis and Hutton Haire thrown in for good measure) to chip away for short runs on the prolonged drive.
Daniel Chtay booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead in what was the game-defining drive.
Darius Wilson stepped in front of a Jelani McDonald pass on third and 13 with 9:57 left in the half to set up a 60-yard scoring drive. The Eagles took 11 plays, scoring on a 4 yard run by Aidan Wilson following a timeout by the Cadets. Chtay booted the extra point with 4:09 left in the half for a 14-0 lead.
The Cadets threatened to score before the end of the half, driving to the Salado 21 yard line, facing a fourth and 1. McDonald used his legs for a first down at the Salado 13 and then grounded the ball with two ticks left on the clock. Erick Lara was short on the 30 yard field goal try to end the half.
Salado took the ensuing kickoff and drove 77 yards on 15 plays. Seth Reavis dashed through the Cadet defense for a 39 yard run to move the ball into Connally territory. Facing a fourth and 4 at the Connally 32, Haire rolled out and found Reavis for a 12 yard completion, one of only two attempts at going to the air by Eagles in the entire game. On a third and 1, Haire followed his center Beau Hill and guard Waylon Padleski and Ethan Bagley to convert a third and 1 with 7:02 in the third to set up first and goal at the Connally 8 yard line, A defensive penalty moved it a little closer and a dive by Wilson put the ball at the 1 yard line. Wilson dove in from there with 5:01 left in the third.
Connally anticipated the snap and blocked the PAT kick leaving Salado with a 20-0 lead the Eagles would carry into the fourth quarter.
It looked as if the Cadets might score using a power running game, as they drove 6o yards for a first and goal, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call was all Salado needed to snuff the drive. Cavahn Wilson stopped two runs up the middle and Josh Huckabee tackled Tre Wisner in the open field on a fourth down attempt by Connally to take over on downs at the Eagles’ 6 yard line with 1:24 left in the third.
Salado drove the length of the field in 20 plays, eating almost the entire fourth quarter up before scoring on a 5 yard run by Wilson. The play before, Wilson dove up the middle on a fourth and 1 to keep the drive alive. Salado used some tomfoolery on the PAT with Haire carrying the ball in for the two-point conversion to make the lead 28-0 with 2:13 left to play.
The Cadets drove 77 yards in eight plays to score a meaningless touchdown with 38 seconds left to play on a 10 yard pass from McDonald to Kobe Black. Lara converted the PAT for the final score, 28-7.
Salado had 324 yards offense on 60 plays.The Eagles had 312 yards on 58 rushing attempts and 12 yards on 1-of-2 passing by Haire. The Eagles held the ball for over 34:36 while Connally used just 13:28 of clock. The Eagles had 25 first downs compared to 10 for the Cadets. Salado converted six of 10 third down attempts and all four fourth down. The Eagles defense held Connally to one of seven third down attempts and two of three fourth down tries.
The only turnover was Wilson’s interception.
Salado defense held Connally to 153 yards rushing on 23 attempts and 60 passing on 5-10 passing.
Wilson led the Eagles with 108 yards rushing on 28 carries, followed by Reavis with 97 yards on seven carries and Benavides who carried 11 times for 69 yards. Reavis also had a 12 yard reception.
Tre Wisner carried the ball 15 times for 122 yards for Connally. He also had a 32 yard catch.
I recorded Braydon Sumners with 6 tackles, Huckabee with 4, Nic Bates and Wilson with 3 tackles each, Jake Windham with 2 and Darius Wilson, Jesse Maskunas, Dillon Combs, Dusty Rhiddlehoover, Noland Miller and Gavyn Keyser all with one tackle.
Connally punted once for 34 yards while Salado had another game without a punt (getting to be a habit worth repeating).
The Eagles will travel Oct. 22 to China Spring to face the Cougars, who are ranked #5 in 4A-Div 2. The Cougars are 8-0 following their 41-10 win over the Gatesville Hornets. Jarrell lost to Robinson 50-43.