By Bruce Gordon
On a clear warm night at Salado Field, parents John and Tracy Wilson were enjoying every minute of the Parents Night festivities with their son, senior power runner Aiden Wilson.
Anticipating a good game, John commented he hoped the Eagles could push past the Blackcats after disappointing losses to two-time State Champion Grandview and powerhouse Stephenville. “I am excited for the boys and feel that Coach Haire has got them Ready to go!”
The Wilsons, and a near sell-out home crowd weren’t disappointed as their Eagles delivered them a bruising 57-0 win over a strong Mexia Blackcats team.
Playing the first home game of the season, the Eagles used a balanced first half attack, amassing more than 400 yards of offense to take a 50-0 lead going into the halftime break. Mexia, winning the coin toss and electing to defer to the second half, found themselves quickly behind as the Eagles took less than two minutes to score. Wilson plowed up the middle with a 15 yard run to score his first of four touchdowns on the night. Following the first of seven PAT kicks by Daniel Chtay, Salado led 7-0.
The Eagles, led by Defensive Player of the Game Garrett Combs held the Blackcats to a three and out series, and the rout was on. Following a long punt by Blackcat Kicker David Davila, the Eagles took over at their own 35 yard line. Two plays later, after a 55 yard Hutton Haire pass to a wide open Seth Reavis, and an Eagle false start, Aiden Wilson rambled in from the Mexia 15 and a 13-0 Eagle lead. Haire’s PAT toss to Isaac Pettigrew added two points, and at the 8:15 mark in the first quarter, the Eagles were enjoying a 15-0 lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, Mexia completed their first pass of the night, a six yard gain, but couldn’t create any momentum, losing a fumble on the next play from scrimmage at their own 36 yard line. The Eagles needed only three plays to strike again, with Haire tossing a scoring strike of 31 yards to End Gavyn Keyser. With Chtay’s extra point, the Eagles were on top 22-0 with 6:07 still remaining in the first quarter.
Bad luck kept pounding on the Blackcats as Bryson Nowell fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Eagles recovered at the Mexia 29 yard line. On third and one, Caden Strickland bulled in from the 20, giving the Eagles a commanding lead. Chtay’s PAT kick was good, and with 4:47 remaining, Salado was on top 29-0.
Getting a strong kickoff return by Mexia’s Kayleb Mathews, the Blackcats set up shop at their own 45 yard line. The Eagle defense once again held the visitors to a three and out series, but a booming punt by Davila pinned the Eagles at their own 4 yard line. Using six straight running plays, the Eagles moved the ball to the Mexia 48 yard line as time expired in the first quarter. One play later, Haire, named Co-Offensive Player of the Game, hit fellow Co-Offensive Player of the Game Gavyn Keyser with a 48 yard scoring strike, his second long touchdown reception of the night. Chtay was perfect again with the PAT kick, and with just 8 seconds gone in the second quarter, the Eagles were up by a score of 36-0.
Mexia wide receiver Victor Olvera called for a fair catch on the next kickoff, and the Blackcats started from their 35 yard line. Gaining just one first down, Mexia was forced to puntbut got a break as the ball bounced off an Eagle player and Mexia recovered in Eagle territory. Their luck didn’t last, as one play later the ball went back to the Eagles as they recovered a fumble by the Mexia offense at midfield. Taking nearly four minutes off the clock with a ten play series, Wilson picked up his third touchdown of the night, running it in from the 12 yard line. Chtay’s extra point made it 43-0 with 6:53 remaining.
After another three and out series ending on their own 14, a huge punt by Mexia’s Davila pushed the Eagles back to their 35 yard line. It took just two plays to score again, as Wilson picked up his fourth TD on the night with a 58 yard romp. Chtay’s PAT was good, and the Eagles took a 50-0 lead into halftime.
Mexia’s offense began to produce yards after receiving the second half opening kickoff but quickly stalled and were forced to punt. Another strong kick by Davila pinned the Eagles deep in their own territory at the 7. This time taking over nine minutes off the clock, Eagle runners Adam Benavides and Dusty Rhiddlehoover took turns pushing the ball down the field, with Benavides running the ball in from the 2 yard line. The PAT was good, and with just 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Eagles were on top 57-0.
Switching to a passing attack for the fourth quarter, Mexia put their best drive of the night together, moving the ball deep into Eagle territory. Facing a second and goal from the six, the Eagle’s Braydon Sumners intercepted the Mexia pass in the end zone, running the ball out to the 30 yard line. The Eagles then burned up the remaining eight minutes on the clock with 12 running plays, taking a knee to bring the game to a close.
The Eagles host Taylor for Homecoming with kick-off at 7:30 p.m., their final non-district game of the season.
Following an open week, District play begins with the Eagles visiting Gatesville on Oct. 8.
1 2 3 4 F
Mexia 0 0 0 0 0
Salado 29 21 7 0 57
Sal Stat Mexia
26 First Downs 5
55-447 Rushes-yards 14-(-18)
3-5-0 Pass-comp-int 11-19-1
138-2 Pass yards-TDs 100-0
7-60 Penalties-yards 7-45
2-1 Fumbles-lost 3-3
0-0 Punts-avg. 6-42.5
RUSHING: Salado: Aidan Wilson, 14-167, 4 TD; Adam Benavides, 8-87, 1 TD; Dusty Rhiddlehoover, 10-47; Caden Stickland, 4-35, 1 TD.
PASSING: Salado: Hutton Haire, 3-5-138, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: Salado: Gavyn Keyser, 2-78, 2 TDs; Seth Reavis, 1-60.