Salado Eagles’ stellar season came to an end at the Randall Reed stadium in New Caney ISD as the Carthage Bulldogs, 4A-Div. 1 State Champions, look to add a another championship to their string of seven under coach Scott Surratt. Carthage won the game handily, 35-7 and will face the China Spring Cougars for the Region III Championship.
After swapping three-and-out possessions, Carthage drove 48 yards in just over three minutes, scoring on a 5-yard run by Mason Courtney. Irvin Jiminez made it 7-0 with 5:36 left in the first.
The Bulldogs defense, which shut out its last three opponents before facing Salado, forced the Eagles to another three-and-out. Wrook Brown’s 49-yard punt buried the Bulldogs at their own 6 yard line, but Kai Horton hit sophomore receiver Montrel Hatton, Jr. in stride going untouched for the touchdown. Jiminez made it 14-0 with 2:38 left in the first.
Carthage went up 21-0 with 9:38 left in the first half following a three-and-out and 42 yard punt by Brown gave them the ball at their own 32-yard line. Eight plays later, Horton hit Craig McNew for a 5-yard strike on third and goal. Jiminez made the PAT kick for Carthage.
Kip Lewis fell on a Salado fumble at the Eagles’ 34 yard line. On first down, Horton hit Kavonte Brown-Hoskins for a 34-yard strike. Jiminez booted the PAT at 8:35 for a 28-0 lead that Carthage carried into the lockers.
Salado took the second half kickoff and drove to near midfield, turning the ball over on downs as the stingy Bulldog defense held on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak by Hutton Haire.
Horton hit McNew for a 44 yard pass to set up first and goal at the Salado 7 yard line. Four plays later, Courtney ran in from the 2 yard line. Jiminez made it 35-0 with 7:21 left in the third.
Salado answered, driving from their own 25 yard line to the Carthage 45, where they set up to punt on fourth and 4. Noah Mescher, however, took the direct snap through the middle of the Carthage defense for a 45-yard touchdown with 1:18 left in the third. Brown toed the extra point, making it 35-7.
Carthage proved how punishing and relentless a team they are by going for it on a fourth and 5 at the Salado 7 yard line, but the Eagle defense stuffed Courtney to take over on downs midway through the fourth.
The Eagles ate the remainder of the clock driving from their own 5 yard line to the Carthage 18 before the timeclock clicked zero. The Eagles got five first downs on the drive, more than they were able to get in the first 41 minutes of the game.
The Eagles end their season 11-2 with their only losses to 3A-Div. 1 defending two-time State Champions Grandview Zebras in the second week of the season and the season-ending loss to Carthage.