Mother Nature only postponed the duel between Mason and San Saba to Saturday afternoon instead of the expected Friday night. I want to thank Coach Mathis for doing the first half statistics while I finished work. He did a good job with individuals but I do not have the team drives. The individual stats indicate a defensive struggle with neither team having 100 yards of offense.
The Armadillos scored first in the opening quarter on a 15-yard run by Hayden Oliver at the 6:48 mark. Diego Gonzalez kicked the PAT and San Saba led 7-0.
Mason tied the game at 8:41 left in the second when David Mora had a 10-yard run for the Punchers. Jeremy Hamilton added the PAT.
San Saba took the lead for good late in the half after a turnover. Gary Gant scored from 3 yards out and Gonzalez was good for the PAT and a 14-7 lead. The clock showed 1:17. However, on the following kickoff, Mora broke tackles on a 103-yard return. The PAT was wide and the Dillos had the 14-13 lead at halftime. Mora’s return is believed to be the longest in Rogan Field history.
After arriving during halftime and seeing the stats, I was expecting more of the same in the second half. It lived up to my expectations.
San Saba got the ball to start the second half. Gonzalez soon punted the ball with the Punchers taking over at the 34.
Defense dominated the second half as it had the first. Mason quickly punted back to San Saba.
After another Dillo punt, Mason had the ball at the 34 again. This time, the Armadillo defense stopped Mason on a pass tipped by Ryan Parks and Jack Whitten made a diving catch for the interception at the Puncher 47.
After a false start penalty on first down, Gary Gant broke loose on a 51-yard run down to the Puncher 1 yard line. The Dillos were stymied on first down and lost a yard. On second down, Anthony Salinas plunged over from the 2 on a play reminiscent of “The Fridge” and the lead stood at 21-13 after the PAT by Diego Gonzalez.
The kickoff went through the end zone and Mason started at the 20. The San Saba defense held and Mason punted. The Puncher defense returned the favor and forced a Dillo punt.
On first down, Mason quarterback Justin Yonker went for the long ball. Gary Gant had just enough speed to close on the receiver and tip the ball up for the interception.
The final period saw the teams trade punts and both teams turned the ball over on downs in the final minutes. San Saba stopped Mason on fourth down with less than 44 seconds left to preserve the 21-13 victory.
The win gives San Saba a 2-0 record going into the annual “Battle of the River” in Goldthwaite Friday night.
Gary Gant led the rushing attack with 97 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Jack Whitten added 43 yards and Hayden Oliver had 25 before leaving the game in the third quarter with a concussion. Oliver and Whitten had a catch each along with Chance Gotcher and Hector Jimenez.
The defense was led by Tucker Cromer and Gant. Gant had the interception and broke up several passes. Anthony Salinas, Whitten, Ryan Parks, Pete Torres, Gotcher, Jimenez and Tyler McIntosh helped hold the Punchers to 117 yards total offense after they had gained over 300 yards the week before against Iraan.
The Dublin Lions were the only district team to play Friday night as the weather forced most to play Saturday. The Lions lost to Godley, Early lost to the Wall Hawks and Coleman lost to Rogers. Brady defeated the Grape Creek Eagles and Comanche took down the Eastland Mavericks. The game between Bangs and Llano was called after only 1:15 and they decided not to play it on Saturday. San Saba, Brady and Comanche are now 2-0, Bangs is 1-0 and Coleman, Early and Dublin are 0-2.
This week is Homecoming for the Goldthwaite Eagles as the Armadillos invade in what is expected to be a good game. The Eagles shut out Hamilton 41-0 Friday night and have not allowed a point on the year. Kickoff is set for 7:30 but getting there early is advisable because a big crowd is expected.