The Brady Bulldogs drove 94 yards in the final minutes of the game last Friday to beat the San Saba Armadillos 22-18. Fans on both sides were unsure who would win until the final few seconds.
Brady won the toss and deferred to the second half. San Saba received the kick and returned it to the 32 yard line. Hayden Oliver got the game off with a 21-yard run, but the Armadillos were forced to punt the ball and the Bulldogs took over at the 24.
The Dogs were unable to move and punted back to the Dillos, pinning them back at the 16. Another Max Palacio punt gave the ball back to Brady near midfield.
The Bulldogs failed on a 4th down play and San Saba took over at their own 34 as the first quarter ended. The Bulldogs returned the favor at the Brady 36 stopping a Dillo 4th down play.
Brady started a clock-chewing drive using 6:47 to score the first touchdown of the game. MacKenzie Hirt found Eric Hernandez on a 19-yard pass for the score. It was the only pass of the 11-play drive. Xander Leatherwood added the PAT and Brady led 7-0.
San Saba lost the ball on a fumble that the Bulldogs recovered at the Dillo 43. Leatherwood attempted a 32-yard field goal as the clock ran out but the kick sailed wide and the halftime score was 7-0 Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started the second half receiving the kick and the Dillo kick team pinned Brady at the 15. The Armadillo defense forced a punt. Leatherwood got off a nice 37-yard punt but Gary Gant returned the kick 39 yards.
A 32-yard Ryan Pannell pass to Gant gave San Saba a first down at the Dog 9 yard line. Three plays later, Jack Whitten scored from the 4. Diego Gonzalez came on for the PAT but it was tipped and went wide left leaving the score 7-6 in favor of Brady.
Another good kickoff by Gonzalez pinned Brady at the 13. The Bulldogs were driving down the field when Pete Torres jumped up and intercepted a MacKenzie Hirt pass. Torres broke some tackles on his way to a 72-yard touchdown with the return. San Saba went for the 2-point conversion but failed. San Saba had the lead at 12-7 with 3:34 left in the third quarter. It was the first time Brady had trailed all year.
The Bulldogs responded with a 66 yard drive behind the arm and legs of Hirt. Hirt connected with Seth Bozeman from 15 yards for the score. Andrew Brooks ran the conversion and Brady had the lead back at 15-12 with less than a minute left in the 3rd quarter.
On the Dillos next possession, Brady recovered another fumble at the San Saba 25. Going for the jugular, a Hirt pass intended for Kyle Andrews was tipped by Andrews and Gary Gant picked off the pass at the 19.
On the ensuing drive, it appeared that Brady had stopped the Armadillos forcing a punt, but after a time out, Jack Whitten hit an undefended Pete Torres on the fake for a 33-yard gain and the first down. Anthony Salinas capped off the drive with a 5-yard run. Diego Gonzalez was on for the PAT but it was blocked giving San Saba a lead of 18-15 with 8:10 left.
The two teams traded punts with Max Palacio pinning Brady at the 6 yard line with 3:14 left in the game.
The Bulldogs efficiently moved the ball down the field, aided partly by two San Saba penalties totaling 25 yards. Hirt found Bozeman for the go-ahead score with 63 seconds left in the game. Leatherwood added the PAT and Brady was ahead 22-18.
San Saba had one last chance, but a Pannell pass was intercepted by Eric Hernandez with 31 seconds left to preserve the hard-fought 22-18 win for the Bulldogs.
The win kept Brady perfect at 6-0 on the season and 2-0 in district 8-2A play while San Saba fell to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in district. In other district action, Comanche also stayed perfect by beating Bangs 7-6 in Bangs. Comanche is 7-0, 3-0 and Bangs is now 3-3, 1-2. Coleman downed Dublin for their first win on the season and Early is 0-6 and had the weekend off. This week sees Brady going to Comanche for the district lead, Bangs goes to Coleman and the Early Longhorns come to Rogan Field.
The San Saba offense was led by Hayden Oliver with 61 yards rushing. Gary Gant added 52 running and 2 catches for another 42 yards. Pete Torres had the Dillos other reception on the fake punt.
The defense kept the Bulldogs running game in check, allowing 191 yards. Brady had been averaging over 300 yards a game. Torres led the charge with several tackles and the interception for the score. Gant had the interception to stop a Bulldog drive and some tackles of his own. Also chipping in stops on defense were Anthony Salinas, Tucker Cromer, Jack Whitten, Chance Gotcher, Tyler McIntosh, David Smith, Wil Sloan, Ryan Parks, Diego Gonzalez and Hector Jimenez.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Rogan Field. The San Saba Band Boosters are having a steak supper before the game. Come out and support the team as they drive for the playoffs.