After a scoreless first half against the Early Longhorns last Friday at Rogan Field, the San Saba Armadillos erupted for 31 second half points. The win guaranteed the first winning season in San Saba since 2000.
San Saba received the opening kick and gained a first down before being stopped on 4th down at the 42. The Longhorns drove to the 14 before missing a 31-yard field goal.
The Dillos next possession ended with a 44-yard punt by Max Palacio. This time the Armadillo defense stopped Early on 4th down at the San Saba 43.
Once again the Longhorn defense forced a punt. The Palacio punt was returned to the 30 but a penalty on the return pushed Early back to the 7 yard line.
The Horns moved the ball out to the 37 before having to punt. The 52 yard kick pinned San Saba back at the 17. Max Palacio was called on for his third punt of the half.
The Armadillo defense held again and San Saba ran out the clock to end the first half with neither team being able to put points on the scoreboard. The Dillos had 51 yards rushing in the half while Early had 37 rushing and 42 passing.
The second half proved to be entirely different.
Early got the ball to start the half, but on their first play, Anthony Salinas recovered the bad snap and San Saba had the ball at the Longhorn 24.
The Dillos got to the 7 yard line before settling for a 25-yard field goal by Diego Gonzalez. San Saba had the 3-0 lead with three minutes gone in the quarter.
Early started a drive that could have given them the lead with a 1st and goal at the Dillo 2 but the Dillo defense had other ideas. A 2-yard loss on first down was followed by an incomplete pass. On 3rd down, Tyler McIntosh got through and sacked the quarterback for a 10 yard loss. A bad snap on the field goal attempt resulted in San Saba getting the ball at the 18.
San Saba used only five plays to go 82 yards. During the drive, play was halted for an injured player. Jack Whitten scored the touchdown on a 7-yard scamper. Gonzalez added the PAT to give the Dillos a 10-0 lead.
The defense did not allow a first down and the punt was partially blocked resulting in a 4-yard punt. The Armadillos started at the Early 19.
Six plays later and a change in ends of the field for the 4th quarter, Anthony Salinas dove over from a yard out. The PAT was true and the scoreboard showed a 17-0 advantage for San Saba.
The Longhorns were unable to gain 10 yards and punted to the Dillos. The punt was downed near midfield.
The Armadillos took five plays again to score from 2 yards away with Hayden Oliver getting the honors. Diego Gonzalez kicked the PAT to make the score 24-0.
On the first play, Tucker Cromer picked off the Longhorn pass and returned it for a score but a penalty on the return put the ball at the Horn 20.
Gary Gant joined the scoring column with a 19-yard dash on 2nd down. The converted PAT made the score 31-0. San Saba had scored 28 points in 13:26 after the goal line stand.
Early tried 4th downs attempts on their last two drives. The second attempt ended a drive to the Armadillo 25 trying to break the shut out. San Saba got the ball with 1.3 seconds on the clock and took a knee to end the game.
The win brings San Saba to 6-2 overall and their first winning season in 9 years. The Dillos are 3-1 in district play and looking at their first playoff berth in 6 years.
Leading the offense was Hayden Oliver with 86 yards rushing on 17 carries and a touchdown. Gary Gant had 80 yards on11 rushes with Jack Whitten adding 68 yards on 10 attempts and a touchdown for each.
The defense was led by Tucker Cromer and Anthony Salinas, each garnering a turnover that led to Armadillo points. Assisting in the shut out effort were Hector Jimenez, Isaac Jimenez, Pete Torres, Wil Sloan, Whitten, Gant, Jason Wells, Ryan Parks, Juan Rivera, Chase Key and Tyler McIntosh with the big sack during the goal line stand.
In other district games, Brady defeated Comanche to take sole lead in district at 3-0. Comanche dropped into a tie with San Saba at 3-1. Bangs needed overtime to get past Coleman. Bangs is now 2-2 in the chase but needs a lot of help to make the playoffs. Coleman is 1-2 while Early and idle Dublin stand at 0-3. This week sees Brady hosting Coleman, Dublin going to Bangs and Comanche traveling down the road to Early. San Saba gets the week off before traveling to Comanche to tackle the Indians in the battle for second place in district on October 30.