The San Saba Armadillos defeated the Hico Tigers 24-20 in a thrilling game last Friday night at historic Rogan Field. Both teams struggled to move the ball on the ground. San Saba had 191 yards rushing while Hico amassed 192 yards. The win keeps the district title chances alive for the Armadillos. Hico could tie for the title with a Goldthwaite win in the “Battle of the River” this week and a Hico win over Goldthwaite the following week.Hico won the coin toss and deferred giving the ball to the Armadillos to start the game. The kick was returned to the San Saba 34. The Tiger defense forced San Saba to punt. Russell Lowe punted the ball to the Hico 15.The Armadillo defense allowed a first down before forcing the Tigers to punt. The ball sailed out of bounds at the San Saba 43.The Armadillos used seven plays to score. Garrett Hartranft gained 9 yards to get the offense going. A pass to Lowe in the flat garnered 16 more yards. Quarterback Kelan Verette moved the ball to the Hico 18 yard line. Sean Argote got around the right side for the score from that point. Rodney Ortiz came on the kick the PAT and the score was 7-0.On the ensuing kickoff, Hico tried to run the starburst return. Ortiz kicked the ball into the end zone. The ball was handed off to the trigger of the return when TJ Hibler hit him and the ball came out. Hico recovered at the Tiger 5. On the second play, the ball came out and Russton Ellis jumped on it for the turnover at the Hico 9.On the second play, Verette scored from 9 yards. The Ortiz PAT made the score 14-0.Ortiz kicked the ball into the end zone again but the Tigers elected not to bring it out, settling for the touchback. The ball was placed at the 25 yard line. The Tigers were unable to gain a first down and punted back to San Saba.Sean Argote gained 14 yards on first down. On the next play, Verette under threw his receiver and the pass was intercepted by Colton Stegall and returned to the Tiger 48.Hico had to punt again after moving the ball into Armadillo country. San Saba took over at the 20 yard line after the short kick. The Armadillo offense could not gain a first down and Russell Lowe punted the ball to the Hico 39.The drive for the Tigers ended when Russton Ellis recovered his second fumble of the game at the San Saba 37.The Armadillos drove to the Hico 9 yard line before Rodney Ortiz was called on to kick a 26-yard field goal. The kick made the score 17-0 in favor of San Saba with 1:38 left in the first half.Hico tried to run the starburst on the kickoff but the return was stopped at the Hico 18. A 23-yard gain by Duane Hyles moved the ball to near midfield but the clock ran out, ending the half with the 17-0 score.The second half began with Hico starting at the 9 yard line after the Ortiz kick. The San Saba defense soon forced a punt. The ball was downed at the Armadillo 33 but a penalty after the play moved the ball back to the San Saba 18. On 3rd down, Kelan Verette was back to pass when the ball came out and was recovered at the 19 by the Tigers.Three plays later, Colton Stegall found Duane Hyles open the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. The PAT was blocked by Sean Argote leaving the score 17-6 Armadillos.San Saba could not move the ball on the next possession and Russell Lowe punted back to Hico. The Tigers started at the 29 yard line. A key play in the drive was a pass towards the sideline to Brandon Stewart. The ball came out during the run for a fumble. When San Saba tried to cover it, an Armadillo on the ball was ruled out of bounds giving possession back to Hico. The eighth play of the drive showed the importance of practicing a tip drill. The pass from Colton Stegall bounced off of one Hico player into the hands of Bob McAdams for a touchdown. On the 2-point try, Duane Hyles had crossed the goal line before the ball came out. San Saba had thought the ball came out first. The score stood 17-14 in favor of San Saba with 1:01 left in the 3rd quarter.The short kick was returned to the Armadillo 38 yard line. On 2nd down, Kelan Verette connected with Russell Lowe in the flat for a gain of 18 yards. Two plays later, Garrett Hartranft had blockers in front around the right side. Lowe blocked the safety, Colton Stegall, and Hartranft raced 41 yards into the end zone for the score. Rodney Ortiz made the score 24-14 with the PAT. The clock 11:11 left in the game.Ortiz booted the ball into the end zone for the touchback. Hico used the clock and the ground game to go the 75 yards. The Tigers ran 15 plays to score. A middle screen from Stegall to James Rice covered the final 7 yards. Hico tried for 2 points again. The Dillo defense held and kept the score 24-20 with 4:30 left in the game.The Tigers attempted an onside kick but was penalized, moving the ball back to the 35. A second onside attempt was flagged as well, but San Saba took the ball at the Dillo 48. Hico was forced to use their final time out with 1:56 left. San Saba gained a first down and was able to run out the clock for the thrilling 24-20 win. It is the 2nd time the Armadillos have beaten the Tigers in 7 games played between the schools.Hartranft led the team with 83 yards rushing and the 4th quarter touchdown. Sean Argote added 45 yards and the initial score. Kelan Verette chipped in 38 yards and a score. Jarrett Mathis had 25 yards. Russell Lowe only had 1 carry for 0 yards but had all 3 receptions for 48 yards in key situations.Tim’s tip of the cap: Colton Stegall completed 7 of 12 passes for 87 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Armadillos. Duane Hyles gained over 100 yards on the grounds as well.The other district game had Goldthwaite downing De Leon 26-0. Santo was open. The district standings have San Saba and Goldthwaite at 2-0; Hico at 2-1 and Santo and De Leon winless in district. Hico is open this week, De Leon travels to Santo and San Saba goes to Goldthwaite for the annual “Battle of the River.” Kickoff is set for 7:30 but fans better come early. A big crowd is expected with the game meaning the winner has the inside track for the district title. An Armadillo win clinches a tie but San Saba would have the tie-breaker with wins over Hico and Goldthwaite. An Eagle win creates a situation if Hico defeats Goldthwaite in week 10, there would be tri-champs.