What started bad for the San Saba Armadillos last Friday night, ended as an exciting game. The DeLeon Bearcats held on for a 21-19 win over the Armadillos after leading 21-0 at halftime. Four turnovers and some costly penalties lead to the halftime score, but San Saba turned things around in the second half and almost won.
San Saba received the opening kick but were forced to punt and the Bearcats gained a first down before the Dillo defense forced a punt. The remainder of the first half was played on the San Saba side of midfield.
The next Armadillo drive ended in a punt and DeLeon started at the San Saba 47. Five plays later, Matt Nowlin scored on a 6-yard run for the opening score of the game. Pedro Calzada kicked the PAT and the Bearcats had the 7-0 lead late in the opening quarter.
San Saba fumbled the ball back to DeLeon on their next possession and the Bearcats started at the Dillo 19. Austin Koonce capped the short drive on a 5-yard run on the first play of the second period. Calzada was true on the PAT and the lead was 14-0.
San Saba was moving the ball when a fumble near the 50-yard line gave the ball back to DeLeon. The Bearcats fumbled it back to San Saba at the 27. The third Armadillo fumble returned the ball to the Bearcats on the 32. On the second play, Mason Stewart found an open Koonce for a 19-yard score. The PAT by Calzada was good and with 3:14 left in the half, DeLeon led 21-0.
Jack Whitten threw an interception late in the half and DeLeon ran out the clock.
The Bearcats opened the second half with the ball, but the Armadillo defense soon forced a fumble and San Saba took over at their own 37. On the first play, Gary Gant got around the left end and outran the Bearcat defense for a 73-yard score. Diego Gonzalez came on the PAT but the kick was low and DeLeon had a 21-6 lead.
The team traded punts and 4th down stops on the next two possessions by each team.
As the fourth quarter opened, the Bearcats had the ball near midfield. The San Saba defense forced a fumble and the offense started showing what it is capable of. A drive of 70 yards on 8 plays followed. The key play was a screen to Gant that covered 25 yards and put San Saba deep in Bearcat territory. Jack Whitten capped the drive on a 7-yard run. San Saba elected to go for 2 on the conversion but failed and DeLeon led 21-12 midway through the period.
A punt gave the ball back to San Saba, but on the first play, Whitten under threw his receiver and Tanner Welch picked it off returning it to the 12.
The Armadillo defense pushed the Bearcats back and a short punt gave the ball to the Dillos at the 10. San Saba tried to score quickly on a pass from George Long to Ryan Plumley but was unsuccessful. A pass from Long to Joseph Henry was a success and Henry covered 66 yards before being tackled. The next play saw another Long pass, this one to Chase Key that resulted in the ball at the Bearcat 1-yard line. Long dove over for the score. The PAT kick by Gonzalez was good and the score showed 21-19 in favor of the Bearcats. DeLeon was able to run the last 1:10 off the clock for the win.
Gary Gant led the San Saba rushing attack with 101 yards and a touchdown. Henry and Gant had two catches each. Jack Whitten was 5-12 passing and George Long went 2-3.
The defense was led by Bobby Pairett and Whitten. Joseph Henry had 2 fumble recoveries as well. Making key tackles were Dustin Morgan, Hayden Oliver, Tucker Cromer, Tyler McIntosh, Chase Key and Diego Gonzalez.
The most outstanding offensive and defensive players as voted by a 3-member panel of “non-experts” were Gary Gant who had 101 yards rushing and 2 receptions for 33 yards and Jack Whitten who seemed to be everywhere on defense. Gant had several long runs called back in the first half because of penalties.
In other action from district teams, Bangs, Coleman and Brady posted wins. Early lost to #1 Cisco and Dublin and Comanche lost. This week, the Armadillos travel to Mason and the Puncher Dome. Mason lost to Iraan 21-0 and seemed to have the same problems San Saba did with turnovers on a wet field in San Angelo. Kickoff is set for 7:30.