For the second year in a row, the San Saba Armadillos won their Homecoming game. The Eagles from Johnson City provided the opposition. The Dillos ran to a 35-7 win behind the running effort of Gary Gant.
Before the game started, San Saba did their Homecoming activities with one exception. The Homecoming Queen was not revealed until halftime.
San Saba received the opening kick. It looked like they would drive down the field at will but a fumble at the 34 of Johnson City was recovered by Eagle Chris Outlaw. The Dillo defense stepped up and forced a punt while allowing only 1 yard.
The next Armadillo drive also ended in a fumble when Dustin Morgan had the ball knocked out of his hands by the helmet of an Eagle. Outlaw was on the recovery again for Johnson City. This time the defense stopped the Eagles on 4th down at the San Saba 37.
Gary Gant got the drive going on a nice 18-yard run. The offensive line of Tyler McIntosh, Bobby Pairett, Fernando Anaya, Anthony Salinas and Willie Wiley opened up nice holes for the backs all game. Gant finished the drive on a great 25-yard run for the score. Diego Gonzalez was on for the PAT and the Dillos led 7-0.
Gonzalez kept the Eagles pinned deep in their own territory with his long kicks all game. The best starting position Johnson City had was the 30. The Dillo defense was up to the task again and a short punt gave the ball back to the offense at the Eagle 24.
Seven plays later, Gary Gant had his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge. Gonzalez added the kick and the Armadillos led 14-0 with 12 seconds left in the opening period.
It looked like the San Saba defense had stopped the Eagles on their next drive, but a roughing the punter penalty gave Johnson City a first down. The Eagles took advantage of the opportunity. Quarterback Cody Smith hit Kris McDonald on a short screen pass and McDonald raced to the end zone for a 23-yard score. Michael Redman made the conversion and the lead was cut to 14-7.
San Saba responded with an eight play drive capped by a 13-yard pass from George Long to Ryan Plumley. Gonzalez was true on the PAT and the lead was back to 14 at 21-7.
Chance Gotcher got the ball right back for the Armadillos when he intercepted a pass. Gant scored his third touchdown of the game from three yards out to finish the 5 play drive. The PAT was good and San Saba had a 28-7 lead going into halftime.
During the halftime, Anabel Estrada was announced as the 2008 Homecoming Queen.
Johnson City started the second half with the ball but the San Saba defense stopped them and forced a punt. An excellent return put the ball at the Eagle 38.
A bad exchange on a hand off resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Cody Atwood and Johnson City had the ball again.
Gary Gant made a diving interception to give the ball back to the Dillos at the Eagle 42. The offense was unable to score and turned the ball over on downs at the 3-yard line.
The Eagles drove down the field until Anthony Salinas fell on a fumble at the Armadillo 37. The offense failed to gain a first down and punted back to Johnson City.
The Dillo defense stiffened and the Eagles punted back, pinning San Saba back at their own 8-yard line. A 72-yard run by Hayden Oliver put the ball at the Eagle 10 after a “horse-collar” penalty. The Johnson City player was hurt on the tackle.. He was helped off the field by the coaches. Gant scored for the 4th time on a 5-yard run with 7:13 left in the game. Diego Gonzalez made the kick and the 35-7 lead.The defense held again and Johnson City punted back to the 45-yard line on the Eagle side of the field.
The Armadillos drove inside the 10 but a 28-yard field goal sailed wide right and Johnson City took over at the 20 with 1:59 left. They ran out the clock and San Saba had their first win of the season.San Saba had a great game running the ball. They had 50 carries for 364 yards. Gary Gant led the team with 31 carries for 211 yards and 4 touchdowns. This is the most yards rushing by the team and by an individual since the same two teams played in 2001. Sean Smith had 294 yards and the Dillos had 381 yards on the ground that game. This gave offensive player of the game to Gant with an assist from the offensive line.
The entire defense had a good game. Anthony Salinas, Joseph Henry, Bobby Pairett, Chase Key, Gant, Dustin Morgan, Ryan Parks, Jack Whitten, Tucker Cromer, Oliver, John Hartranft, Fernando Anaya, Chance Gotcher and Ryan Plumley made good stops and kept pressure on the Eagles the entire game.
The panel voted the defensive player of the game to Joseph Henry.
In other district action, Coleman and Brady stayed undefeated, Early and Bangs went to 2-2, Dublin got their first win and Comanche dropped to 0-4 entering the start of district play this week. This week sees Bangs going to Early, Coleman traveling to Comanche and the Dublin Lions come to Rogan Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30.