Photo: Ozzie Jaime/TexasHSFootball

SAN ANTONIO – For the last two seasons, Salado ended its season with a loss to Bellville. This year it was able to stop that trend, but needed a little extra time.

In an exciting matchup of grit and grind, the Eagles (12-1), took down the Brahmas 13-10.

“It’s kind of our measuring stick,” Salado coach Alan Haire said following the overtime win. “You don’t want to be average, so you compare yourself against the best. I wasn’t here in ’15, I was here last year and we took that beating. We wanted to get back here and play them of course, we’re still in it and still playing.”

It wasn’t all smiles for the Eagles, though. The first drive of the game, the Brahmas (7-6) drove down field to the goal line, threatening to score. Brahma quarterback Marcus Ward handed it the ball off and before anyone knew it, the Eagles had control.

The Eagle offense punted on the next drive and had one more drive before half, resulting in an interception. Luckily, their defense remained level headed, forcing two punts before half.

In a strange turn of events, the game was tied with no score going into half. The old coach lingo about the start of a new game at half was more true than ever Saturday night.

Ozzie Jaime/TexasHSFootball

“We felt like we were in good shape,” Bellville coach Grady Rowe said after the game in which his team had 14 penalties. “We had so many penalties and it was still 0-0. So we felt like we were in good shape and obviously we were.”

Salado came out of half with a plan in hand and executed with near perfection. It started its first drive of the third quarter on the Brahma 30. The Slot-T offense milked 8:08 seconds off the clock that drive, moving the ball 70 yards and scoring the games first points.

All of the sudden, Bellville had to react. It did, as it drove 80 yards itself, scoring on a Chancellor Leaks-Gillum run.

Ozzie Jaime/TexasHSFootball

Neither team was able to do much of anything else, as their offenses call for time. With just over nine minutes left in the game, there wasn’t enough.

Overtime came, and the Eagles won the coin toss, but did what many won’t ever do. Especially after their defense just spent eight minutes of game time on the field.

Elect to defend first.

“I just stuck with the plan of, that’s pretty much percentage-wise what you want to do,” Haire said.

The percentages were in his favor. The Salado defense forced a field goal, and was down 10-7 and knew exactly what it needed to do.

Ozzie Jaime/TexasHSFootball

The run-first defense went pass-first. On the first play, quarterback Hayden Haire took the snap and lobbed one over the head of defenders to his running back Aaron Torczynski.

“Our only loss this year was to Fairfield and coach trusted me with the ball and I fumbled it, lost us the game,” Torczynski said of the teams last overtime game. “So I knew whenever he called my number, I wasn’t going to let my team down again.”

He didn’t.

The score gave the Eagles the win and moved them to the next round of the playoffs.

“I couldn’t really believe it, I was in disbelief,” Torczynski said. “Running the play, it was just part of the game.”

Gerald Tracy is an assistant editor of Texas football for TexasHSFootball, covering prep football in the San Antonio region. Follow Gerald on Twitter, @GTracySports, and read more of his content here.

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