Generally, every team has a small number of plays meant to fool opposing defenses into giving up free yardage.
Salado just happened to have translated that free yardage into scoring plays in its first victory of the season Friday, 48-22 over Florence.
Using a hard count to try and draw the opposing defense offsides, the Eagles’ have a designed play called “ghost” in which the quarterback and a designated receiver know to go deep in hopes of connecting for a big yardage.
The play worked to perfection several times, but none bigger than a 63-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Ryan Simmons to Brandon Womac on the first play of Salado’s third offensive series. The hard count forced the Buffaloes defensive end to jump across the line, at which point the ball was snapped and Simmons uncorked the pass down the right sideline to a wide-open Womac to put the Eagles ahead 14-0.
“That’s a play we always run, we do it in practice, and if they jump offsides, we’re still going to run the play and chunk it,” Salado coach Glenn Talbott said.
“It just paid off for us, finally.”
The deep passing attack really opened things up and allowed the Eagles to rack up a season-high 525 yards — 295 through the air from Simmons — that was highlighted by five passes of 20-plus yards, including touchdowns of 63, 63 and 51 yards.
“A lot of things were clicking for us tonight,” Talbott said.
Hornets remain perfect
Gatesville continued using the same approach from its nondistrict schedule, and the Hornets got the exact same result, as well.
Senior quarterback Cole Edmiston delivered the bulk of the offense, and Gatesville’s defense held Lampasas well below its average production en route to a 33-13 victory in its District 8-3A opener.
Edmiston completed nine of 15 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown and added 107 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries, extending Gatesville’s undefeated start to the season to 6-0. The Badgers, who have lost four consecutive games, still have lots of work to do to become a playoff contender, but they took a step in the right direction Friday.
Lampasas (1-5, 0-1) struck first and held a 13-12 lead in the second quarter before going into halftime trailing by six points, 19-13. But the Badgers finished with only 221 yards and fumbled five times.
By the Numbers
- 9 — Players who carried the ball for Lampasas during its 33-13 loss at Gatesville.
- 26 — Incompletions thrown by Florence quarterback Kaleb Hardy in Friday’s 48-22 loss to Salado, including two separate strings of five consecutive misses and a 2-for-13 start.
- Burnet (2-4, 0-1 8-3A) at Gatesville (6-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday — The Bulldogs sport one of District 8-3A’s worst defenses, especially against the pass, and will have their hands full facing a Gatesville offense averaging 36 points per game behind one of the area’s top quarterbacks.
- Llano (2-4, 0-1 8-3A) at Lampasas (1-5, 0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday — This could be the Badgers best opportunity to snap its current skid. The Yellow Jackets are riding a three-game losing streak, having faced some tough competition over the last few weeks. Surprisingly, Llano has a better road record (2-1) than at home (0-3), averaging 17 more points per game on the road.
- Salado (1-5, 1-2 13-2A Div. I) at Troy (2-4, 0-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday — The Eagles are coming off their first victory of the season and face a Troy team that’s dropped its last four straight, including last week’s 42-14 loss to McGregor. Salado hopes to have starting quarterback Ryan Simmons healthy after reinjuring his ankle late Friday following a four-touchdown performance.
- Florence (3-3, 1-2) at Little River-Academy (2-4, 0-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday — The Buffaloes were described as schizophrenic by their coach Paul Smith after a loss to previously winless Salado. If Florence has any shot at the playoffs, it has to be on its game against the Bumblebees, who have yet to win a District 13-2A Div. I game. The Buffaloes got off to a slow start against Salado and got behind, especially quarterback Kaleb Hardy, who hit only two of his first 13 passes. A faster start will be imperative on the road in Little River.
Contact Alex Byington at email@example.com or (254) 501-7566
Clay Whittington and Nick Talbot contributed to this report.