LITTLE RIVER-ACADEMY — Both Salado and Academy were stunned by losses in the opening week of the season.
It was Salado that was able to turn that negative abruptly into a positive.
Behind a four-touchdown evening from Connor Cook, the Eagles used their familiar ground-oriented attack to carve up the Bumblebees 35-7 in a nondistrict game Friday night at John Glover Stadium. Cook went for 207 yards on 25 carries as the Eagles took control from the outset.
“The linemen, oh man, they did a great job,” Cook said. “We’re not going to get too relaxed about this. We’re going to keep working.”
The Bees had moments of moving the ball well but were unable to gain the consistency needed to put pressure on the Eagles on either side of the ball.
“They are good at what they do,” Academy coach Paul Williams said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes. But what we stress is that we don’t worry about our opponent, we’re trying to take care of ourselves. We just made too many mistakes.”
The Eagles didn’t let a little thing like the opening kickoff keep them from getting the ball first and getting a quick opening score. They recovered an onside kick to take over the first possession at the Academy 49.
“We’re going to look for opportunities to do that,” Salado coach Alan Haire said. “That gives us a boost, and we were able to execute it.” 
Nine rushing plays later, Cook muscled his way into the end zone from the 3 and the Eagles had a 7-0 lead at the 8:38 mark of the quarter.
Salado defender Rustin Hale scooped up a Bee fumble on the ensuing possession and had the Eagles back in business at the Academy 40.
From there, the Eagles needed seven plays to cross the goal line. Brown slipped into the end zone from the 4 to make it a 14-0 Salado lead at the 3:44 point in the first quarter.
The Eagles added another score late in the second quarter to take a 21-0 advantage into halftime.
Cook hammered his way through Bee tacklers on the eighth play of a 63-yard march, going in from the 14 for a third Eagle touchdown.
Salado continued its dominance of the game in the second half. The Eagles took the opening possession 86 yards in nine plays. Quarterback Hutton Haire connected on the only pass the Eagles would throw, finding Brown for 30 yards to the 1 to set up another score for Cook and a 28-0 lead.
Cook punctuated the Eagles’ final score with a 63-yard burst one play after Peyton Miller recovered an Academy fumble to make it a 35-0 advantage late in the third quarter.
Academy got on the board in the waning minutes of the game when quarterback Rian White kept around left end for a 26-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left.
The Bees travel to take on Hempstead next Friday while the Eagles will also be on the road to meet Austin Travis in a Thursday game.
“We just try to have the mindset than any adversity we have creates and opportunity,” Alan Haire said. “We just want to improve and we did that.”

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