COLLEGE STATION — Salado’s Parker Seaton chased down La Grange holder Ryan Cooper on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime. Although the backup senior defensive back wasn’t able to get to Cooper, he put enough pressure on him to force a bad pass. The ball bounced off the turf and the Eagles celebrated a 35-34 Division II-4A bi-district playoff win Friday night at Tigerland Field.
“I hadn’t gotten in much, except for on punts, the whole game. One of our corners got hurt, we moved one of our safeties to corner and I moved to safety,” Seaton said. “ I lined up on that PAT on the line and they just let me through. I saw that he picked up the ball and I chased after him. Unfortunately I didn’t get to him before he let it go, but I definitely put pressure on him.
“It feels great to get this win. It was definitely a team effort. We worked all week in practice, even though it was rainy and muddy. We always put in the work, so we definitely deserve this one.”
Four quarters of football was not enough to decide this contest. Tied 28-28 at the end of regulation, it took Salado (7-4) just two plays to score on its overtime possession. Jake Harvey ran for 20 yards and then Aaron Torczynski took it in from 5 yards out. Jake Walrath’s extra point gave the Eagles a 35-28 lead.
The Leopards (4-6) got their OT possession and five plays later quarterback Colter Siptak took it in from 13 yards out. Instead of going for the PAT to force a second overtime, La Grange coach Matt Kates elected to go for two.
“A football game is 160, 170 plays of execution. Obviously everyone is going to talk about the last one, and that’s OK,” Kates said. “I know how it looks now, but we felt good about it all week. It’s just another play you go execute. (Salado) did an excellent job of playing defense. It comes down to execution. They executed their offense really well. We knew they were good coming in. To keep going in overtime I felt was not beneficial to us.”
First-year Salado coach Alan Haire applauded Kates for his gutsy call.
“I think they went for two because they didn’t think they could get another stop,” Haire said.
“Sometimes you come out on top and sometimes you don’t. I’m just glad our kids made a play.
“I’m so happy for our kids, elated for our kids. They worked so hard to get to this point. Really all you have to do is believe you have a shot, and our kids believed they had a shot.”
Down 17-14 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles took their first lead of the game with two quick scores.
Trey Sheppard scored on a 1-yard run to put Salado up 21-17, and on the first play of La Grange’s next possession, Cade Depoy picked up a fumbled snap and returned it 33 yards for a 28-17 Eagles lead.
The Leopards responded with a 25-yard scoring run by Santana Herrera and a two-point conversion pass from Cooper to Travis Ferley to cut their deficit to 28-25. Miguel Ramirez kicked a tying 23-yard field goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.
The Eagles will face the winner of tonight’s matchup between Bellville and Orangefield in the area round next week.
“This is maybe the biggest win in school history,” said Torczynski, who ran for 152 yards on 14 carries.
"Salado is on the rise. It’s a new level of intensity around here. We’re for real.”