Salado quarterback Hayden Haire (12) hands off to Aaron Torczynski (5) during a game against Austin St. Dominic Savio.

There will be lots at stake tonight at Eagle Stadium in Salado.

The Eagles host Waco Connally with the winner securing third-place out of District 9-4A, Division II.

Salado is coming off a high-scoring shootout, losing to Robinson 61-49, but head coach Alan Haire was pleased with the way his team played against a high caliber team like the Rockets.

“Credit to our kids for battling all game long,” Haire said. “We just ran out of time there at the end, but our guys played their tails off the entire game.”

Several times in the game, Salado kick returners Cutter Hudgens and Quade Brown gave the offense great field position with tremendous returns, and Jake Walrath was a perfect three for three kicking extra points.

Offensively, the Eagles’ running game had all kinds of success.

Salado (5-4, 2-2) racked up 514 yards on the ground. Aaron Torczynski led the way with 200 yards and three touchdowns, while Jake Harvey ran for 163 yards and three scores as well. Trey Sheppard also scampered for 119 yards on a team-high 20 carries.

“We are blessed with some great offensive kids here in Salado that really understand the game,” Haire said. “We have three tremendous backs that we feel like when we call their number, they will get the job done for us.

“I have been at some schools where we were lucky to have one back that could do that.”

Offensive linemen Jonah Bassa and Willy Whigham both applied tremendous force up front for the backs and quarterback Hayden Haire.

Connally (5-4, 2-2) has been an offensive juggernaut all season long, averaging 34 points per game.

“They are very well coached,” Connally head coach Shane Anderson said. “They do a great job running the slot-T, and we know we will have to score on just about every possession and hold onto the football. On defense, they really fly around to the football.”

Alan Haire believes containing the Cadets’ playmakers will be key.

“We know that we have to get a few stops and limit their first downs,” Alan Haire said. “Their front line is physical and probably the one of the most physical out of the whole district.”

Both teams know that no matter what happens tonight, they will both be headed to the playoffs, and they will live to play another day.

“Whether you get a third or fourth seed,” Alan Haire said, “you just have to play the game that day and know that you can only control what you can.

“It’s all about getting better each week and improving on the areas you need to.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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