SALADO — Salado was able to move the ball against the Lorena defense Friday night. The Eagles managed more than 200 yards on the ground, they just weren’t able to put any points on the board as they fell 21-0 to the Leopards in a District 9-4A-II contest.
“We got the ground game going, we established the run. We just didn’t get in the end zone,” first-year Salado coach Alan Haire said. “We moved the ball up and down the field, but we had some critical miscues that kept us from getting in the end zone. Credit their defense. They have a great football team over there. They stiffened up when they needed to and we couldn’t get it in.”
Salado (4-3, 1-1) took the ball to start the game and embarked on a 15-play, 66-yard drive that ate up more than eight minutes off the clock and took the Eagles down to Lorena 9-yard line. But Jake Walrath missed a 25-yard field goal attempt and Salado came up empty-handed on what may have been its best scoring opportunity of the night.
“I thought we were right there at times. We drove it inside the 10 on our first possession and took a lot of time off the clock but we didn’t come up with any points and that really hurt us,” Haire said. “I thought (my players) competed well. I love the way they got after the defending district champions. They played their hearts out for me and that’s all I can ask.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Leopards (4-3, 2-0) broke the stalemate with a 6-yard scoring run by Thor Hoffman two minutes into the second quarter. After Hayden Schrader intercepted a Hayden Haire pass late in the half, Lorena capitalized with a 30-yard scoring pass from Cole Baker to Ben Johnston that extended its lead to 14-0 at the break.
“We gave up a big play right there right before the half and that kind of hurt,” Alan Haire said.
The Leopards put the game away late in the third quarter. After a Salado drive ended when the Eagles failed to convert on a fourth-and-5 from the Lorena 16, the Leopards proceeded to go 87 yards on five plays. The drive was sparked by a 62-yard pass from Baker to Johnston and capped by an 11-yard scoring run by Baker.
Lorena coach Ray Biles was happy with his team’s defensive effort.
“We had our moments. I thought defensively we did a real good job,” Biles said. “This is one of those offenses you don’t see every week, the slot-T. Usually its spread, spread, spread. Our kids had to do a very good job of being patient and also being disciplined as far as making their reads. I thought we did a great job of that all night. We bent a little bit but we never broke. I was very proud of the defensive effort.”
Biles was also impressed with Salado’s effort.
“It was a good ball game. Their kids played hard,” Biles said of the Eagles. “Coach Haire and his staff are doing a great job with them. They’ll get there. They have a lot to be proud of. They have a good football team.”
Aaron Torczynski led Salado offensively with 99 yards rushing on 17 carries. Trey Sheppard added 86 yards on 19 attempts.