SALADO — Salado head coach Alan Haire knew his team would have its hands full playing an undefeated Austin Hyde Park team coming into the game averaging 46 points per game.
The Eagles delivered their most dominating performance of the season so far, winning 28-9 over Hyde Park in front of a standing-room only crowd.
Salado used a powerful running game to rack up 412 yards of total offense.
The win was the first for Haire as Salado head coach.
“It feels great, because I’m so proud of these kids,” said Haire. “I wanted these kids to experience success, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Running backs Jake Harvey and Trey Sheppard both rushed for over 100 yards in the contest, with Harvey picking up 117, and Sheppard 101.
The Salado defense wreaked havoc all game on Panther quarterback DJ Bolger.
Led by Wyatt Bagley, Andrew Sniggs, Willy Wigham, Zach Adams and Jacob Wilk, who each recorded a sack in the game, the Eagle defense made it difficult on Bolger all night.
Sniggs picked up five sacks in the contest.
The game did not start well for Salado as Hyde Park’s Kyle Granger took the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
On the Panthers’ third possession of the game, Bolger was picked off as he threw to his right by Salado defender Quade Brown, giving the Eagles possession on the Hyde Park 20.
Three plays later, quarterback Hayden Haire pitched the ball to Harvey, who scampered 24 yards to the end zone for the touchdown. Tate Harvey added the two-point conversion, to give Salado the lead with 2:54 to play in the first quarter.
On the next Salado possession, the Eagles (1-2) were successful finding the end zone again.
Salado used a 3-minute, eight-play drive — all running plays — that ended when Jake Harvey found paydirt from 17 yards out, putting the Eagles up 14-6 with 9:28 left in the second quarter.
Jake Harvey added another touchdown from 40 yards out, racing past three Panther defenders with a minute left until halftime.
Hyde Park (2-1) started the second half driving down the field when Bolger was pressured and heaved up a pass that was picked off by Cutter Hudgens, giving Salado possession on its own 44.
Six plays later, Haire pitched to Sheppard, who raced his way to the pylon from 22 yards out, giving the Eagles a comfortable 19-point lead at 28-9.
Salado punter Trevor Stump used his leg and pinned the Panthers deep in their own territory several times, and proved to be a pivotal part of the win.
“Defense played incredible tonight,” said Haire. “We pressured them up front and stayed in coverage. Hats off to our defense. We need to carry this into next week, and it starts on Saturday.”