The Salado Eagles demolished Mexia last week 46-8, clinching a postseason berth with two District 9-4A, D-II games left to play.
“Before this season started, if you’d have told me we’d be in the playoffs, I’m not sure I’d have believed you,” said Salado junior halfback Aaron Torczynski.
Salado was 1-20 the past two years.
“It was very interesting what happened this season,” Torczynski said. “After our first two games of the year (losses to Troy and Comfort), we were at a fork in the road. Would we just give in like in the past? Or would we turn this thing around?
“Well, we have way too much character on this team to fold. And this new coaching staff of ours was not about to let us quit on ourselves — they kept pushing us and it paid off.”
Indeed it did.
Since the Week-2 loss, the Eagles have won five of six games.
“No chance,” Torczynski said. “No way are we satisfied just clinching a playoff spot. Now we want to get the best seed we can. We’d like to go a few rounds deep into the playoffs, too.”
The Eagles (5-3, 2-1) face host Robinson (6-2, 2-1) on Friday night. The Rockets still need a win to clinch their spot in the postseason derby. They are averaging 46 points per contest.
“Robinson will be hungry and playing with a huge amount of intensity,” said Salado first-year head coach Alan Haire. “They’re on a roll offensively, they’re so explosive. I just hope we can match their intensity this week and give them a ballgame.”
Salado, statistically speaking, has the best defense in the district, yielding just 14 points per game. And stats aside, Salado may have one of the stingiest, toughest 4A defenses in Texas.
These Eagles fly to the football.
“Our defense did just an amazing job against an athletic Mexia squad,” Haire said. “Giving only eight points to Mexia was an awesome effort by our defense.
“Our outside linebacker Jacob Wilk led the charge. I was so impressed with what he did on that field. And then Mac Miller, Tate Hill, Wyatt Bagley — three other linebackers — gave us relentless effort. Their pursuit to the football was excellent.”
And a great defense, so the saying goes, is a great offense. If your guys are moving chains and chewing clock, your own defense gets to rest and recharge.
That’s where Torczynski and his offensive mates come into play.
The Eagles aren’t allergic to a forward pass, it’s just not their first choice of a play. Or their second, third or fourth choices either.
To Haire, three or four passes a game is plenty.
So Haire will be banking heavily on Torczynski, his fellow backs and the Eagles offensive line to be effective running the ball against Robinson.
“Last week, our two tackles Robert Soto and Jonah Bassa dominated at the line of scrimmage,” Haire said. “They got the initial push so our running backs could continuously get to the second level. After that, it was up to our backs to come through — and they did.”
As for Torczynski, Haire said, “He’s a sparkplug. He’s one of those guys that’s going 100 mph whether it’s Monday or Friday. He knows one speed — full speed.
“He’s the engine of what we want to do on offense. He may not have the size or speed of your usual outstanding running back but he more than makes up for that with his intensity — and effort.”