Spin Control

Brinkley shreds Salado, record book in wild night win
BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor

SALADO—There was something in the air Friday night in Salado.

And Ethan Brinkley was the chief meteorologist.

Riding the pin-point precision of their junior quarterback, Rockdale rallied for a 52- 41 come-from-behind victory in tiny Eagle Stadium in 105 degree temperatures for the second straight week.

Combining for 55 first downs, 93 points and almost 1,000 yards of offense, the game took three hours and 1 minute to complete in the sweltering heat.

In just his 12th game as a starter, Brinkley broke—nay, dug up and buried—most of the single game passing marks in the RHS record book.

His 29-for-39 accuracy (75 percent) produced 444 yards and four touchdown strikes through the airwaves.

“He is just playing with so much confidence right now,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “We have more confidence in throwing the ball than in handing it off right now, no matter where we are on the field or what the situation.”


Ethan Brinkley passed for 444 yards and four touchdowns on 29 completions Friday. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Ethan Brinkley passed for 444 yards and four touchdowns on 29 completions Friday. Reporter/Cliff Dungan His yardage shatters Joe Sanders’ mark of 273 in a playoff game against Coldspring in 2009 by almost 200 yards.

From the same game, Brinkley’s 29 completions betters Sanders 22.

His four touchdowns ties Joe’s older brother Matt’s mark of four scoring passes in 2004 versus Giddings.

At one point, the 6-foot-2, 180- pound junior completed eight straight passes and 12-of-13.

As an indicator of things to come, he opened the game with five consecutive completions for 130 yards.

Salado (1-1) has become fodder for the Tiger record book. Last season, Daniel Brooks established a new single-game rushing mark and became the first Rockdale runner to reach 300 yards.

The pass catching woes of a year ago were also buried in Salado as Cody Skubal and Zach Garza and the rest of the receiving crew snagged every aerial Brinkley spun their way.


Joe Sanders Joe Sanders The 6-foot-3 Skubal—the basketball player who hadn’t set foot on a football field since junior high—snagged eight passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, one from 50 yards on a catchand run slant and the other on a spectacular climb-the-ladder snag above a crowd in the end zone from nine yards out.

His receiving yardage breaks Gene Grayson’s 33-year old mark of 188 yards. Grayson also owns the school record for receptions with 12 in the same game against Caldwell.

Garza, who had one catch entering the game, hauled in seven passes from Brinkley and also passed the century mark with 123 yards and a score.

Dillon Goodman added five catches for 64 yards and a score and Austin Caffey four for 39 yards.


At left: Dailynn Ramey searches for room after scoring twice. At left: Dailynn Ramey searches for room after scoring twice. “We have six or seven guys we don’t mind throwing the ball to,” Miller said. “The passing game is rolling. It gives us a whole new look. What gets overlooked is that our offensive line is doing a heck of a job in pass protection.”

While defense was at a premium Friday night, it was an unforced error that turned the game in Rockdale’s favor and a defensive stand that preserved the win.

After Dailynn Ramey (17 carries,

56 yards, 2 TD) bulled over from the three-yard line to tie the game at 42-42 with 10:49 remaining to be played (followed by Brinkley’s successful two-point conversion pass to Patric Trejo), on the ensuing kickoff, Reece Nicholson fielded the ball at the 9-yard line, then fumbled.

He scooped up the loose ball, scampered into his own end zone and downed the ball—which is a safety—and provided the Tigers with a 44-42 lead and the ball.


In the middle, Coach Jeff Miller congratulates his offensive line after a score. In the middle, Coach Jeff Miller congratulates his offensive line after a score. With the ball at the Salado 43 after the safety punt, the Tigers then ate up almost five minutes of clock to cover the acreage with Brinkley placing a perfect pass in the hands of Goodman between two defenders in the end zone on fourth and goal.

The safety and the score meant that Salado would have to score twice in the final 5:47 for a tie or win.

This is where the Big Blue defense bowed up in the 100- degree heat and nearly 180 minutes on the turf to earn their keep.

With the ball on Salado’s 43, Horatio Estrada stopped Peyton Best for a yard loss on a pass play on first down.

After a 10-yard pickup on a Simmons scramble and facing a third-and 1, Patrick David—who had played both ways and was in on over 100 plays—busted through the line and dragged down Best for a three-yard loss.


Far left, Zach Garza just misses out on blocking a field goal attempt. Far left, Zach Garza just misses out on blocking a field goal attempt. “He’s a big-time player,” Miller said of David’s heroics. “That’s what they do, make big plays. He had a burst of inspiration.”

Looking at fourth-and-four, Simmons rolled out and was dumped by James David which caused a fumble and gave possession of the ball to Rockdale one way or the other with 4 minutes showing.

“We are on the verge of being a pretty good team,” said Miller. “ This was huge for us. It was crucial that we come out of here with a win.”

TIGER SEASON LEADERS

Rushing— Ramey 26 -118 2TD, David 10-39 1 TD, Hayes 5-23, Nelson 2-5, Brinkley 9-(-15) 1 TD.

Passing— Brinkley 46- 68-3, 617 yards, 5 TD.

Receiving—Skubal 11-225 3 TD, Garza 8 -130 1 TD, Gibbs 8 - 90, Caffey 7-70, Goodman 5- 64 1 TD, Hayes 3-27, Garza 1-7, David 1- 5, Ramey 3- 6.


Top left, Cody Skubal breaks loose for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Top left, Cody Skubal breaks loose for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Tackles— David 26, Hayes 21, Schneider 8, Woolverton 8, David, P. 7, Caffey 7, Estrada 8, Garza 8, Hamilton 5, Ramey 3, Burton 2, Garcia 3, McQuinn 4, Skubal 4, Goodman 3, Zelaya 3.

Rockdale Salado
30 First downs 25
26-90 Rushes-yards 35-219
29-39-1 Passes 14-23- 0
444 Passing yards 175
534 Total offense 394
0- 0 Punts 0- 0
2-2 Fumbles-lost 1-1
4-25 Penalties-yards 6-49
Score by quarters
Rockdale 7 13 14 17—51
Salado 15 13 6 8— 42


At top in the middle, Zach Garza goes over the top for a 27-yard touchdown grab. At top in the middle, Zach Garza goes over the top for a 27-yard touchdown grab.

Scoring summary

First quarter SALADO—Joe Owens 41 pass from Ryan Simmons (pass failed) 10:04 ROCKDALE— Ethan Brinkley 1 run (Noe Zelaya kick) 5:14 SALADO— Peyton Best 31 pass from Simmons (Simmons run) 2:27

Second quarter ROCKDALE— Cody Skubal 50 pass from Brinkley (pass failed) 10:43 SAL ADO— Simmons 9 run ( Simmons kick) 7:03 ROCKDALE—Zach Garza 27 pass from Brinkley (Zelaya kick) 1:47 SALADO—Jim Wentrcek 5 pass from Simmons (kick failed) :00

Third quarter ROCKDALE— Dailynn Ramey 4 run (run failed) 8:24 SALADO— Simmons 2 run (kick block) 5:21 ROCKDALE—Skubal 9 pass from Brinkley (Goodman pass from Brinkley) 1:39


At the top, Markus Hayes chews up some tough yardage at the end of the game. At the top, Markus Hayes chews up some tough yardage at the end of the game. Fourth quarter SALADO—Simmons 2 run (Reece Nicholson pass from Simmons) 11:55 ROCKDALE— Ramey 3 run ( Trejo pass from Brinkley) 10:49 ROCKDALE—safety, Nichlolson downed ball in end zone 10:39 ROCKDALE— Goodman 17 pass from Brinkley (Zelaya kick) 5:47

The Leaders

RUSHING— ROCKDALE: Dailynn Ramey 17-56 2TD, Hayes 4-17, David 2-15, Brinkley 4-2. SALADO—Simmons 17-117. PASSING—ROCKDALE: Brinkley 29-39-1, 444 yards, 4 TD. SALADO— Simmons 14-23- 0, 175 yards 3 TD. RECEIVING— ROCKDALE: Skubal 8-196 2TD, Garza 7-123 TD, Goodman 5- 64 TD, Caffey 4-38, Gibbs 3-19, Ramey 2-4. SALADO—Wong 4-37. TACKLES—David 12, Hayes 8, Estrada 5, Garza 5, David 5, Schneider 4, Woolverton 4, Caffey 4, Gibbs 3, Alonzo 3.

23-3A STANDINGS

District Season
WLWLPtsOpp
Smithville00207033
Giddings00208022
Rockdale00116577
Navasota00116842
LaGrange00111534
Caldwell00114269

Last week—Rockdale 52, Salado 41; Smithville 43, Wharton 12; Caldwell 28, Austin Crockett 6; Willis 35, Navasota 28; LaGrange 6, Yoakum 0; Giddings 45, Brookshire-Royal 3.

This week— Cameron at Rockdale; Madisonville at Caldwell; LaVernia at Giddings; Columbia at LaGrange; Bryan Rudder at Navasota; Wimberley at Smithville.

PASSING BY

YARDS
444 Ethan Brinkley vs. Salado
2011 (29-39, 4 TD)
273 Joe Sanders vs. Coldspring
2009 (22-36)
COMPLETIONS
29 Ethan Brinkley vs. Salado
2011 (39 attempts)
22 Joe Sanders vs. Coldspring
2009 (36 attempts)
TOUCHDOWNS
4 Ethan Brinkley vs. Salado
2011
4 Matt Sanders vs. Giddings
2004
ATTEMPTS
44 D.J. Marek vs. Giddings
2005
39 Ethan Brinkley vs. Salado
2011


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