Dawgs hang out Holland; Brackettville playoff foe
The Bulldogs leapt out to a 31-18 halftime lead en route to a commanding 45-25 victory over playoff hopeful Holland.
Thorndale ends the season at 8-2 overall and 3-1 in District 13A, Division I behind champion Weimar (6-4, 4-0).
The last time the Bulldogs won as many as eight games was in 2009 when they went 8-3.
The Bulldogs will now battle Brackettville (7-3), which finished third in District 14A behind defending state champion and No. 2 ranked Mason (led by former Thorndale coach Kade Burns) and Ozona.
The winner will take on La Villa (9-1) in the area round.
This playoff trip is especially sweet after the Bulldogs went 7-3 the past two seasons in Class 2A and missed out on the post season.
It’s been six years since the Bulldogs posted a playoff victory, 18-14 over LaVilla in 2006 in the quarterfinals when the Bulldogs went 10-4.
In their last playoff appearance, they lost to eventual state champion Goldthwaite 34-32 in bi-district in 2009.
In the finale, Thorndale used a balanced attack to dispose of the Hornets (5-5, 1-3) who actually slipped in the post season back door and will face Ozona (8-2) in Marble Falls Friday.
There was a three-way tie for third between Holland, Thrall and Flatonia, which all stood 1-3 in district.
As champion, Weimar drew a bye.
In his second game back from injury, Darius Brooks churned out 129 yards on just 16 carries.
The sophomore needs just 115 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. The last Bulldog to crack the barrier was Marcus Guest in 2006.
The game marked the return of two-way starter Price Miller who had not played since the third week of the season.
Miller gained 21 yards on seven carries.
Thorndale coach Brent Brevard welcomed Miller’s return.
“We are not at full strength, but getting close,” said Brevard. “Getting the injured guys back has been nice, but they are having to get back into the swing of things.”
Quarterback Riley Schaefer was 10-of-20 for 162 yards and tied a school record with four touchdown passes.
A pair went to Sam Stockton (4 catches, 94 yards) from 23 and 45 yards out and two to Colton Austin (4 for 59) from 16 and 12 yards away.
The junior quarterback has now thrown for 1,444 yards and 17 touchdown passes, both school records, eclipsing marks set by Tyler Miller last season.
The Bulldogs shut down the Hornets’ passing game, so Reece Nicholson rolled up 124 yards on the ground but was shut out of the end zone.
Linebacker Lorenzo Llana sparked the defense by returning an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to push Thorndale in front 24-7.
The Tigers enter the playoffs on a two-game losing skid after falling to the top two teams in District 14A, Mason and Ozona, by a combined score of 89-20.
Brackettville had the luxury of returning all 11 starters on offense and another nine on defense off a 4-7 area finalist in 2011.
The Tigers are almost split perfectly down the middle when it comes to offense; 177 yards on the ground, 171 yards through the air.
Running back David Ortega, who started last season as a freshman, has stepped off 1,241 yards and 15 touchdowns and averages almost seven yards per carry.
Ortega ran for 150 yards and both scores in the Tigers’ loss to Ozona Friday.
Quarterback Coltan Stephenson, also a sophomore, has thrown for 1,273 yards and 15 touchdowns, but has also been picked off 13 times.
Four Tigers have at least 14 receptions.
On defense, the Tigers are led by district most valuable player Daniel Falcon who despite standing 5-foot-7 and 205 pounds, has made 96 stops and stacked up 15 sacks for 120 yards worth of losses.
Thorndale vs. brackettville
Who: Thorndale Bulldogs (8-2)
vs. Brackettville Tigers (7-3)
What: Class A, Division I,
Region IV, bi-district playoff.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Alamo Stadium, San
Antonio (23,000 capacity, Nex
Turf, opened in 1940).
Last week: Thorndale 49,
Holland 25; Ozona 42, Brackettville 14.
District: Thorndale was second
in District 13A; Brackettville
was third in 14A behind Mason
Last playoff appearance:
Thorndale 2009; Brackettville
Playoff history: Thorndale has
32 wins in 23 appearances
(.656 winning percentage).
Last playoff win: 18-14 over
LaVilla in 2006.
Tiger to watch: No. 51, Sr.
LB Daniel Falcon (96 tackles,
Road map: Brackettville is
located 32 miles east of Del
Rio and is 252 miles from
Thorndale. It is where the John
Wayne movie The Alamo was
Rushing—Brooks 130-885 12TD, McCoy 51-276 TD, Austin 36-250 4TD, Barker 46-243 4TD, Miller 32-226 3TD, Mays 26-152 2TD, Guzman 11-102 TD, Schaefer 41-166 4TD, Miller, J. 15-27, Salinas 1-(-5), Bigan 1-(-7).
Passing— Schaefer 95-170-3, 1,444 yards 17 TD; Miller, J. 5-13-1, 95 ya rds TD; Mays 3-8-0, 36 yards, Stockton 1-1-0.
Receiving— Mays 29-450 4TD, Austin 18-344 5TD, Stockton 13-262 2TD, Guzman 5-120 2TD, Miller, J. 5-109 2TD, Gomez 8-85, Salinas 9-82 2TD, Miller 5-67 TD, Hafley 5-41, Bigan 1-6, Brooks 3-6, McCoy 2-3.
thorndale 45, holland 25
THORNDALE—Colton Austin 23 FG 8:24
THORNDALE—Darius Brooks 8 run (Austin
HOLLAND—Alex Coleman 2 run (Rion
THORNDALE—Sam Stockton 23 pass from
Riley Schaefer (Austin kick) 9:32
THORNDALE—Lorenzo Llana 38 INT return
(Austin kick) 9:16
HOLLAND—Gibson 23 FG 3:58
HOLLAND—Jacob Cantu 48 run (Cantu
pass from Coleman) 3:36
THORNDALE— Stockton 45 pass from
Schaefer (Austin kick) 3:24
THORNDALE—Austin 16 pass from Schaefer (Austin kick) 6:44
HOLLAND–cantu 1 run (Gibson kick) :49
THORNDALE—Austin 12 pass from Schaefer (Austin kick) 5:38
RUSHING—THORNDALE: Brooks 16-129
TD, Austin 5-24, Miller 7-21, McCoy 1-6,
Miller, J. 1-(-2), Schaefer 5-(-12), Salinas
PASSING—THORNDALE: Schaefer 10-20-
0, 162 yards, 4 TD.
4-94 2 TD, Austin 4-59 2 TD, Mays 1-11,
final 13A-I Standings