Dogs D: ‘We got this’
The message the Bul ldog defense was sending out by their unyielding play on the field was, “take your time, we got this.”
Led by cement block noseguard Fabien Gomez and sneak thief defensive back Riley Schaefer, the Bulldogs smothered the Cardinals 28-7 Friday night at Memorial Stadium in a Class A, Division I, Region IV area contest.
Through three interceptions and a fumble recovery, the Dawg D set up all four Thorndale scores.
“They’re a very good team and we struggled offensively and had a couple of turnovers,” said Thorndale Coach Brent Brevard. “Fortunately in the second half we got some things going, hit some big plays and played lights out.
“Yea... you can’t say enough about the way our defense performed tonight.”
The contest will be played at Mustang Field in Marble Falls at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Mason, 11-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class A, is coming off a 35-13 win over Three Rivers.
Burns was head coach at Thorndale f0r two seasons (2009- 10) before leaving to return to his alma mater, where his father was once head coach.
Thorndale was Burns’ first head coaching job where he fashioned a 15-6 mark and one playoff berth.
To set up the reunion, the Bulldogs had to overcome a slow start, a freak play and a scrambling opposing quarterback.
The final score read 28-7, but the Bulldogs’ defense pitched a shutout.
La Villa’s lone score came on a deflected pass that bounced off a Thorndale shoulder pad that Robert Serna snagged out of mid- air and raced 80 yards for a score for the first score of the game in the second quarter.
Besides that, the Bulldogs allowed only 137 yards of total offense and just 89 yards on the ground on 50 carries (1.7 yards per carry).
Most of the Cardinals’ offense in the first half came by way of Serna (also the starting quarterback) tucking and running with the ball when he could find no receivers open.
Because of Thorndale’s stern effort in the last half, Serna was bottled up in the backfield and ended up with 19 yards on the ground on 25 tries. He completed five passes for 48 yards.
“We knew he could scramble, we figured him out in the second half,” Brevard said. “We felt like they weren’t going to get anything going after that.”
When the Bulldogs’ offense finally got revved up in the third quarter, there was no stopping them—at least as far as La Villa was concerned.
Thorndale had scored after the teams exchanged turnovers, when Schaefer found a wide open Stockton in the corner of the end zone with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in the first, however with a missed extra point, the Bulldogs entered halftime trailing 7-6.
It was immediately after the break when Schaefer and the Bulldogs found their groove.
They opened the second half when Keon Mays gathered in a short Schaefer pass and out ran the defense for a 30-yard score and after Schaefer hit Colton Austin with the conversion pass, the Bulldogs led for the first time 14-7.
Lorenzo Llana set up the Bulldogs’ next score with an interception after a Price Miller deflection and Schaefer found Stockton in stride on a post pattern for 43 yards and a 21-7 lead with 7:19 left in the quarter.
Schaefer nabbed his second pass of the evening (and ninth of the season) to set up the final score as Price Miller bulled around left in and powered into the end zone for a 21-yard score to make it 28-7 with 2:31 left in the third quarter to close out the streak of 28 unanswered points.
“We had some turnovers (in the third quarter) and they hurt us,” La Villa coach Danny Perez said. “I said it before that the team making more mistakes was going to lose, and that’s what happened. We kind of made more mistakes than they did. Thorndale is a good team and we were there with them for a while, but we just had too many mistakes.”
Schaefer completed just nine passes, but three went for touchdowns and two to Stockton who had four catches for 64 yards.
Schaefer has collected 1,786 yards and 24 touchdowns so far this season to extend the school’s records.
Darius Brooks also crossed over an important threshold, picking up 85 yards on 16 carries to raise his season total to 1,042 yards.
The sophomore becomes the first Bulldog rusher to run for over 1,000 yards since Marcus Gest in 2006.
La Villa, which had won nine straight coming in, ends the season at 9-2.
Thorndale’s last playoff victory came against the Cardinals in the quarterfinals in 2006, the furtherest La Villa had ever gone.
“I’m proud of the way our guys responded to being behind. They got after it and pulled off the win. We’re just tickled to death to get this victory.”
Burns brings his crew in with a 26-game winning streak—he has yet to lose his first game as Mason’s coach.
“No, I don’t think about it,” Burns said. “We had a great year last year, but that was last year. It’s not fair to this team if we just keep patting ourselves on the back and look at what we did.”
He led the Punchers to the Class A, Division I crown with a perfect 15-0 mark, the first in school history.
They are 11-0 in 2012 after a 35-13 victory over Three Rivers in area last week.
After guiding the Bulldogs to a 15-6 mark and a playoff berth in two years, Burns left Thorndale on pleasant terms, heading back to his home town to coach where his father has achieved legendary status.
Melvin Burns coached the Punchers in two separate stints, from 1971-77 and then again in 1984-88.
In 12 years combined, Burns led Mason to a 94-30 record.
Most of Mason’s games this season have been decided by halftime, with the Punchers outscoring their opponents 332-19 in the first half.
Burns’ first order of business at the start of the season was to replace two-time player of the year David Mora, who ran for nearly 8,000 yards and almost 100 touchdowns in his career.
Enter Rio Schmidt (5-11, 185), who became this season’s featured back after blocking for Mora the past two seasons.
Thorndale players should be more than a little familiar with Burns’ run-oriented offense.
Current Bulldogs Price Miller and Fabien Gomez were on the varsity in Burns’ final season.
“They’re the defending state champions and that’s all you need to know,” Brevard said. “We’ll have to be ready to play.”
Rushing—Brooks 161-1,042 14 TD, Miller 44-305 4TD, Austin 44-270 5 TD, McCoy 51-276 TD, Barker 49-248 4TD, Mays 28-154 TD, Guzman 11-102 TD, Schaefer 49-156 4TD, Miller, J. 19-39, Salinas 2-(-23), Bigan 1-(-7).
Passing—Schaefer 119-224-6, 1,786 yards 24 TD; Miller, J. 5-13-1, 95 yards TD; Mays 3-8-0, 36 yards, Stockton 1-1-0.
Receiving— Mays 34-530 6TD, Austin 26-496 7TD, Stockton 19-361 5TD, Guzman 5-120 2TD, Miller, J. 6-110 2TD, Gomez 8-85, Salinas 9-82 2TD, Miller, P. 6-65 TD, Hafley 6-41, Bigan 2-10, Brooks 4-14, McCoy 2-3.
thorndale 28, la villa 7
Scoring summary Second quarter
LA VILLA—Robert Serna 80 yard INT return
(Ruben Torres kick) 8:03
THORNDALE—Sam Stckton 15 pass from
Riley Schaefer (kick failed) 1:34
THORNDALE—Keon Mays 30 pass from
Schaefer (Colton Austin pass from Schaefer) 8:40
THORNDALE—Sam Stockton 43 pass from
Schaefer (Austin kick) 7:19
THORNDALE—Price Miller 21 run (Austin
RUSHING—THORNDALE: Brooks 16-85,
Miller 2-19 TD, Barker 3-5, mays 1-0,
Miller, J. 1-0, Schaefer 5-(-2), Austin 3-(-7).
LAVILLA: Moron 8-35, Serna 27-19.
PASSING—THORNDALE: Schaefer 9-23-
2, 163 yards, 3 TD. LAVILLA: 5-13-3,
RECEIVING—THORNDALE: Stockton 4-84
2TD, Mays 2-60, Austin 1-18, Miller, J.
1-1, Hafley 1-0.
This week—Thorndale vs. Mason in Marble Falls; Weimar vs. Shiner in Seguin.
Last week—Thorndale 28, LaVilla 7; Weimar 34, Ganado 21.