Dawgs get back on track with biting playoff victory
Thorndale is not one of them.
The Bulldogs quickly fought off any signs of rust or lasting memories of a regular season ending loss by skewering Kenedy 60-7 Friday night in a Class A, Division I, Region IV area playoff game.
Thorndale now battles Ganado (9-2) in regional (see below). Kenedy ends the season at 5-5.
The 60 points scored tied a school record for a playoff game, dating back to the Bulldogs’ 60- 6 win over Rocksprings in 1994 en route to a state championship.
In keeping with their modus operandi for 2013, the Bulldogs piled up the points in the first half ( 39) and cruised to the victory with 414 yards of offense, while yielding just 187 and forcing four turnovers.
“We were very pleased with the kids’ effort,” said Thorndale Coach Brent Brevard. “I felt like we were really ready to play, and did not let the weather conditions distract us. We jumped on them early and were able to jump out to a big lead at half.”
Thorndale played without leading rusher and one of its top defenders in Darius Brooks, who was out with a deep thigh bruise.
Brevard said he should be ready to go this week.
With Brooks out, Thorndale employed a run-by- committee with seven different ball carriers touching the ball, led by Seth Barker’s 78 yards on seven carries with a 32-yard touchdown.
Riley Schaefer threw for 226 yards and four touchdowns to take up more of the slack.
The senior quarterback has now thrown for 2,049 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Dillon Bankston was all over the place Friday night, picking off a pass and turning it into a 24-yard score.
The junior also caught two touchdown passes from Schaefer from six and 40 yards out.
Bankston’s pick- six opened the scoring, followed by Rowdy McCoy’s one-yard blast to make it 13-0 after one period.
The Bulldogs rolled in the second quarter as Austin and Schaefer c onnected f or t he fi rst time from 35 yards out, then Barker broke loose for 32 yards for a score to construct a 26-0 lead.
Bankston took in his first touchdown pass from six yards away and McCoy registered his second score from the one and Thorndale was up 39-0 at intermission.
Three touchdowns in the second half from Bankston (40 yard reception), Colton Austin (39 yard reception) and Chase Kiesling’s first score of the season from the eight provided the Dawgs with a 60-0 cushion.
Ganado is coming off a 37-10 victory over Brackettville, a team Thorndale disposed of last season in bi-district.
After starting quarterback Ray Salazar was knocked out of the game at halftime, running back Clay Vesely moved in at quarterback and rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. It is not clear whether Salazar will return for this week’s game with the Bulldogs.
“Clay’s been practicing all year and did a good job,” Coach Jimmy Thompson said. “It was the first time we’ve had to rely on him as our No. 1. That’s exactly why he practiced for this.”
The Indians picked off four passes on the evening.
Ganado (9-2) had a first-round bye after winning the District 15A championship.
Ganado—6-0 on the road this season—is making its sixth consecutive playoff appearance since becoming a Class A school.
The two teams share two common opponents. Thorndale defeated Flatonia 27-7 in district play, while Ganado fell to Flatonia 24-14 in the fifth week of the season.
Ganado has won four straight games since losing to Flatonia.
Also, Gandado whipped Kenedy— the team the Bulldogs just dispensed—in district play 50-6.
Ganado averages 31 points a game, allowing 14.2.
On the other hand, Thorndale averages 44 points an outing, yielding 14.
Vesely has rushed for 1,368 yards and 16 touchdowns and has scored 116 points. Vesely also has five interceptions on defense.
Ganado has won at least one playoff game in its last 15 appearances
“Ganado has a very good football team,” said Brevard. “They are solid on both offense and defense. They play hard and are physical. We will have to play a great game to beat them.”
The winner will play the Flatonia (9-2)-Shiner (8-3) winner next week in the regional quarterfinals.