You know how when you get up in the middle of an action movie to get a Coke or popcorn and come back to your seat and the whole storyline has changed?
Well, Salado’s contest -- let’s face facts, it was a gunfight from the start -- with the Lorena Leopards Sept. 6 was just like that.
If you left your seat at Lorena stadium to go to the concession stand or restroom you probably missed a 70 yard touchdown, two lead changes, an 80 yard drive, maybe an onsides kick or an interception thrown in for good measure.
What you didn’t miss was much defense as the Eagles and Leopards combined for the third most points scored by two teams in a single Texas high school football game. Unfortunately, the Leopards edged Salado, thanks in part to two plays that went against the Eagles, handing Salado their second loss under coach Brent Graham. Lorena escaped their own field with a 75-67 hard-fought win over Salado, knocking Salado to 0-2 and improving to 2-0 on the season.
In doing so, the Leopards chewed up more than six lengths of the football field, with overpowering quarterback Harris Coleman rushing for 286 yards on 26 carries and three TDs. The Leopards had 611 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Salado’s junior left-handed quarterback McLane Carter had a game for the record books as well, throwing 25 completions for 613 yards, the fourth most passing yards in a single Texas high school game. For the records buffs, one-time Salado quarterback Michael Richardson set the top passing yardage mark last year throwing for 725 yards for the Marble Falls Mustangs in their game with Boerne.
McLane’s 613 yards is the most thrown in any 2A Texas high school football game. For that, he has been nominated for the Gridiron Legends Player of the Week award, presented by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football on behalf of Cavender’s and Wrangler.
McLane is one of ten nominees (along with Lorena’s Coleman) for the weekly statewide award, which is 100 percent decided by fan voting. The poll, located at www.texasfootball.com, closes at noon on Sept. 13.
While the game was explosive from the first whistle to the last, when Lorena recovered an onsides kick attempt by Salado with just over a minute left and kneeling out the remaining seconds, the outcome hinged on two plays, which both went against Salado.
Lorena took a one-point edge at the half with no time left on the clock when a flag was thrown in the end zone for a pass interference call against Salado, moving the ball from the 12, where it had been marked for a first and 10 with a second left to play in the first half, to the 3 yard line. Coleman bulled it in to knot the score at 35. He toed the extra point for the 36-35 halftime lead.
The Leopards trailed by 21-0 in the first quarter and 27-15 in the second becore scoring back-to-back touchdowns as Salado could not get Coleman to the ground.
Coleman, Andrew Marrero and Duggan Burch all had three rushing touchdowns in the game and 100+ yard rushing performances for Lorena.
The Leopards turned their one-point halftime lead into a 51-35 lead early in the third quarter after driving for a touchdown on the second half kick and then recovering an onsides kick in Salado territory and converting the opportunity into a quick touchdown. The Eagles answered back with touchdown strikes from Carter to Davis Little for 30 yards and 55 yards to Kase Spears. Little had four TD catches, including a long one of 69 yards Spears had three TD catches and had 275 yards on 15 receptions.
Closing within two points with five minutes left in the third quarter, the Eagles took over the ball at their own 40 when Clayton Cole fell on a Burch fumble that Jace Habiger caused. Carter hit Spears for 29 yards on a third down to move into Leopards territory. Ryan Simmons then blew through the Leopards defense, spinning through tackles at the 12 yard line to be stopped just short of the goal with about three minutes left in the third.
But the Eagles could not get the ball across on two running and one incompleted pass, settling for a 20 yard field goal by Chase Crenwelge, who was perfect in kicking for the night. The field goal gave Salado a 52-51 edge.
Within the next three minutes, Lorena would take the lead and then Salado would tie it at 59.
Burch scored from the 5 and Coleman threw to Jared Poteet for a two-point conversion and 59-52 lead with 10 seconds left in the third.
Salado answered by driving 74 yards, thanks to the Little brothers. Jacob Little caught a third and 15 pass from Carter for 49 y ards to get the ball to the 40 yard line. Two plays later, Davis took a pass and turned it into a 32-yard score with 1:56 left in the game.
Lorena scored twice more in the fourth quarter to seemingly put the game out of reach with a 73-59 lead with 2:15 left to play.
Coleman booted the kick out of the endzone, but the Eagles drove 80 yards in six plays, all passes with Carter connecting with Davis Little for 44 yards, Spears for gains of 11 and 10 and Little again for a 15 yard touchdown with 1:21 left to play. Carter hit Spears for a two-point conversion.
The Eagles attempted an onside kick, but Lorena’s Kyle Perlowksi fell on the ball at midfield to dash the hopes of the Eagles.
Carter completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 613 yards passing. The Eagles had 83 yards on the ground. The Leopards had 611 yards rushing and 93 yards passing.