TOLAR – As Tolar quarterback Corbin Wood suggested, it would be hard to ask for more from the Rattlers’ season-opening 51-20 football win over San Saba.
Wood ran for three touchdowns and threw for two, and the Rattlers got 135 yards rushing from running back Cory Solomon at Rattler Stadium.
“We’re fired up. We’ve got one goal, and that’s to be successful,” Wood said. “We executed tonight. The coaches have done a great job with us, making sure we didn’t have errors in the first game. Everybody is fired up.
Everybody wants to go out there and win. You can’t ask for more.”
The win avenged a 24-6 loss in last year’s season opener at San Saba.
Tolar head coach Mike Franklin was pleased but pointed out that the Rattlers may let up some after posting a big lead.
It was a relatively clean opening-night performance by the Rattlers, who seemed in control throughout. They lost only one turnover, on an interception when they were already up 15-0, and committed just five penalties.
“I thought we executed well on both sides of the ball,” said Franklin, whose team was 9-3 last year and reached the area round of the Class 2A, Division 2 playoffs. “Corbin had a great game. He really did.
“I thought we got complacent in the middle of the third quarter. Our intensity let up a little bit, but it came back up. I definitely liked our explosiveness.”
Wood scored on runs of 26, 3 and 2 yards and finished with 75 yards on just six carries.
The Class A, Division I Armadillos were paced by quarterback quarterback Kelan Verette, who threw for 120 yards including two TD connections. He also ran for San Saba’s other TD.
Tolar enjoyed good field position most of the night, enhanced by three big punt returns for 102 yards by Garrett Winston. That included a 58-yarder that set up Woods’ 17-yard TD pass – to Winston – that gave the Rattlers a 39-7 cushion with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
Winston returned an Armadillo kickoff that would have been a touchdown early in the second quarter, but the play was wiped out by an illegal use of the hands penalty against the Rattlers.
Wood’s other two TD passes went to Connor Robinson, from 15 yards out, and Dalton Shaw, for 41 yards.
Tolar’s defense did not give up a first down until late in the first quarter, and Connor Huckabee’s fumble recovery gave the Rattlers the ball at San Saba’s 29-yard line with 9:18 left in the third quarter. Four plays later, Wood scored on his 2-yard TD run.
Franklin noted that he was trying to get his team’s running game in gear, since the team has only one offensive lineman returning in the same spot as last year, and the San Saba game was the first starting assignment for the other four. He left Solomon in for most of the contest despite the fact he came in with a minor ankle sprain.
“(Solomon’s ankle) feels a lot better,” Franklin said. “He was all right. I kept waiting for him to break out on one. Their safeties were good.”
The Rattlers will play host to Comanche in their next game, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“They may be bigger than San Saba, but they’re a lot the same,” Franklin said of the Indians. “Comanche’s got a quarterback back. He’s their best athlete. It’s going to be a job to stop him.”
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Rattlers 51, Armadillos 20
San Saba 7 0 6 7 — 20
Tolar 15 15 14 7 — 51
T – Corbin Wood 26 run (Garrett Winston run)
T – Wood 3 run (Winston kick)
SS – Kolton Ellis 9 pass from Kelan Verette (Jordan Watson kick)
T – Connor Robinson 15 pass from Wood (Winston kick)
T – Winston 17 pass from Wood (Winston pass from Wood)
T – Dalton Shaw 41 pass from Dakota Endsley (Winston kick)
T – Wood 2 run (Winston kick)
SS – Verette 7 run (kick failed)
SS – Cosme Diaz 39 pass from Verette (Watson kick)
T – Wood 15 run (Winston kick)
San Saba Tolar
First downs 16 19
Rushes-yards 43-166 39-145
Passing yards 120 149
Passes 11-20-0 8-18-1
Penalties-yards 6-35 5-45
Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-0
Punts-avg. 6-36 3-39
San Saba – Kelan Verette 21-64, T.J. Hibler 11-43, Kolton Ellis 7-41, John Welch 2-15, Joel Franco 2-3.
Tolar – Cory Solomon 26-135, Corbin Wood 6-75, Blayne Denton 3-10, Dakota Endsley 4-(minus 12).
San Saba – Verette 11-20-0, 120 yards.
Tolar – Wood 6-13-0, 90 yards; Endsley 2-5-1, 59 yards.
San Saba – Cosme Diaz 1-18, Hibler 1-17, Holt Oliver 1-8, Welch 1-5, Ellis 1-0, Austin McCombs 1-0.
Tolar – Dalton Shaw 1-41, Connor Robinson 2-33, Hunter Ryan 1-27, Walker Shelton 1-21, Garrett Winston 1-17.