Hornets’ second-half efforts propel them to victory
Kyle Padalecki of East Central hauls in a pass during the Hornets’ Nov. 12 win over the Stevens Falcons.
East Central 35
SAN ANTONIO -- With an inspired second-half performance from its offense, the East Central Hornet football team made it look easy as it mounted a come-from-behind 35-14 victory over Stevens last Saturday in a bi-district playoff at Gustafson Stadium.
After falling behind to the Stevens Falcons, who scored on a 42-yard passing play in the final minute of the first quarter, the Hornets turned up the heat in the second half with a total of five rushing touchdowns, the first of which came on a 4-yard run by junior Chris Armstrong. Blayne Sells came on for the extra point, and the game was tied at 7-all.
But just when the East Central fans felt they had something to cheer about, the Falcons silenced the black and gold with another passing touchdown, this one from 68 yards out. Add on the extra point, and Stevens was back on top, 14-7. That was the last time the Falcons led the game.
The Hornets used a little clock, but remained focused and moved down the field. Then, with just under three minutes to play in the third, Armstrong took the ball from the Falcon 36-yard line, and raced into the end zone for 6 points. Sells’ kick made it a 14-14 ballgame, and the defense went back on the field, intent on holding Stevens back.
A quick change of possession put the Hornet offense back on the field, and Armstrong completed the hat trick with his third rushing touchdown of the night, this time covering more than half of the field on a 52-yard run from scrimmage. Dews made it three for three on the point-after, and the Hornets celebrated their first lead of the night.
The final two touchdowns of the game came courtesy of big Braedon Robinson. The defensive lineman sees action out of the offensive backfield at times, and made the most of those opportunities against Stevens. Robinson’s first touchdown came at the 8:12 mark of the fourth quarter on a 9-yard run, and his second came in the closing minutes of the game as he rumbled in from 6 yards out. Christian Jones connected with Aacen Anderson on a 2-point conversion play, and East Central put the game away by the final score of 35-14.
Armstrong’s efforts out of the backfield were big for the Hornets, as he ran the ball 31 times for 181 yards and three scores. Latham Walleck ran the ball eight times for 90 yards, and Jeremy Jones picked up 28 yards on five carries. Robinson picked up 17 yards and two touchdowns on three carries.
Walleck completed all three of his passing attempts for 30 yards, Jeremy Jones completed 5 of 7 passing attempts for 45 yards, and Christian Jones completed one pass for 18. Kyle Ramon led the Hornet receivers with 52 yards on five catches, followed by Kyle Padalecki with 23 yards on three grabs. Robinson pulled in his first reception of the year on a passing play that was good for 18 yards.
The Hornet defense did a good job with Stevens, allowing only one score in each half. The Falcons were able to gain 170 yards through the air, but were held to 102 yards on the ground. Stevens was forced to punt the ball six times, and the Hornet defense recovered one fumble.
With the first-round win, the Hornets advance to the area championship where they will face the Madison Mavericks. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 18, in East Central’s Hornet Stadium.