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Brahmas trample Greyhounds in bi-district
Stockdale running back Matt Valadez shakes off a would-be Taft tackler en route to positive yardage. Valadez ran for 359 yards and five touchdowns during the Brahmas’ bi-district victory over the Greyhounds.
THREE RIVERS -- After a solid season in which they finished third in the district, the Stockdale Brahmas moved into postseason play and earned a convincing first-round victory over the Taft Greyhounds.
The Brahmas received the ball to begin postseason play, and senior running back Matt Valadez wasted little time in putting his mark on the contest. Valadez raced 72 yards for the first touchdown of the night with 11:43 still remaining on the first-quarter clock. The conversion attempt was no good, but the Brahmas held a 6-0 lead, and were certainly off to a good start.
Still early in the first, Taft scored to tie the game, and then kicked an extra point to assume a 7-6 advantage. The lead held throughout most of the first quarter, but Gage Haley broke loose for a big run of 41 yards, putting the Brahmas up 12-7. Stockdale came up short on the 2-point play, and the score held.
Late in the second quarter, Stockdale added to the lead with a 12-yard run from Valadez. The score was 18-7, and things were looking good for the Brahmas. Valadez then added his third touchdown of the night with just 26 seconds remaining in the half, as he ran in from 5 yards out. Freshman Joel Marquez kicked the extra point, and the Brahmas took a 25-7 lead into halftime.
Things started slowing for both teams in the second half, but Taft finally added to the board as it scored on a running play with 3:45 to go in the third. The Greyhounds successfully converted a 2-point play, and the score was 25-15. The Brahma offense went back onto the field, and Stockdale immediately responded to the Taft touchdown with another of its own. Valadez ran the ball in from 13 yards out for his fourth score of the night, and Stockdale led 31-15 to end the third quarter.
Taft scored in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, and successfully converted a 2-point play to make it a one-possession game at 31-23. The Brahmas stormed right back down the field, though, and sophomore quarterback Darien Bird ran in from 18 yards out. Valadez ran in a 2-point conversion, and Stockdale fans celebrated a 39-23 advantage.
After a good Stockdale defensive stand and fumble recovery, Valadez and the offense went back to work. The senior broke one loose from 24 yards out for his fifth score of the night, and Marquez tacked on the point-after kick. With 6:16 left to play in the game, the Brahmas were in clear command of the situation with a 46-23 lead.
Stockdale added one final score after the Brahma defense recovered yet another Taft fumble. Christian Segura capped off the short drive this time, as he ran in from 2 yards out. Marquez kicked the extra point, and the score was 53-23 with 5:04 to play in the game.
The Greyhounds scored one last time, but it was of little consequence, as Stockdale remained way out in front. As time expired in the game, it was the Brahmas with a big playoff victory, 53-30.
Valadez had another incredible performance running the ball, as he tallied 359 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries. Bird ran seven times for 84 yards and a touchdown, Haley ran seven times for 54 yards and a touchdown, and Segura had five carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. Isaiah Garza had a carry for 4 yards and Cole McGrew had a carry for 1 yard. Bird completed two passes on the night, connecting with Haley once for 20 yards, and with Valadez once for 3 paces.
With the win, the Brahmas improve to 7-4 on the year and will advance to the area championship. Stockdale will square off with another team of Brahmas this weekend, as the boys face the 11-0 team from East Bernard. The area championship will be played Saturday, Nov. 23, at 3 p.m. in Victoria.
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