By TONY EIERDAM
HICO – Ending the season where it began in early September, the Strawn Greyhounds fell to state-ranked No. 1 Richland Springs, 82-44, Saturday afternoon in a six man semi-final game at a jam-packed Tiger Stadium.
The Greyhounds finish a successful season with an overall mark of 12-2.
“I am really proud of the way my guys fought until the very end of the game,” Strawn head coach Dewayne Lee said afterward. “They could have 45-ed us but our guys were not going to let that happen and I am very proud of them. I am also very proud of our seniors and I am going to hate to see this senior class go. This class has done a lot for our program and I am going to miss seeing them every day.”
While penalties and mistakes hurt the ‘Hounds throughout the contest, Lee said the Coyotes simply beat his squad. Strawn’s defense was not able to stop Richland Springs’ offense on downs until early in the fourth quarter. The score was 66-30 after three.
“Richland Springs had just too much offense for us,” Lee said. “They are a great football team and we saw why they are ranked number one.”
Strawn got off to a fast start when senior Bobby Wells took the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked leaving the score at 6-0 just seconds into the game.
However, Richland Springs answered quickly with a 17-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 6.
Strawn then fumbled on its ensuing possession to set up a six-yard touchdown run by Richland Springs running back Chance Bush. Trevor Tinney booted the PAT to give the Coyotes a 14-6 lead.
The ‘Hounds came back with the longest march of the game to tie the score. Ross Alison capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Cole Abbott with 2:23 left in the opening period. Jacob Trujillo booted the extra points to tie the game at 14.
Richland Springs answered, scoring on the first play of its next possession when Bush threw a 45-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to Patrick Phillips. The PAT kick was good and the Coyotes led 22-14.
Undaunted, the ‘Hounds tied the game again on an eight-play, 55-yard drive that was finished by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Harrison Nowak to Trujillo, who tied the score at 22 with a point-after boot early in the second quarter.
Richland Springs scored on a 15-yard run to retake the lead, and after the ‘Hounds lost another fumble the Coyotes scored on a 16-yard run to increase the lead to 36-22. Richland Springs scored again just before the half for a 44-22 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the half.
Strawn hurried back down the field and almost reached the end zone before intermission, however on the half’s final a pass attempt fell incomplete in the end zone.
Richland Springs scored the first three touchdowns of the third quarter to take a 66-22 lead. They didn’t look back and cruised in for the win.
Twice in the second half Strawn was on the verge of seeing the game end via the six man 45-point mercy rule. However, a one-yard run by Noel Martinez trimmed Richland Springs’ lead to 66-30. Wells returned his second kickoff of the game 70 yards for a touchdown in the fourth to again extend the contest. Alison scored on a seven-yard run to close the scoring.