SANTO — When you think you have seen it all, think again.
Longtime Texas High School football fans know most anything can happen under the lights of a Friday night football game in these parts.
Unexpected events arrived moments before the opening kickoff of Friday’s homecoming game at Santo’s W.A Lewis Field when an unmanned drone appeared out of the darkness.
Just after the coin toss an unmanned craft’s red lights floated above the stadium and dropped the game ball into the arms of Santo's Destin Montelongo.
Montelongo took it from there and led the Wildcats to an impressive shutout win over the Pirates.
The senior from Santo scored four touchdowns, threw a TD pass and ended the game with 205 yards on just five carries. The senior ended the contest with 24 points and 261 yards of total offense.
The drone’s pregame performance was a product of a Santo High School Science class and local businessman Martin Buzbee’s Geographic Drone Ariel Photographic & Mapping.
The Wildcats scored 64 unanswered points in a Homecoming-Night win over the Perrin High School Pirates. Everyone, from the 2017 SHS Homecoming Queen Cassie Fallin to mascot Pouncher the WILDCAT, was impressed.
The shutout win moved the Wildcats to 1-1 in district play, while the Pirates slipped to 0-2 in league play.
Santo head coach Devon Mann, who emptied his bench in the second half, was beaming at games end.
“It was a good night for us," the Wildcats coach said. "The kids play real well, and I had a chance to get some of our young players on the field for the first time in a Friday night game."
“We have lots of kids who can run the ball, and they all go into the game tonight. It was a good Homecoming Night in Santo,” Mann added.
Montelongo opened the scoring with a 15-yard run and scored again from 11-yards out. Fabian Valenzuela knocked down back-to-back conversion kicks, and with 6:21 showing on the first-quarter clock the Wildcats were off to the races with a a 14-0 lead.
Montelongo scored his third touchdown of the first quarter on a 93-yard run that made the score 20-0 with 2:19 left in the quarter.
Montelongo then opened the second quarter scoring with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Noah Maston. Valenzuela’s conversion pushed Santo’s lead to 27-0 with 10:38 left in the first half.
Grant Carter scored on 7-yard scamper, and Stone Tassione caught a 7-yard touchdown pass, before a conversion kick by Valenzuela moved Santo’s lead to 40-0.
Sophomore Landon Fallin hit fellow sophomore Jett Bryan with an 18-yard TD pass on the final play of the first half. The conversion kick made it 47-0 at the intermission.
Montelongo opened the second half scoring with a 73-yard run that came with 10:23 left in the quarter. Valenzuela added the PAT and the Wildcats owned a 54-0 lead.
Sophomore Grant Nemeth intercepted a Pirates pass and raced 65 yards to pay dirt with 5:40 remaining in the third stanza. Valenzuela’s conversion boot made the score 61-0.
Valenzuela, who kicked seven PATs, completed the scoring with a 37-yard field goal. He ended the game with a total of 10 points.
Perrin head coach Ben Staggs said his team played hard in the loss.
“The kids played hard and they never gave up. They did some good things tonight. I’m proud of them,” the Pirates coach said. “Good things are coming our way.”
PERRIN SAYS SIX-MAN HERE WE COME
PERRIN — History was made at Perrin High School on Monday night when a school board vote by Perrin-Whitt ISD school board cleared the way for the Pirates and Lady Pirates to drop from 11-man to the six-man classification in all sports and others UIL events.
Perrin head coach Ben Staggs told the Index on Friday that Perrin-Whitt’s average daily enrollment count left the Pirates one half of a student above the cutoff. The UIL numbers allowed the local school board to vote which division they will enter next season.
Monday’s voted favored a drop from 11-man to sixman.
Staggs said he’s excited about the move.
“I was kind of against it at first but after thinking about it, I got excited," Staggs said. "This is going to be good for Perrin in all sports and all UIL events.”
“I don’t know as much about six-man as I do about 11-man football, but I’ve been learning more and more about it," said Staggs. "I’ve been making calls to other six-man coaches and schools. They are already helping us with open dates and scheduling. Three schools have already sent us video for next year’s games."
“A lot of sixman coaches are helping me learn more," he said. "I can tell you this, they are lot easier to work with than 11-man schools have been. This is going to be a good thing for our basketball, track, tennis, baseball and softball programs as wells as our academic events for the girls and boys.”
At present, Perrin is one of the smallest 11-man schools in the state. Next year, the Pirates and Lady Pirates will represent one of the largest schools in the six-man state.