Hallettsville Sacred Heart wins TAPPS D-IV state title over St. Paul
Dec. 3, 2011 at 12:03 p.m.
Updated Dec. 4, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
TEMPLE - Sterling Hrncir gets much of the attention for the Hallettsville Sacred Heart Indians and for good reason.
The senior rushed for over 2,000 yards this season.
But, individuals don't win state championships and Saturday the Indians showed they had other players to worry about.
Matt Holub ran for 133 yards and a touchdown, while Hrncir added 113 yards and two scores to help the Indians beat Shiner St. Paul 21-7 and win the TAPPS Division IV state championship at Wildcat Stadium.
"We knew they would be keying Sterning, we wanted Matt to get a lot of carries, we wanted Leightin Pilat to get some carries because we knew they would be keying on Sterling," said Sacred Heart coach Pat Henke. "We had more weapons than just Sterling Hrncir and tonight I think we proved that."
The win gives the Indians (14-1) their fifth TAPPS state football championship and first since 2007.
The Cardinals (11-3) were unsuccessful in their bid to repeat as state champions.
The Indians enjoyed winning the state title against their Lavaca County rival and the team responsible for their only regular-season loss.
"I couldn't ask for anything better, it's the best thing that could ever happen," Hrncir said.
The style of play that got the teams to the final contrasted as strong at their red and blue uniforms.
That contrast was on display as Sacred Heart received the kickoff and began to pound the ball on a humid night.
Holub carried the load on the first drive. He carried on seven of the first nine plays and ran for 49 yards on the opening drive.
Hrncir ended the opening drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.
The Indians marched 70 yards on 11 plays and took 5:14 off the clock.
"They were probably expecting an easy game and we just came at them each time constantly hitting them," Holub said.
Hrncir extended the Sacred Heart lead with a 14-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
"I don't know if we were uptight or not, but we just didn't execute," said St. Paul coach Paul Johnston about his team's defense in the first half.
The Cardinals needed an answer and Dakota Kresta and the spread offense helped provide it on the following drive.
Adam Hollenbach converted on a key fourth down, while Kresta connected with Martin Kennedy on a 37-yard pass and Brett Hodges on a 17-yard screen pass that gave the Cardinals a first down on the Sacred Heart eight-yard line.
Two plays later, Kresta threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Natal that cut the Sacred Heart lead to 14-7.
The Cardinals missed a chance to tie the game before halftime after returning a punt to the Indians 30 with 2:39 remaining.
In four plays, the Cardinals picked up only five yards against the Sacred Heart defense.
"Offensively we had chances to get the ball in the end zone and it seemed like we had a penalty at the wrong time, missed an open receiver or missed a block at the wrong time," Johnston said. "We didn't execute as well as we should have."
The last time the two teams played, the Cardinals won 14-12 in Hallettsville.
That game led to a three-way tie for first place in District 3 between St. Paul, Sacred Heart and Bryan Brazos Christian.
The Indians wanted to be physical and keep the St. Paul offense off the field.
The Cardinals managed to get into the red zone once in the second half.
St. Paul had a first and goal from the nine, but Natal was tackled for a one-yard loss and Kresta threw three incomplete passes.
The Sacred Heart defense was stout, limiting Shiner St. Paul to 228 total yards.
The tactic helped Sacred Heart score its first two touchdowns and led to a third.
Sacred Heart dealt a critical blow to St. Paul on its first possession of the second half.
Holub's 11-yard run capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive that gave Sacred Heart a two touchdown lead.
The drive took almost six minutes off the clock.
"That's what we wanted to do, we wanted to run the ball between tackle," Henke said. "We thought we were better than they were up front, They're a great football team, but we controlled the clock and that was the main thing."
"We shut them down to seven points, that's a great job for our defense," Henke said.
Kresta completed 18-of-30 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown.
The Indians' celebration was delayed when senior linebacker Andrew Shimek was injured on the final play of the game and laid on the Wildcat Stadium turf for about 20 minutes.
"Drew played a great game and I think the Good Lord will be with him," Henke said.
Sacred Heart had 14 seniors on its roster.
The Cardinals made the state final despite graduating a number of players from last year's state championship team and the departure of head coach Jake Wachsmuth in late July.
Natal and Brett Hodges were the only seniors on the team.
"This team's got a great future ahead," Johnston said.