Hallettsville can't slow down undefeated Cameron Yoe (video)
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Video: Hallettsville HC Tommy Psencik
BASTROP - They trudged off the field.
It stung to be two wins away from a berth in the state title game, only to lose to someone else who was just as fast, just as fundamentally sound and just as undefeated as they were.
But, that is how the Hallettsville ended its 2012 football season. The Brahmas were sad that things ended in a 38-19 loss in the Class 2A, Division I quarterfinals, but just farsighted enough to realize that their 12-1 record tied the school record for victories in a season.
Carson Schindler capped off a nine-play 91 yard opening drive for the Brahmas when he dove in for a two yard run with 8:28 left in the first quarter.
Cameron Yoe head coach Rick Rhoades said that was the first time since the Yoemen's season opener than an opponent marched down the field and scored on its first possession.
Then the big plays began to happen, and not in the Brahmas favor. Hallettsville head coach Tommy Psencik said his team made mistakes in some areas that led to the big plays. Rhoades attributed it to fearless football.
Hallettsville cut the deficit to 14-13 with Schindler found Teidrick Smith for a 35 yard touchdown pass with 3:16 remaining in the first half.
The senior quarterback bought enough time in the backfield to loft a pass to his classmate in the flat. Smith broke a pair of tackles and jogged the final 15 yards into the end zone. A missed extra point meant the Brahmas were unable to tie the score.
Yoe didn't waste any time extending its lead. On the first play of the ensuing drive Jason Kopriva lofted a taut spiral toward the near sideline for a streaking receiver.
A Hallettsville defender was stride for stride with Colton Shuffield. When he slowed down to intercept the pass he misjudged it and Shuffield was away for a 72 yard touchdown.
Yoe made its extra point to take a 21-13 lead at intermission.
The Yoemen (13-0) were driving late in the first half; however, Dalton Herrington intercepted Kopriva in the end zone to keep the deficit at eight points.
"I think it goes back to that belief," Psencik said about his team's ability to fight when against the precipice Friday. "They believe in each other. They are fighters on the field. They have an inner belief in them that tells them they can get it done in dire situations."
Before the Brahmas defense had a chance to take the field in the second half Yoe's Zach Felts was away for a 94 yard kickoff return. The Yoemen were up 28-13 just 13 seconds into the third quarter.
"I think there were a couple big plays in the ball game that made a real big difference in the ball game," Rhoades said. "I think the kickoff return to start the half - that made it a two score game instead of a one score game - I think that was a play. Our defense came out and had some huge stops in the second half. That made a difference in the ball game."
Hallettsville turned the ball over on downs three times in the second half, twice in Yoe territory. It's only points came when Smith returned a Kopriva interception 94 yards for a touchdown with 7:42 remaining.
"We don't ever quit. We play as a team and we play with our heart and soul," said Hallettsville senior defensive lineman Troy Murphy. "We play with pride and joy. We don't ever quit until the fourth quarter is over. We play 48 minutes of hard football."
The Brahmas trailed 35-19 at that point. Timmy Sheppard recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Hallettsville couldn't get a first down to really put pressure on the Yoemen.
"We played our hearts out," Smith said. "They are a good football team. They did some stuff that we couldn't stop. They deserved to win and I'm happy for them."
Yoe will play Newton (13-0) in the Class 2A, Division I semifinals next week. The Eagles defeated Franklin 49-13 Friday night.
Smith finished with 15 carries for 75 yards in his final varsity game. He caught three passes for 55 yards and added the interception return. Though it was evident the senior didn't want his season to end Friday night he desperately wished the underclassmen well in the years ahead
As the Brahmas lined up to applaud its fans before leaving the field for the final time, it was Smith who was at the front of the line.
"I feel like I could have done more to help the team win," Smith said. "I hope they win it next year. I told them to keep their head up. That's what we are going to keep doing, we are going to keep our heads up, build this program up and try to win a state championship. I wish this team would have done it, but we fell short tonight."