Hallettsville faces familiar foe in Hempstead
HALLETTSVILLE - Half of the teams remaining in Region IV are from District 14-2A, Division I.
That number will be sliced in half this weekend when the No. 7 Hallettsville Brahmas (11-0) once again meet the Hempstead Bobcats (9-3) in the Class 2A, Division I regional playoffs.
Hempstead ended Hallettsville's season in 2011, but the Brahmas are looking to flip the script this time around when the teams meet at Rosenberg's Traylor Stadium this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Hempstead and Hallettsville have gone beyond being district rivals, now they are playoff rivals.
Friday marks the fourth time in two years the teams meet. Hallettsville coach Tommy Psencik said the rematch is a part of the natural flow of life and the familiarity will not be a factor.
"It's not anything different than one garbage collector knowing another garbage collector in the next town," Psencik said. "It has no bearing on the game whatsoever. It means they know us and we know them."
Earlier this season, the Brahmas beat the Bobcats in Hempstead 22-19 on Nov. 9. Last year Hempstead ended Hallettsville's season with a 34-0 shutout win in Giddings and won the district matchup 35-13.
A Hempstead win would be its fifth in the last six games against Hallettsville since 2009.
BRUSING BRAHMAS AND BOBCATS
Even though the primary colors for the schools are maroon and green, expect the players to be black and blue on Saturday morning.
Games between the teams have always been physical and with their seasons on the line, expect more of the same.
"Hempstead's a real physical team and you've got to be physical to beat them," said Hallettsville senior quarterbak Carson Schindler. "Yeah, we should be a little sore coming on Saturday morning."
Psencik said that at the 2A level, it won't get any more physical than the game the teams are going to play on Friday.
Both teams have aspirations of playing in the state championship game in Arlington and something has to give in Rosenberg.
"To be a true champion, you've got to love the sting of battle," Psencik said. "If you don't really like that part of the game, you're probably not going to be a champion."
STUMBLING OUT OF THE GATE
The Brahmas finished strong the first time against the Bobcats, but it was the start that almost cost them.
Hempstead took a 13-0 halftime lead before Hallettsville rallied for win 22-19.
"They took advantage of us being flat," Psencik said. "We weren't very intense in the first half, but you could see a huge difference. You could see that difference in the second half when we stepped out there."
A Schindler to Trenton McGee 41-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter started the Brahmas rally. Schindler added two rushing touchdowns in the second half, including the eventual game winner from a yard out with 17 seconds remaining.
"The big thing was just believing that we could come back," Schindler said. "We pulled together as a team, our coaches got us rallying and our adjustments really helped us in the second half."
McGee also had a big game against Hempstead with five catches for 125 yards.
BIG WILLIE STYLE
Although the Bobcats no longer have Archie Taylor or Obie Wilder, they aren't short of playmakers thanks to sophomore quarterback Will Smith.
This season, Smith leads Hempstead with 1,104 passing yards and 1,100 rushing yards to go with 28 touchdowns passing and rushing.
"Will Smith is faster than Obie WIlder, and Obie wasn't slow," Psencik said. "It's just the fact that Will Smith is that much faster."
Last year, Taylor rushed for 215 yards and three touchdowns and Smith intercepted three passes in Hempstead's playoff win over Hallettsville.
Although Smith has made some good plays, he's also struggled with turnovers. He has 12 inteceptions on the season, including one against Hallettville.
During the previous meeting, Schindler led Hallettsville's balanced attack, completing 17-of-31 passing for 185 yards and carrying the ball 10 times for 108 yards and contributed on all three Brahmas touchdowns.
"It's something to think about since they sent us home last year," Schindler said. "It was a real close game earlier in the season. We know they're going to be out to get us and we're definitely going to be ready to play."
Schindler and McGee also connected on a two-point conversion that made it a three-point game.
NOTES • Schindler has thrown a touchdown in all nine games he has started this season. Thus far he's completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 1,711 yards and 19 touchdowns while throwing only one interception.
• Senior running back Teidrick Smith continues to lead the Brahmas ground game. He's rushed for 1,227 yards and 19 touchdowns, including two in a 43-12 area playoff win over Luling last week.
• McGee along with junior Dalton Herrington continue to be the go-to guys for Schindler. Through 11 games, the duo has combined for 1,216 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
• The Brahmas went long in their area win against Luling. Four of Hallettsville's six touchdowns were scored from 27-yards out or longer. Tim Sheppard had the longest with a 66-yard rushing score in the first quarter.
• The winner of Friday's game advances to the regional quarterfinals agaisnt either No. 2 Cameron Yoe or Lago Vista.