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Brahmas happy with healthy QB

By Keldy Ortiz
Sept. 7, 2013 at 4:07 a.m.

Hallettsville's Brannen Caraway (5), Landon McAfee (4) and Brett Garner (54) bring down a Shiner running back during the Brahmas' 39-0 win Friday night.

HALLETTSVILLE - Nate Kowalik played his last game of the season as Hallettsville quarterback in 2012 against Shiner.

He threw for six touchdowns before injuring his knee and missing the rest of the season.

Friday night, Kowalik, now a junior, had two touchdown passes in the Brahmas' 39-0 win against the Comanches at Brahma Memorial Stadium.

Brahmas coach Tommy Psencik was happy about the win but was glad to have his quarterback unharmed.

"Obviously, he's a good player for us," Psencik said. "We count on him on the throwing game, especially, and he's a good leader for us. He understands the game, so having him for a third game is huge. Ja'Kree Porter, our nose guard, he didn't make it through last year's game. Those were two guys that got hurt this game last year, too."

Comanches coach Steven Cerny, though sad about the defeat, gave congrats to the Brahmas, including Kowalik.

"He proved himself last year," Cerny said. "We knew he was good. He did the same to us last year. They lost a great player in him last year. If they had him, they would have had more depth than they did."

In one quarter, Kowalik threw two touchdowns passes that helped the Brahmas go up early.

"Coach (Psencik) emphasized all week to just play hard and fast and put points on the board," Kowalik said. "We made our adjustments in the first half and just went from there."

Next week, the Brahmas will play against Yoakum. Last year's game was a close one for the Brahmas, as they edged out the win.

Kowalik will play in the game against Yoakum healthy and injury-free.

"It means a lot to me. That really hurt me when I didn't get to play last year," Kowalik said. "I'm just trying to make it through the year healthy and keep everyone else healthy."

When the team returned to practice the following week after beating the Comanches last season, they were without their fallen Brahma.

The blow hurt the Brahmas but didn't dampen their hopes. The Brahmas had high expectations for themselves with or without Kowalik.

In 2011, they muscled their way to the regional playoffs. They were met, however, by a Hempstead team and were eliminated. The 2012 season, the Brahmas redeemed themselves.

Hallettsville went undefeated, a first since 1979. They were district champions. They defeated Hempstead, twice during the season, including the playoffs. They made it to the state quarterfinals only to be defeated by eventual state champion Cameron Yoe.

All of this without Kowalik calling the plays.

Kowalik will soon get a chance to make an impact the town of Hallettsville would not soon forget.

In the spring, a rejuvenated Kowalik was part of the varsity baseball team. The Brahmas navigated their way to the UIL 2A State Championship game against Hughes Spring Mustangs in Round Rock.

Fast forward to the top of the seventh inning, where with one out, the baseball was hit on the ground to Kowalik. Knowing there was one out, Kowalik stepped on second base and threw to first base for the game-ending double play.

The Brahmas won their third UIL state title. On the 2012 team were teammates who he went to battle with on the gridiron. Senior receiver Dalton Herrington was one of them.

"It's good to have them back and moving forward," Herrington said. "We need everybody we got."

The focus for the Brahmas this football season is to go far - going far with them will be Kowalik.

GAME NOTES

• Dalton Herrington had two punt returns for touchdowns, one in the second for 80 yards and one in the third quarter for 63 yards.

• Shiner did not have much offensive power. It didn't help that Comanches quarterback Tyler Patek threw an interception. He finished two for eight, throwing for 22 yards.

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