HALLETTSVILLE – Call it a Cinderella story or label them underdogs.
Hallettsville quarterback Lane Linhart feels the Brahmas are exactly where they should be.
“It’s been our goal all year to prove everybody wrong,” Linhart said. “Missing the playoffs last year was a humbling experience, but it just made us work even harder.”
The Brahmas (10-2) are back in the Class 3A, Division I quarterfinals for the first time since 2016 and will face Columbus at 7 p.m. Friday at Katy’s Legacy Stadium.
All this despite having 21 players on their roster and overcoming multiple injuries.
“I credit our coaches,” said senior receiver Travis Matula. “I also credit our community for being behind us. Every time we play in a game, it’s filled. I credit that and us working hard. Even when people say we’re not great as a team, we keep changing people’s minds as we go.”
Hallettsville took care of undefeated George West in the regional round to advance and the Cardinals defeated Industrial.
The Brahmas have won four straight games and hope to extend their winning streak by advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 1976.
“The kids have worked hard and they’re a special group,” said Hallettsville coach Tommy Psencik. “It makes me thankful to God himself because I know we have very good kids. We may not have the best athletes across the board, but they have big hearts and you can’t measure that.”
This will be the second meeting between Hallettsville and Columbus.
The two teams met Sept. 27 with the Brahmas pulling out a 28-26 victory.
“We’re going to have to be even more physical than the first time we played,” Psencik said. “They’re hungry so we’re going to have to be more hungry than they are. For us to be successful, our kids are going to have to be focused the entire night. We’re expecting a barn-burner, smash-mouth type of game.”
The Brahmas are averaging over 33 points per game behind leading rusher Jonathon Brooks.
Brooks, a Class 3A Ford Tough winner, has rushed for 734 yards and 11 touchdowns in the playoffs.
“I couldn’t do it without our offensive line,” Brooks said. “The whole team is competing, communicating and working as a team. We’re keeping our minds straight and not worrying about other things outside of football. We’re all getting our jobs done.”
The Cardinals (11-2) are led by running back Tyre Simcik and quarterback Brock Schobel.
The two combined for 365 yards of total offense and four touchdowns against Industrial last week.
“We have to stop all of their athletes,” Brooks said. “They have a good running game and they have good receivers. They also have a good quarterback so we’ll have to study film and focus.”
The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the semifinals to play either Troy or defending state champion Grandview.
“Hallettsville has been to the fourth round quite a bit in the last few years,” Linhart said. “But we want to be the team that goes past it.”