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Hallettsville faces Marion in bi-district round

Nov. 7, 2011 at 5:07 a.m.

Hallettsville running back Teidrick Smith carries the ball against Yoakum earlier this season

HALLETTSVILLE - Hallettsville coach Tommy Psencik couldn't resist using a old rodeo analogy to explain the Brahmas' success this season.

"It's just kind of like hauling hay," Psencik said. "The more hay you haul the more paycheck you expect. I think they're finally realizing they put a lot into it so they kind of started to expect something out of it."

Psencik wasn't hauling hay Monday afternoon, instead he was back on the practice field coaching the Brahmas as they prepare for their first playoff game since 2007.

Hallettsville finished third in District 14-2A, Division I and will meet Marion in a bi-district game Saturday night in Floresville.

"Man, it's amazing," said senior Ryan Renken. "All the years past, working for nothing, working for nothing and now we all come out and we're doing well. We just want to go as far as we can and make all the work pay off."

A playoff berth seemed unlikely for the Brahmas when they lost four of their first five games, including a 47-36 loss to Edna in their district opener.

"We knew how it was in past years," Renken said. "The losing and stuff like that. I think the seniors we got together and realized we didn't want that for our last year of football. We got the younger guys together and they wanted to get on the bandwagon too. We all worked together."

Hallettsville traveled to Altair and captured a 20-14 win over Rice Consolidated before returning home and losing to Hempstead 35-13 before heading into its bye week.

The Brahmas were 1-2 in district, but Psencik and his staff could sense a change in the team's attitude.

"We get into district and we had a pretty bad start," he said. "The Hempstead game as bad as that was as far as score wise, it was an ugly game, it was very physical and I think our kids saw they could play at a high level. Going into the Van Vleck game, they were just a different ball club altogether confidence wise."

The players were disappointed in their 2-5 record, but understood the losses came against good teams, including state-ranked Ganado, Refugio and Hempstead.

"We all knew we were in the running," Renken said. "Playing Refugio we were the leading scorer on them and that opened our eyes. We played winning teams and we realized what we needed to do if we wanted to have a winning season."

The Brahmas lost starting quarterback Carson Schindler in their final non-district game.

But Braden Kahanek, who had played quarterback last season, was able to step in and run the offense.

Psencik also credits the wide receivers for their willingness to block and the defensive line for its ability to stop the run.

But mostly he applauds the players for their resiliency and for refusing to give up on the season.

"I think they saw the coaches weren't lying to them," Psencik said. "That all along, they had been telling the truth that you are a good ballclub and if you do things right and pull together, you can win. Everybody started preaching team, especially the seniors. They finally started believing in themselves and the program."

Final state rankings

Calhoun moved from No. 6 to No. 5 in The Associated Press' final regular-season Class 4A state poll.

The Sandcrabs finished 10-0 for the first time in school history.

Refugio received 23 of 25 first-place votes and remained No. 1 in the Class 2A state poll.

Schulenburg stayed at No. 9 and East Bernard got 10 votes in the Class 2A poll.

Ganado got 18 first-place votes and held the No. 1 position in the Class 1A poll.

Gonzales received six votes in the Class 3A poll.

All-state nominations

Nominations are needed for The Associated Press Sports Editors all-state teams.

Nominations for the AP all-state team are based on the regular season.

Coaches should include a player's grade classification, position and regular-season statistics.

Coaches may email nominations to mforman@vicad.com.

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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