BROWNWOOD – The San Saba Armadillos won three of their first four games this season by running the football. But in their District 4-2A Division I opener Friday night, the Armadillos unveiled a devastating passing game.
State-ranked San Saba beat its longtime rival, the Goldthwaite Eagles, 64-6, at Gordon Wood Stadium as quarterback Risien Shahan passed for 375 yards and six touchdowns. Shahan passed for 343 yards and all six of his touchdowns in the first two quarters as the Armadillos took a 56-6 halftime lead.
San Saba had averaged a modest 64 yards passing in its first four games while rushing for 322 yards per start.
“We didn’t have a good rhythm or a good pocket presence with our passing game,” San Saba coach Andreas Aguirre said after his team improved to 4-1. “We’ve been focusing on the passing game because we know we’re going to need it at some point.
“Our quarterback did a great job tonight, and our backs and line did a great job of protecting. We’re starting to jell, and that’s what we want to see in the passing game.”
Shahan had passed for just one touchdown prior to Friday, and receiver Logan Glover had no scoring catches after having 20 during the 2018 and 2019 seasons combined. But Glover caught five balls for 203 yards Friday — including touchdowns of 48, 41 and 74 yards.
“Tonight was big for Logan, and it was big for Risien,” Aguirre said. “Logan did an incredible job of attacking the ball. When the ball’s up in the air, it’s anybody’s. Logan didn’t wait on the ball to come down. He went and attacked the ball.”
Shahan also threw touchdown passes of 26 and 38 yards to Reagan Mija, plus a 41-yard scoring toss to running back Stone Sears. The 200-pound Sears also rushed for 104 yards and TDs of 1 and 8 yards. The Armadillos finished with 599 total yards.
“We love having those options,” Aguirre said of being able to run and throw effectively “But it starts with defense. You’ve got to play defense to give your offense a chance to go score.”
San Saba’s defense made its presence felt Friday. Defensive back Wesley Lackey returned a Goldthwaite fumble 41 yards to the Eagles’ 1-yard line, setting up Sears for a 1-yard touchdown run that staked the Armadillos to a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Lackey then recovered an onside kick, and on the following play, Shahan threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Glover. The two San Saba touchdowns 10 seconds apart extended the Armadillos’ leads to 21-0 midway through the first quarter.
“It was like the game kicked off, and we spotted them 21 points,” said Goldthwaite coach Keith Virdell, whose team fell to 2-3 overall. “Defensively, we got them into some third downs, and we were moving the ball some at first on offense. But they got the fumble and the onside kick, and the momentum rolled their way. They’ve got a great team.”
Shahan threw scoring passes of 38 yards to Mija and 41 yards to Glover as the Armadillos forged a 35-0 lead before the first quarter was over.
San Saba led 42-0 before Goldthwaite scored on quarterback Jackson Patrick’s 76-yard run with 10:24 left in the second quarter.
Overall, though, San Saba didn’t resemble a team that sat through a COVID-19 cancellation and a regularly scheduled open date during the last two weeks.
“It a great feeling to be playing again. There’s nothing like it,” Aguirre said. “It felt great to be going into battle with these kids again, knowing full well that it could be taken away just like that.
“We played well. There were some mistakes we need to clean up, but we played physical and we executed pretty well for the most part. It was nice to knock off the rust and get back after it.”
San Saba converted three Goldthwaite fumbles and the successful onside kick into 28 points.
Goldthwaite got 128 yards rushing from Patrick, but only 245 yards total.
In the 103rd meeting between San Saba and Goldthwaite, the Armadillos earned their first three-game win streak over the Eagles since 1987-1989.
San Saba 64, Goldthwaite 6
Score by Quarters:
San Saba 35 21 8 0 — 64
Goldthwaite 0 6 0 0 — 6
SS — Reagan Mija 26 pass from Risien Shahan (Justin Yarbrough kick), 8:28
SS — Stone Sears 1 run (Yarbrough kick), 6:31
SS — Logan Glover 48 pass from Shahan (Yarbrough kick), 6:21
SS — Mija 38 pass from Shahan (Yarbrough kick), 3:56
SS — Glover 41 pass from Shahan (Yarbrough kick), 1:01
SS — Sears 41 pass from Shahan (Yarbrough kick), 10:48
GO — Jackson Patrick 76 run (kick failed), 10:24
SS — Glover 74 pass from Shahan (Yarbrough kick), 9:45
SS — Sears 8 run (Yarbrough kick), 2:08
SS — Justin Yarbrough 24 run (Tegen Saiz pass from Mija), 3:00
First Downs 23 9
Rushes-Yards 32-212 46-241
Passing Yards 387 4
Total Yards 599 245
Comp-Att-Int 17-24-0 1-3-0
Punts 1-39 6-31
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-3
Penalties-Yards 6-60 7-35
RUSHING: San Saba – Stone Sears 13-104, Justin Yarbrough 3-50, Lance Taylor 4-36, Wesley Lackey 6-19, Risien Shahan 3-10, Franco Franco 1-3, Team 3-(-)10. Goldthwaite – Jackson Patrick 15-128, Seth Gardner 14-45, Aaron Anzua 7-32, Carsyn Campbell 6-19, Dusty Partin 4-17.
PASSING: San Saba – Shahan 15-21-0 for 375, Taylor 2-3-0 for 12. Goldthwaite – Patrick 1-3-0 for 4.
RECEIVING: San Saba – Logan Glover 5-203, Reagan Mija 3-72, Lackey 3-17, Sears 2-51, Yarbrough 1-24, Tegen Saiz 1-9, Franco 1-5, Izaah Bessent 1-5. Goldthwaite – Gardner 1-4.
[All photos courtesy of Terry Thompson]