Against a larger team that came in undefeated, an injury-hit Walnut Springs squad just barely missed out on a playoff victory Friday night in Ponder.
The Hornets (6-5) tied things up at 26-26 against Savoy (10-0) in the fourth quarter, but a very late touchdown enabled Savoy to escape with a 34-26 win.
"They were a lot bigger than us at every position and we were down 12-0 before we decided to start playing," said coach Tim Trotter. "Part of it was nerves and having a lot of young kids with two freshmen and two sophomores starting on offense. We played hard and our defense stepped up to get some stops. I was so happy with the kids' effort.
"In the third quarter (down 26-20), we had three opportunities to score and they held us. We couldn't stop them on their last drive and they scored with (1:18) left."
Quarterback Carlos Ramirez completed 10 of 19 passes for 140 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He ran 10 times for 80 yards with a touchdown and the freshman made 13 tackles.
"Carlos is somebody we'll have to depend on in the future," Trotter said. "He played a real good game; overall I'd give him an A. There were a couple of plays where he needed to run and he tried to throw that could've gone for touchdowns."
Noel Chavez completed one of two passes for 12 yards, while senior Zane Trotter had two incompletions with an interception. Trotter was the starter most of the season until breaking his collarbone.
"I let Zane play two plays and he threw the interception on the second one with 50 seconds left," the coach said. "One of our receivers didn't run the right route and he would've been wide open, so Zane should've thrown it out of bounds. We used play-action on both of those plays so there wasn't any chance of Zane getting hit."
Dillon Rose ran 12 times for 80 yards and a touchdown to go with five catches for 51 yards and a score. He also made 15 tackles and recovered a fumble. The senior's four-yard touchdown run with 5:59 left to play tied the score at 26-26.
"Dillon's blocking was unbelievable," Trotter said. "He was putting guys on the ground every time we ran sweep. His defense was really good to make some big stops, along with Oscar (Ruiz) and Carlos (Ramirez) in the middle."
Ruiz finished with nine tackles and an interception, while Wayne Heartsill made 10 tackles.
"Wayne finished really strong in these last few games and I'm proud of his improvement," Trotter said.
Tony Chavez caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown to go with 11 tackles on defense.
"Carlos Lerma and Tony Chavez played a solid game at defensive back," Trotter said.
Trenton Trotter caught three passes for 53 yards.
"Trenton had one of his best offensive games and got open to make some big first downs," the coach said.
While Walnut Springs has some productive players like Ramirez and Chavez coming back, it will lose a lot of key seniors.
"Those seniors have been loyal," Trotter said. "When I came (to Walnut Springs) they were eighth graders. They've always worked hard and it meant a lot to them. I sure wanted to win this game for them and we expected to have a better year, but with injuries and other circumstances it just wasn't meant to be."