Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Indians rush past Gainesville in 9-3A
GAINESVILLE -- The Indians have proudly worn the label of a passing team during their successful campaign this year. But Friday night, Sanger relied on the rushing attack, led by juniors Brock Squier and Hayden Thomas, to secure a 35-28 win over Gainesville.
"We're known as a passing team," said Sanger head coach Chuck Galbreath. "But the times we've needed to take the ball and run it, we've been able to do that.
Squier followed his touchdown run late in the fourth quarter with a sack of Gainesville quarterback Kielyn Lewis to seal the victory and set up a showdown with Argyle next week for the District 9-3A crown.
Sanger (9-0, 4-0) quarterback Dane Evans got the scoring started early. Just under two minutes into the first quarter, Evans connected with wide out Nathan Rotter, who had beaten the cornerback and safety, for a 68-yard touchdown strike.
But the potent Indian offense was kept out of the end zone for the rest of the first quarter and much of the second until junior Jon Garza took the game over.
With the Leopards pinned deep in their own territory, Garza intercepted Lewis at the Gainesville 28-yard line. One play later, Evans connected with Garza on a 28-yard strike that seemed to swing the momentum in Sanger's favor.
On the ensuing kickoff, however, Lewis scampered 72 yards to the end zone and after the extra point attempt failed, the Leopards trailed the undefeated Indians 14-12.
In the second half, the Indians again wasted no time getting on the board. On Gainesville's first play from scrimmage, the Indian defense stuffed a Gainesville run attempt at the line of scrimmage, stripped the ball, and one play later saw Thomas sprint around the left end for a 15-yard score.
Thomas and Squier combined for 186 yards rushing on the night.
But the Leopards responded with a plodding 17-play drive capped by a 2-yard Kenyon Morgan run that once again crushed any momentum the Indians had built. Morgan carried the ball 13 times on the 67-yard drive and finished the night with 130 yards on 29 carries.
Gainesville (6-3, 2-2) relied on strong special teams play and a relentless running attack throughout the night to stay competitive against the high-powered Indians. The Leopards rushed the ball 47 times for 225 yards in an effort that pushed the Indian defense to the brink. And with 5:29 left in the game, tied the score with a 43 yard field goal.
That's when Squier took over.
The next Indian possession was all Squier as he ran the ball six times for 50 yards including a 14-yard touchdown scamper for what would be the decisive score.
But the Leopards were not ready to concede and Squier wasn't done. Gainesville took the kickoff and marched the ball down to the Sanger 25-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-4, Lewis dropped back to pass and Squier came off the strong side to blindside the quarterback and seal the victory for the Indians.
"I'm proud of our defense," Galbreath said. "They're a good offense. But at the end of the game when we needed to stop them, we did. And I'm very proud of everyone."
As for that clash next week against the Eagles in Sanger, Galbreath knows his team has a challenge ahead.
"Obviously we're going to have to have a great week of work," he said. "We'll have to prepare like champions. This is what we play for as a player and a coach. We're going to line up next week and play our socks off and try to win a district championship."
The match up with Argyle kicks off at 7:30 at Indian Stadium.
Sanger 35, Gainesville 28
Sanger 7 7 7 14 -- 35
Gainesville 0 12 7 9 -- 28
S - Nathan Rotter 68 pass from Dane Evans (Gage Hundley kick), 10:07
G - Kenyon Morgan 4 run (kick failed), 10:01
S - Jon Garza 28 from Evans (Hundley kick), 2:35
G - Kielyn Lewis 72 kick return (kick failed), 2:18
S - Hayden Thomas 15 run (Hundley kick), 11:39
G - Morgan 2 run (Juan Hernandez kick), 3:19
G - Devyone Lewis 23 run (conversion failed), 9:25
S - Evans 1 run (Hundley kick), 7:39
G - Hernandez 43 field goal, 5:54
S - Brock Squier 14 run (Hundley kick), 3:55
First downs 20 16
Rushing yards 29-188 47-225
Passing yards 213 57
Total yards 401 282
Passes 11-25-1 3-9-1
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 1-1
Punts-Avg 3-41 2-51.5
Penalties-Yards 8-85 2-20
Rushing - S: Evans 6-2, Brock Squier 12-71, Hayden Thomas 10-115.G: Morgan 29-130, Lewis 10-43, Harold Wills 4-14, Jack Magee 3-15, Devyone Lewis 1-23.
Passing - S: Evans 11-25-1-213. G: Lewis 3-9-1-57.
Receiving - S: Zane Paddack 3-30, Rotter 1-68, Garza 3-57, Scott 3-52, Hayden Thomas 1-6. G: Harold Wills 2-47, Morgan 1-10.