A 28-point second half outburst by the Barbers Hill Eagles was too much for the Santa Fe Indians as they fell by a final score of 35-25 on Friday night at Joe Raitano Field.
Eagles backup quarterback Dalton Holland was used sparingly in the first half, but took command of the Barbers Hill offense in the second half.
Holland in the second half alone was 10 of 13 for 167 yards passing with three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
Winning 12-7 at halftime, the first drive by the Eagles looked well for the Indians as senior Landon Thompson forced a fumble deep in the Indians’ half of the field to stop an Eagles drive.
However, a three-and-out ended in the Indians punting out of their own end zone, and after the punt, the Eagles started at the Santa Fe 33-yard line.
Two plays later, the Eagles were in the end zone as Dalton found Brady Rogers from 32 yards out and after an extra point led 14-12.
A bad kickoff recovery by the Indians again set them up in horrible field position and again forced them to punt out of their own end zone, and the Eagles gained control at the 34-yard line.
A 6-yard touchdown pass by Holland to Christian Rhodes pushed the lead to 21-12, but the Indians would not go quietly with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
For whatever reason, Barbers Hill elected to go for a fake punt at its own 38-yard line and failed, setting up Santa Fe with great field position.
Senior quarterback Nathan Kruger made sure the drive would end in points as he found his favorite target, senior receiver Austin Lamb, on a 5-yard forward pitch, cutting the lead to 21-18 after a failed extra point.
Kruger, finding himself down 10 points with 10:30 left in the game, led his team back down the field and running back Bryce Montemayor was shot out of a canon from 16 yards out to cut the lead to 28-25 after an extra point by kicker Noe Rico.
The Indians would go on to exchange turnovers and allow another score by Holland, as his pace was just too much for the Indians to keep up with.
The Indians scored the game’s first points, embarking on a 12-play, 62-yard drive, lasting over 5 minutes, capped off when Lamb took a direct snap and ran left toward the pylon, beating defenders to the end zone for a 6-0 lead, after a failed extra point.
Barbers Hill took that touchdown and raised the Indians another point, mirroring the Indians on their own 12-play drive from 62 yards out. Quarterback Connor Dunham found receiver Cameron Cauley from 14 yards out and the Eagles took the lead after an extra point 7-6.
Santa Fe and Barbers Hill would trade punts for the remainder of the first quarter and much of the second quarter.
With 5:40 left in the first half, an Indian defender laid a heavy hit on a Barbers Hill run causing a fumble and the Indians took over at the Eagles 29-yard line.
Six plays later, Kruger gave the Indians the lead, bashing his way between the tackles for a 2-yard touchdown run for a 12-6 lead after a failed two point conversion.
The Indians will open the playoffs against Fort Bend Marshall at Hall Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday.