Originally published on Saturday, November 12, 2011
Schulenburg's first test in the playoffs came quicker than it may have expected.
The No. 9 Shorthorns shook off a pair of costly third-quarter turnovers to claim a 51-28 Class 2A, Division II bi-district playoff win over Banquete on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Schulenburg improved to 10-1 on the season and advanced to the area round against Poth, which had a first-round bye. The Shorthorns will return to Memorial Stadium to play the Pirates next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Schulenburg had taken what appeared to be a comfortable 31-14 lead into halftime after Kyle Bludau kicked a 35-yard field goal as the clock expired.
But the Bulldogs (7-4) recovered two fumbles by Jyron McKenzie, including one in the end zone, and scored two touchdowns in 16 seconds, cutting the lead to 31-28 with 8:01 left in the third quarter.
"I just told them sometimes adversity strikes and you've got to play through adversity," said Schulenburg coach Tommy Bludau. "I thought our kids did a great job of doing that."
The Shorthorns responded with consecutive touchdown drives capped by Kyle Bludau runs to regain control of the game.
"We grew up real fast," Kyle Bludau said. "We took a drive down and held them and made them punt and I was proud of how we scored again. We were right back on top of the game."
Tommy Bludau had warned his team during the week not to overlook Banquete and the message resonated when the game got close.
"We were told that by my dad all week," Kyle Bludau said. "We saw how they played Refugio the No. 1 team in the state. We knew they were that good, we just had to adjust."
McKenzie had an outstanding first half, running and receiving. He overcame his two second-half turnovers to finish with 65 yards rushing and one touchdown, while catching six passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.
When Banquete began to key on McKenzie in the second half, Kyle Bludau went to work. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 17 times for 73 yards and four touchdowns.
"Our plan (considering) the way they came off the edge was throwing Jyron the screen pass and we were very effective throwing the screen passes," Tommy Bludau said. "They adjusted a little and I thought we threw the ball real well and we caught the ball real well and I thought we were pretty balanced tonight."
Schulenburg limited Banquete to 106 rushing yards. The Bulldogs completed only 11 of 31 passes, but had 226 yards through the air.
"I'm pleased we're bi-district champions," Tommy Bludau said. "There are always areas to improve on. I just thought we had a little meltdown in that third quarter that you can't afford to have in the playoffs or sometimes you can exit the playoffs pretty quick."