FLORESVILLE - Before taking the field against Luling, Hallettsville senior quarterback Carson Schindler reminded the offensive line how important it was to squash the opposition's dream of an upset.
"We have to come off rolling off the bye week," Schindler said. "We've really got to come out firing and not really slump on offense."
It took Hallettsville (11-0) less than nine mintues to score the first 23 points of the game and cruised by Luling (7-5) 43-12 in the Class 2A, Division I area playoffs at Eschenburg Field on Friday.
Schindler completed 10-of-14 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns to go with 91 yards and another score rushing.
"We didn't want to test the water tonight," said Hallettsville head coach Tommy Psencik. "We wanted to jump out on them and see if we could run the ball. It just worked out in our favor."
The win clinches Hallettsville's second straight trip to the regional playoffs where it will play either San Diego or Hempstead. Those team play their area playoff game in New Braunfels on Saturday.
Senior running back and defensive lineman Teidrick Smith rushed for 81 yards, scored three total touchdowns and even blocked a punt.
The Brahmas defense made sure the early lead stood up. Hallettsville sacked Eagles quarterback Trayden Station five time and held Luling to 170 yards of offense.
"We came out with a lot of fire, that's what we wanted to do," Smith said. "We came out and we stuffed them. We didn't let them have time in the pocket and came out with the win."
The Brahmas may have had a strong opening half, but they hit a snag in the game's opening seconds.
A botched return on the opening kickoff resulted in the Brahmas beginning the game on their own 1-yard-line.
But Smith ensured the Brahmas wouldn't stay in the shadow of their own end zone very long. The senior carried the ball four times for 40 yards, including a five-yard touchdown, to give help Hallettsville to an early 8-0 lead.
"We just sat there and pounded it and pounded it," Smith said.
The Brahmas marched 99 yards on seven plays on the opening drive.
Tiim Sheppard had a 66-yard touchdown run and Schindler hit Trenton McGee on a 35-yard scoring pass to help the Brahmas build a 23-point lead.
"He's able to get it in the end zone, if you don't tackle him, he'll get it there," said Psencik about Smith.
Although the Eagles cut into the lead with a touchdown, Schindler and Smith made sure Luling didn't build on any momentum.
On a called bootleg pass, Schindler avoided a sack and hit Smith to his left before being taken down. Smith did the rest, running 30 yards for a toucchdown.
"He's very shifty in the pocket and can move around," said Smith about Schindler. "It bought time and thank God he saw me. He made something happen out of that, that was just a good play by Carson."
Junior defensive back and wide receive Dalton Herrington intercepted Station on the ensuing drive. Herrington led all Brahma receivers with six catches for 80 yards.
Schindler continued to make plays with his feet in the second half.
On Hallettsville's first drive of the second half, he picked up the ball after alow snap and improvised for a 27 yard rushing touchdown.
"The hole was there and the lineman did a good job and we came out with a good play out of it," Schindler said.
It appeared Schindler had another rushing score in three minutes later, but a 38-yard rushing touchdown was nullified because of a block-in-the-back penalty at the 5-yard line.
Smith's second 5-yard rushing touchdown capped the scoring for Hallettsville.
The Brahmas won going away, but Smith said the team still has to work on some things if they want to advance and play football in December.
Hallettsville was flagged for 130 penalty yards and fumbled the ball four times, losing one.
"Being able to show them that we still can improve is going to be huge," Psencik said. "They know that we've got to improve where we want to be."