Saltillo reaches playoffs behind Tollison’s 5-TD effort

Football stockBy Jay Tidwell

Special to the Journal

SALTILLO – Saltillo’s game plan was to establish the run so they could have more opportunities to throw.

Tyler Tollison got to do quite a bit of both.

The senior quarterback tossed three touchdown passes and ran for two more to help Saltillo knock off New Hope 49-24 on Friday and secure a slot in next week’s opening round of Class 5A playoffs.

Diamante Pounds, a hard-running junior, picked up 131 yards on 29 carries and added a pair of TDs for the Tigers (8-4, 4-3 in 1-5A), who will face Jackson Callaway in the first round.

“The offensive line blocked really well and we had guys out wide to make plays,” Tollison said. “We wanted to establish the run early then set up the play-action pass.”

Both running and passing worked well early for Saltillo, which led 35-0 at halftime.

Pounds scored on a 26-yard run and Tollison trotted in on a 3-yard keeper in the first quarter.

Saltillo’s threat to run the ball into the heart of the line prompted New Hope to go much of the night without a safety on defense.

Tollison completed scoring passes to David Little (57 yards), AJ Rye (25) and Malik Randolph (52) in a wild second period.

A fumble recovery by Colin Hardy set up the first TD pass. Little recovered an onside kick to kickstart the second. A sack by Ian Huckaby for a big loss led to the possession for the third.

Tollison finished with 7 of 14 passing for a season-high 187 yards and the three scoring completions, with no interceptions.

Sense of urgency

“We tried to put the game away early and we did,” said Saltillo coach Pat Byrd. “I want our guys to understand the urgency of the situation now and that it’s a one-week-at-a-time season. We’ve got to come out blazing because Callaway’s a good football team.”

Backup quarterback Deangelo Hamilton, a senior, led three scoring drives in the final eight minutes for New Hope (4-7, 2-5).

“We came out with a deer in the headlights look,” said Trojans coach Shawn Gregory. “They didn’t realize they were in a ballgame.”