Saltillo takes advantage of fumbles, keeps streak going

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal Saltillo defender David Little delivers a hit that knocks the ball away from Baldwyn's Duke Upshaw in the third quarter Friday night. The fumble was returned for a Saltillo touchdown.

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal
Saltillo defender David Little delivers a hit that knocks the ball away from Baldwyn’s Duke Upshaw in the third quarter Friday night. The fumble was returned for a Saltillo touchdown.

By Jay Tidwell

Special to the Journal

BALDWYN – Baldwyn let another one slip away against Saltillo.

With heavy rains not making it easy for anyone to hold onto the ball, the Tigers took advantage of the Bearcats’ half-dozen fumbles for a 49-19 win on Friday.

It was the fifth consecutive victory by Saltillo (4-1) against its rivals to the north.

“The weather played a big part, but I think we overcame the elements,” said Saltillo quarterback Tyler Tollison. “And we did a really good job of controlling the football and making sure we didn’t turn it over.”

Diamante Pounds rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts to help Saltillo stay in control while both teams battled a relentless downpour.

Pounds carried defenders into the end zone on an 11-yard TD carry with 8 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the opening period.

Baldwyn stayed within 8-6 when Duke Upshaw scampered in from 13 yards out on the following series.

A.J. Rye returned the next kickoff 90 yards for a score, and the Tigers – and the rain – didn’t let up.

Rye kicked a pair of field goals from 37 and 35 yards in the final minute of the second quarter.

“We played pretty well, but gave up a big play for a touchdown, and a little bit of a drive,” said Saltillo coach Pat Byrd. “We played like the conditions tonight – kind of sloppy in spots.”

After a Baldwyn fumble, Tollison scrambled 28 yards into the end zone with 5:10 in the third. Conner Wade returned another fumble 15 yards on the following possession to give the Tigers a 49-12 advantage heading into the fourth.

The Bearcats (2-3) picked up a TD on defense when Matthew Gates returned a fumble 65 yards with 9:39 in the fourth.

“They are a good football team, and we knew we had our hands full when we showed up tonight,” said Baldwyn coach Michael Gray. “I thought we hung in there early. In the second half, our defense came out and stuffed them, then we turned it right back over.”