Arrington Maiden described it as the coldest match he had played in his young career.
He may be lucky enough to have a much colder experience.
In College Station’s 37-19 first-round playoff win over San Antonio Wagner, the Cougars faced not only the Thunderbirds on Friday night, but also the weather as the teams faced high winds, intermittent rain and cool temperatures at Cougar Stadium.
“I feel like it made it difficult at times, but I really feel like we got over it,” said Maiden, a junior. “We had a few games that we would have liked to salvage from the weather, but we can’t control the weather, and that’s what [the coaches] tell us. Control the controllable elements, and I feel like we did that and we controlled the game.”
College Station faced an early deficit as the Thunderbirds took a 12-0 lead. Juan’Yae Taylor scored first on a 66-yard run on an option play, and on the ensuing kickoff Wagner collected the ball on an inbounds kick then walked 45 yards for a another score. Taylor got past the defense around the rim and jumped into the end zone for a 4-yard TD run to top off the drive.
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Taylor’s second touchdown with 5:21 left in the first quarter was the last time Wagner scored until the final seconds of the game.
“We replaced the outside linebackers with the throwing player inside the quarterback, which made it easier for the safeties to get down instead of extending further down the field,” College Station linebacker Chantz said. Johnson on the Cougars adjustments. “So they had more of an aisle to go down and play quarterback, while we had a throwing player.”
As the College Station defense began to find ground, so did the offense.
The Cougars notched back-to-back touchdowns in their next two drives to take the lead. Sophomore Aydan Martinez-Brown bulldozed his way into the end zone on 1 and 3 yard runs for a 14-12 lead.
“He played really well,” Maiden said of Martinez-Brown. “I think he ran the rock very, very well. He pounded it, coming out, and I think he’s a really hard runner and he’s fast. He can do anything. He can catch it in the backfield. He can block, and I think he is a very important element for our team.
Martinez-Brown finished with a team-best 147 yards on 32 carries. Despite the elements, the Cougars weren’t afraid to air it out either as Maiden completed 14 of 24 passes for 161 yards.
Tony Hamilton and Zach Dang also had second-quarter rushing touchdowns for a 28-12 halftime lead.
Dang was efficient with his chances to touch the ball. The elder had four runs on the night and scored on two of them. Dang then burst through the middle early in the fourth quarter and blasted his way through the defense for a 25-yard touchdown run for a 35-12 lead.
Kolton Griswold capped the Cougars’ score with a safety when he tackled Wagner punter Merce Mlondani, who faced a bad snap on a punt deep in the end zone with 7:59 left in the game.
Following security, the Cougars put their backups on.
With the win, College Station advances through the region to face Angleton at the Berry Center at 7 p.m. next Friday at Cypress. Wagner’s season ends at 6-5.
“We know it’s going to take a lot to keep winning,” Johnson said. “We have to have a good practice next week. We trained well this week, but we need to train harder next week, so we can keep playing and playing until December. That’s our goal, to come back [to the state title game].”
GALLERY: HS FB – College Station vs. San Antonio Wagner
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