The Tolar Rattlers (10-1) took their first postseason step toward what they hope will be the first state championship in school history as they dismantled Trenton at home on Nov. 9, 57-12. They will now meet Cayuga (7-4) in the second round of the Class 2A Division I playoffs Thursday, Nov. 16 at Lumpkin Stadium in Waxahachie.
A victory in that contest would move the Rattlers into a regional semifinals match against either DeLeon (7-4) or Italy (6-5). The Rattlers faced DeLeon during the regular season, winning 44-8 on the road on Oct. 13.
In the win over Trenton, Rattlers Isaac Blessing accounted for three touchdowns in his first playoff game as starting quarterback. He passed for two and ran for another.
On the receiving end of his touchdown passes were Matthew Behrens for 30 yards and Talan Culberson for 25.
The Rattlers rushed for 255 yards, led by two TD from Garrison Nation (60 rushing yards) and one from freshman Kelvin Murray, who was also the game’s leading rusher with 76 yards.
Junior all-state running back Peyton Brown continued his comeback after missing eight games with an ankle injury. He rushed five times for 65 yards.
Brown was among the nation’s leading high school running backs in 2022 with 2,777 yards and 49 touchdowns.
On the defensive side, Drake Owens led against Trenton with 12 tackles and a sack. Hunter Michels had 10 tackles (2 for loss), and Jaxon Riddle and Cash Clark each had seven. Michels, Cayden Abrego and Brooks Stone also had a sack each.
Tolar special teams got in on the scoring action also as Clayton Stembridge returned a kickoff 81 yards for a TD and Nation had a 54-yard punt return for a score.