SANGER - During his team's bye week after the Sanger Indians got out to a 5-0 start, head coach Chuck Galbreath wanted to see a transformation from his defense.
After two district games, it appears he's gotten what he wanted.
Sanger's defense held its ground late and overcame some turnovers from the Sanger offense and special teams units to beat Aubrey on Friday night to remain perfect after the 24-21 victory.
"They're gonna play with a chip on their shoulder now," Galbreath said of his defense, which pitched a 56-0 shutout of Pilot Point in last week's District 9-3A opener. "Yes we have a great offense, but we've decided we're going to play great defense as well and they've done that the last two weeks."
Aubrey rolled up 236 rushing yards on the night and kept Sanger's high-octane offense, led by quarterback Dane Evans, off the field for long stretches while the Indians defense had to deal with the Aubrey power running game made famous by head coach G.A. Moore, the winningest coach in Texas high school football history.
"It was physical," Galbreath said. "Give them credit, they played hard. But I'm proud of my football team. We fought and fought and did what we had to do to win the game."
Aubrey started off the scoring after a muffed punt gave the Chaparrals (2-5, 0-2) the ball at the Sanger 40-yard line when they marched to the end zone in nine plays, capped by a 3-yard run by sophomore backup quarterback Kyle Lynn, Moore's grandson.
But before he knew it, Moore's team would lose the lead for good.
Two plays after Aubrey's opening touchdown, Evans found running back Brock Squier for a 36-yard touchdown on a screen pass to tie the game with under two minutes to play in the first quarter.
Squier finished the night with 175 total yards - 96 on the ground and 79 receiving.
"He's done it all year long," Galbreath said. "He's been a trooper all year long. He's run great. He's a great blocker and he's a great receiver. He's a complete player then he turns around and plays most of the time on defense [at linebacker] as well. I'm very proud of him. It's exactly what I expected."
After Squier and his defense forced Aubrey to a three-and-out, Sanger once again answered with a flurry.
After a 47-yard punt pinned Sanger back at its 22-yard line, the Indians ran a jet sweep to receiver Jon Garza, who made five Aubrey tacklers miss and bolted 78 yards to the end zone as time expired in the first quarter.
After recovering an onside kick, Sanger (7-0, 2-0) tacked on a 30-yard field goal from Gage Hundley take a 17-7 lead just minutes into the second quarter.
But from that point, Aubrey made things interesting.
The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter as Sanger took a 24-14 lead into the half before Sanger's offense was held scoreless in the second half.
So was Aubrey's, but the Indians couldn't keep the Chaparrals off the scoreboard.
On the first play of the fourth quarter after Sanger's defense held Aubrey on fourth-and-3 from the Sanger 8-yard line, the Indians took possession at their own 7.
The shotgun snap to Evans was low, an ongoing problem throughout the night, and Aubrey's Erik Rodriquez recovered the ball in the end zone to pull Aubrey within three points.
Aubrey attempted a 47-yard, game-tying field goal with just more than seven minutes to play but Evan Moore's kick sailed wide left and the Indians held off one final drive with a minute to play to win the game.
"To play them close is fine," Moore said. "But I want to win. That's not good enough. We've got to come up with some big plays at the right time."
That strategy worked out better for Galbreath.
"I think it speaks to the character of this team to make big plays when we needed to," he said. "It speaks to the desire and team unity, and all those things. When you stay together and keep battling and overcome adversity, it's the mark of a good football team."
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Sanger 24, Aubrey 21
Aubrey 7 7 0 7 -- 21
Sanger 14 10 0 0 -- 24
A - Kyle Lynn 3 run (Josh Giles kick), 2:24
S - Brock Squier 36 pass from Dane Evans (Gage Hundley kick), 1:52
S - Jon Garza 78 run (Hundley kick), 0:00
S - Hundley 30 field goal, 10:01
A - Matt Anson 8 pass from Skyler Starling (Giles kick), 5:35
S - Dakota Cotten 11 pass from Evans (Hundley kick), 1:01
A - Erik Rodriquez recovered fumble in end zone (Giles kick), 11:48
First downs 14 18
Rushing yards 45-236 25-185
Passing yards 79 222
Total yards 315 407
Passes 8-18-0 16-25-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-avg 3-37.3 0-0.0
Penalties-yds 12-95 6-41
RUSHING - A: Skyler Starling 14-55, Charlie Radford 6-77, Mitchell Erp 9-38, Matt Anson 5-22, Albert Silva 9-37, Kyle Lynn 1-3, Dexter Loza 1-4. S: Brock Squier 17-96, Jon Garza 3-74, Dane Evans 4-22, TEAM 1-(-7).
PASSING - A: Skyler Starling 7-17-0-68, Kyle Lynn 1-1-0-11. S: Dane Evans 16-25-1-222.
RECEIVING - A: Charlie Radford 3-18, Michael Kister 1-32, Matt Anson 2-14, Karson Hall 1-11, Erik Rodriquez 1-4. S: Jon Garza 3-48, Dakota Cotten 4-65, Brock Squier 6-79, Jay Cain 3-30.
W L W L
Sanger 2 0 7 0
Argyle 2 0 6 1
Whitesboro 1 1 4 2
Pilot Point 1 1 2 4
Aubrey 0 2 2 5
Gainesville 0 2 2 5
THIS WEEK'S results
Sanger 24, Aubrey 21
Argyle 59, Whitesboro 14
Pilot Point 24, Gainesville 21 (OT)
NEXT WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, Oct. 21
Pilot Point at Aubrey
Sanger at Whitesboro
Argyle at Gainesville