Taft was in a dominating position early in the third quarter Friday night in Skidmore, but soon found itself fighting to stay in front.
The Hounds answered the call, though, pulling away from the host Skidmore-Tynan Bobcats on their way to a 46-21 victory in the regular-season finale at Bobcat Stadium Nov. 5.
“I’m just super proud of the kids and the effort that they showed in the second half,” said Greyhounds coach J.R. Castellano after the victory, which clinched the No. 3 seed out of District 16 in the 3A Division II playoffs.
“We went through some adversity there in the third and it could have easily gone against it, but they showed some toughness, some heart, some grit.”
Taft will enter the postseason with a record of 8-2 and will face Natalia in the bi-district round.
The Mustangs are 7-3 on the year and fresh off an upset loss to Karnes City in Week 11.
The bi-district meeting between the two teams is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff tonight (Thursday) at Three Rivers’ Bulldog Stadium.
“I think if we just keep on going and pay attention to the little details then we can make a little run,” Castellano said about his team’s chances in the postseason.
The Hounds ran away from Skidmore in the second half to secure their No. 3 seed.
Taft scored the first 26 points of the contest, including the first six of the second half to make it 26-0.
Skidmore reeled off the next 21 points, though, and had Taft on its heels early in the fourth quarter.
But, with 6:53 left in the game, the Hounds made it 32-21 with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Josh Suarez.
On the first play of the ensuing Skidmore possession, Enrique Rodriguez scooped up a Bobcat fumble and returned it 13 yards for a Greyhound touchdown.
In a span of 23 seconds, Taft ballooned its lead from five to 18.
And 3 1/2 minutes later, J.J. Acosta scrambled in for a 4-yard touchdown to put the finishing touches on the win.
Acosta finished the night 20 of 27 for 302 yards and two TDs through the air and rushed for 108 yards and a pair of scores on 16 carries.
Suarez scored twice and had 33 yards on eight carries. He also led the team in receiving with 115 yards and a TD on eight catches.
Efrain Ozuna caught five passes for 114 yards, while Rodriguez had two catches for 73 yards.
Chris Cantu led the Hounds defense with 10 tackles. Ozuna had seven stops, while Steven Rivera and Jacob Gomez both had six tackles.