The Turnaround – A Week Off

PlainsCapital Park

by Jason Strunk, Lubbock High School Head Football Coach

Hello, this is Coach Strunk.  I’m writing a blog.  Why?  Because I feel like it.  That’s how it goes.

So, last week I didn’t write one.  I know the one billion readers of my scribes were devastated by my week off. I apologize from the bottom of the turf at PlainsCapital Park — but the week off was necessary.

You see, last week we played Monterey. It’s Lubbock High‘s arch-rival. There is so much hoopla with this game, it makes me nauseous at times. It is constantly shoved down your throat.  I love rivalry games, but sometimes everything pure and simple about coaching high school athletes gets lost in rivalry week.  It’s disturbing.

Related: Jason Strunk on High School Football America Radio Show talking about 2014 Silver Spurs Game

I took a week off, because I didn’t feel like writing about anything involving this game.  My message to the team all week was this — this is a normal game.  We are not going to talk about winning the Silver Spurs.  We are just going to play football, just like we do every other week.

In my first four years here, my guys would go play Monterey and lose their minds. They would get so wound-up that they would forget what they are paying for.  We suddenly couldn’t line up right, we racked up ridiculous penalties etc.  In four years we were never even in a game with them at halftime.

This coach (me) had enough of the nonsense.

Related: The Turnaround 2015 archives

Related: The Turnaround 2014 archives

I slowed the week down.  I preached normalcy.  I talked about keeping our composure. We discussed having fun.  Those were our keys. The funny thing about all this is, we went out did it.  We followed my plan to the T.

Friday night we opened with a 75 yard TD pass on the games first play from scrimmage.  We did good things.  We racked up 407 yards of offense. We went into halftime down 21-10.  This was the very first time we were in the game with Monterey at halftime.  Sure, the second half didn’t go our way.  A one-and-a-half hour lightning delay during the second half didn’t help us.  We lost our steam, but we battled.  We definitely did.

Related: Monterey tops Lubbock 49-20

I’m proud of this effort.  Monterey is a good football team. They will be in the playoffs.  Our plan this week worked.  We kept our composure.  We just played the game.  That’s all I ever want!

Here are some irritating points about rivalry games:
1. Student bodies insulting each other via social media.
2. Rival schools vandalizing schools, fields and vehicles. What is the point?
3. “If you can’t get up for Monterey, you can’t be ready to play anyone” ?Huh?

Listen. We have ten games a year — they are all of equal importance. You better be equally upset over a loss to someone else, just as you are to your rival.

Take a step back and evaluate what you are doing.  It’s a high school football game for crying out loud.

Friday night was the best crowd I have ever seen at PlainsCapital Park.  It was packed.  Our student section is the best in the country!  They waited the delay out and came back into the stadium strong and unified!  I could hear them chanting and cheering from the parking lot while we waited this one out.  It’s gave me goosebumps.

I am very lucky to lead a team with such a tremendous student body!!!  THEY ARE THE BEST!

Monterey Head Coach Wayne Hutchinson is a good friend and one of the best in the business.  He is a classy guy and does things the right way.  It is always a pleasure to coach on the opposite sideline from him.  I’m very thankful he is here in LISD!

Good luck to the Plainsmen the rest of the way!

-When you lose your self-respect over a football game you need to do some soul searching.
-The Yankees. Looks like they will be in the playoffs.  YAY!  They will lose the WildCard, as they have no pitching. CC Biscuit Boy can’t cut it anymore.
-Anyone know how the Red Sox are doing? Fish, anything??
-The NFL is boring.  I would rather get eaten by a shark than analyze an NFL game.
-Fantasy football.  Are you serious?  ESPN has fools that break this stuff down. Unreal!  Goes to show you can make solid money and contribute nothing meaningful to society.
-A good football coach cannot allow himself to eat hummus.
-QB coach Tyler Lloyd slammed his hands down on his hips in disgust the other night.  It was quite the scene.
-Nate Jephcott eats cottage cheese during games.
-I saw a polar bear crossing the street in downtown Lubbock this morning.

That’s all.  I FIO’ed rivalry week.  Hope everyone else across America can do so one day.  It would be a good thing to do!  Keep your wits about you.

Follow Coach Strunk on Twitter @WestTXCoach

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.