The Turnaround – A Win at Borger

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

Lubbock LIt never comes easy. No matter what.

We rolled into Borger, which is three hours from Lubbock, with a bunch of unknowns. Who was going to play where? How would the young kids we brought up handle their first varsity start? Would Dae Dae Morgan come up with some big plays for us at QB? We got a bunch of answers Friday night and they were pretty good ones!

We started sluggish on offense in the first half. Borger was loading the box and daring us to throw it. We couldn’t get much going. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-0 lead. We threw a pick on a screen deep in our territory. They scored one play later. After another three and out on offense, I went for a fake punt. Borger snuffed it out. The defense held them to a field goal. At this point, nothing was going our way.

Finally, we capitalized on a Borger turnover in the second quarter. Dae Dae hit Devontae Greathouse for 10 yards. The very next play, Dae Dae took it to pay dirt to cut the lead to 10-7. Fighting back.

Later in the second, Borger struck us in the jaw. They hit a fifty yard TD pass on us. They botched the PAT but were still up 16-7.

We fought. We battled. Don Jackson, our safety, made some big-time hits. We were in this game. I told the team before the game to give yourselves a chance. They did just that.

We were kicking off to the start the second half. Jinks White, our Special Teams Coordinator, had other ideas about Borger receiving the kick. Jinks and Brandt Martin worked with our kickers all week on our “Chip” kick. Basically, we were going to pop the kick up to the right and run underneath it. AJ Garza kicked it perfectly. Will Castro caught it in stride, but lost control of the ball. Luckily, Don Jackson was there again and pounced on it. Westerner ball. It changed the rest of the game.

Dae Dae hit Devante Greathouse with a TD to cut the lead to 16-14. The defense, which played huge all night long, forced a three and out. The offense drove down the field again, but Borger stiffened. We sent Ryan Huber on to attempt a FG. He drilled it from 27 yards away and we were up 17-16.

Special teams pinned Borger deep on the ensuing kickoff. On 3rd and 10, OLB Jacob Medrano stepped in front of a screen pass and picked off the Bulldogs. From there, Dae Dae and the offense took care of business. Dae Dae punched it in and we were up 23-16. We missed the PAT. A huge, huge point as we would later find out.

Borger took the kickoff and drove down the field like they were the Joe Montana 49’ers of 1989. They punched it on us and we had a tie game. They hit their PAT. The one we missed left us at 23-23.

Momentum was clearly on Borger’s side. They stuffed us on our next possession. If we were going to win we needed the defense to come up big. Freshmen Tristan Snook came up with a huge sack from his NG position on the Bulldog’s next possession, forcing a punt. Sophomore Blake Robbins took the punt and got us set up across midfield. It was a big return!

We milked the clock and forced Borger to use some timeouts. A pass interference call moved us into Huber’s range. We took one shot to Greathouse in the end zone before sending the field goal unit out. Huber drilled the kick from 31 yards out for a 26-23 lead with 2:50 left in the game.

The game was in the hands of the defense. A big return and a face mask call had the Bulldog’s set up at our 30. We got another sack and broke up a pass (Don Jackson again) on 4th down. The defense rose to the occasion again and allowed our offense to set up in victory formation.

A big win on the road. A homecoming crowd. Tough environment. The Westerners came through. It was a big win for our entire team and a huge confidence boost to our young guys.

Glad I could share it with you!

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.