The Turnaround – Sweetwater Wrap

Lubbock HS head coach Jason Strunk talks with him team.  Photos courtesy of Abby Reed Photography.

Lubbock HS head coach Jason Strunk talks with him team.
Photo courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

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


Sweetwater – 66
Lubbock – 35

So… Week One didn’t go our way. Are we going to roll over and cry now? Not likely. In fact, we are going to come out stronger and hungrier than in Week One. That is a fact. This game is an emotional roller coaster. Cannot get too high or too low. Just roll with it.

Lubbock RB Dae Dae Morgan scores. Photo Courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

Lubbock RB Dae Dae Morgan scores.
Photo Courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

This team showed character. Tons of it. No head hanging. No complaining. For the first time ever here I got into the locker and the captains, plus Soph. Dae Dae Morgan, were already talking to the team. What were they saying? “Let’s get this”, “This isn’t over”, “We need good body language”, “Nobody quits”. I could keep going but you get the idea. This team is special!

Sweetwater is a good team, ranked in the state, in fact. Three year starter at QB. Tremendous skill players. Very athletic. They are pretty darn good. You know what though, so are we. We just didn’t get it done in the first quarter. It was that simple.

Sweetwater started hot! Home crowd. They were jacked. Opening kickoff started it for them. They were set up on our forty after the big return. Their first play from scrimmage they go untouched for a TD on well designed draw. Just like that we are down. How did we respond? Like I knew we would.

QB James Garcia hit four different receivers and RB Dae Dae Morgan with passes. We played at a fast tempo. I personally do not feel we could have been stopped. Dae Dae capped the drive with tough, tackle-breaking TD run down the sideline to put us on the board. We were clicking. However, the play before Dae Dae hit pay dirt changed the complexion of the game.

James Garcia took a shot on his surgically repaired knee. He was hobbled. Could hardly walk. He tried to play through it, but his number one asset was taken from us: his legs and his

Lubbock QB James Garcia before the game.

Lubbock QB James Garcia before the game.
Photo courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

ability to make things happen. He was a sitting duck. We had to make a change at QB.

We were reeling. Stunned with Garcia’s injury, we went through an eight minute lull of some of the worse football we ever played. A pick six, a safety, a fumble, missed tackles. By the time the quarter was over we found ourselves in a 34-7 hole. Too much to overcome.

Following the disastrous first quarter, we played Sweetwater to a 32-28 game. No, they didn’t put in their reserves. Their number one units played the whole game up until about with four minutes left. We held our own. Had we weathered the early storm of adversity, it would have been a tight ball game.

Very proud of our effort and the willingness to play until the final whistle. Lots of character in this team. Our finest moment is still to come.

– WR Devontae Greathouse had a big game. He caught a long touchdown pass and hauled in another.
– Dae Dae Morgan. He is going to be special. The Soph ran for 76 yards, with a TD. He went in at QB and threw for 90 yards and 2 TD’s.
– Safety Tristan Warren came down with a pick and made several tackles. He looked good.
– Corner Kristian Johnson also had an int.
– Kicker Ryan Huber was perfect on his 5 PAT’s.

Kristian Johnson with INT for Westerners. Photo Courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

Kristian Johnson with return after INT for Westerners.
Photo Courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

One bad quarter. That was enough to derail our opening night. But we are well past that. We moved onto Andrews preparation on the two hour trip back from Sweetwater. All is good in Westerner land. Attitude is there. Mental toughness is there. It’s a new week and we are ready to roll!

Andrews comes to Lubbock this Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff. We have beaten Andrews the past two years. They are a solid team that has been to the playoffs the last two seasons. We need to play our best game on Saturday to get back to 1-1.

– Members of the United States Marine Corps will lead us onto the field on Saturday afternoon. They will also be my guests at the weekly Thursday Media Luncheon.
– Bus rides after a loss are really tough. Much tougher on a HC more than anyone else. How do I know this? Because I have had every position and title within a program. Trust me, it’s much tougher being the HC.
– My new calm and poised demeanor was on display on Friday night. Not joking, for those who really know me. First time ever the headset didn’t fly in a game. Stayed calm, despite all we went through. I like this new approach.
– Fans and beat writers for college sports are sometimes clueless. Look, it’s week one. Your teams will be fine. Let the coaches coach. Just be a fan and be quiet. Get a grip on reality.
– This team makes me proud. I love these kids. The hard work is going to pay off. Keep fighting!

Week one was not FIO’ed. Let’s hope we get to FIO’ing in week two. Until then… FIO in your daily life and be happy. Never take happiness for granted.

Adios…. For now.

Mustang Bowl - Home of the Sweetwater Mustangs.

Mustang Bowl – Home of the Sweetwater Mustangs.

Inside the Mustang Bowl.

Inside the Mustang Bowl.
Photo courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

Strunky's game stat sheet

Strunky’s game stat sheet

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.