Winters wins a penalty marred game 

  The 4-0 Winters Blizzards traveled to Christoval to take on the 3-1 Cougars in Cougar country. What followed was a penalty-marred game when the officials could never seemingly get on the same page and in which the Blizzards fought hard to come home with a win.

  The Blizzards received the kickoff ideal conditions, temperature in the low 80s on a beautiful partly cloudy west Texas fall evening.  Winters started off with a couple of runs for short gains. Then there was a fumble on the handoff from senior quarterback Javon Young to junior running back Sema’jae Jackson but the ball went out of bounds so Winters retained possession. They gained 15 yards on the 2nd and 20 and senior running back Nick Brown made a first down after a 3rd down conversion. The ball was on the Cougars’ 42-yard line when Jackson broke free and took the ball all the way to the end zone to put the Blizzards up 6-0. Young converted the 2-point conversion and brought the score up to 8-0.

  Christoval failed to do much with the ball after the kickoff and the Cougars faced a 4th down with 15 yards to go. They brought in the punting unit but the snap sailed 5’ over the punters head and rolled into the end zone. The punter fell on the ball and Winters came away with a safety bringing the score to 10-0. Christoval kicked off/punted a safety kick after the safety and Winters began on their own 48-yard line. Winters fumbled again but recovered it to give them a 2nd down with 22 yards to go. They gained one yard to bring up a 3rd down with 21 yards to go. Once again Winters fumbled but this time Christoval recovered it on the 31-yard line.

  Christoval failed to move the ball but this is when the wheels came off of the officiating. Both teams had already received a penalty apiece but what ensued was mind numbing. The Blizzards were called for being offside and on the next play Christoval was flagged for being offside. Once again, on the next play, an offside penalty was called on Winters. Then Christoval was called for being offside. Finally Christoval got the ball snapped but were called for a holding penalty. It was now 1st down with 20 yards to go. Christoval eventually scored a touchdown bringing the score to 10-6. The conversion attempt failed, keeping the score 10-6.

  Winters received the kickoff and steadily moved the ball downfield as they scored another touchdown to make the score 16-6. The defense wasn’t able to hinder Young and Brown running the ball. Once again Young converted on the 2-point conversion and it was now 18-6.

  Winters kicked off and on the return two Blizzards players were flagged for fouls. One for unnecessary roughness and the other player was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. By this time there had already been 9 penalties in the game and we were still in the second quarter. Both penalties were assessed for 15 yards each as the officials marked off 30 yards against the Blizzards. There was confusion on the field with the Winters players as some of the players calling for other players from the sideline. They were able to pull it together and get their defense set. 

  During the series of penalties the officials huddled together on two different occasions and took several minutes to work out the fouls. The referees had headsets on but didn’t seem to be able to communicate without huddling together, which in turn stalled play. It was hard for either of the teams to get a rhythm going with so many penalties and the officials delaying play to discuss their calls. The time passed agonizingly slow as the officials conversed time and again. Penalty after penalty after penalty was called as time just droned on with fans on both sides becoming frustrated with the delays. Penalties are part of the game and the officials do their jobs without much appreciation but continually interrupting the flow of the game for conferences was seemingly unnecessary. Most of the conferences could have been avoided had they been more efficient. 

  Christoval began their drive on the 32-yard line after the penalties. They failed to gain a first down but on their third down play the Blizzards were called for roughing the passer, giving the Cougars their much-needed first down. Christoval punched the ball into the end zone from the 18 yard line and converted the 2-point conversion, making the score 18-14.

  Winters received the kick off and coach McCarty seemed to have settled the players down as they dug in and played Blizzards football.  The possession started off with an offside penalty against Winters, which by this time was the 7th combined offside penalty alone. After the penalty and with 1:26 seconds to go in the 2nd quarter, Young took off downfield for 21 yards as defenders flailed harmlessly when trying to tackle him. The Blizzards now had the ball on the 50-yard line with 1:18 to go as Winters called a timeout. On 1st down Brown broke out for a 30 yard run, taking the ball to the Cougars’ 21-yard line. McCarty called his second timeout as the clock wound down to 1:03 to go. The Cougars’ defenders were winded as they came back onto the field, standing with their hands on their hips as the offense came to the line of scrimmage. On the snap Young took off and hit the hole between two defenders as he dodged a third and fourth defender. He ran through the defense’s secondary and broke through for a 21-yard touchdown run. Once again the two-point conversion was good and Winters now had a 26-14 lead.

  On the ensuring kickoff, the Blizzards kicker shanked the ball 15 yards out of bounds and Christoval began their possession on the 45-yard line. Christoval still had 58 seconds on the clock. They attempted a pass but a penalty was called against them for an illegal man down field. On the following play, sophomore quarterback Brayden Wilcox made a precision 18-yard pass. The Cougars weren’t able to capitalize as time ran out in the first half.

  Winters kicked the ball off to begin the second half. Christoval made a couple of sold gains behind the running and passing of Wilcox when yet another penalty was called, this one against the Blizzards for a late hit. The penalty gave the Cougars an additional 15 yards. On the next play Wilcox had a pass almost intercepted as the ball fell through the arms of the defender. It was obvious at this point that the Cougars were going to depend on their passing game. On the season Wilcox had passed for just 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Going to the air was a risky plan at best but the Cougars had to find some way to effectively move the ball. Unfortunately for them, two plays later, with the ball on the 11-yard line, Wilcox tossed up an interception.

  Winters failed to move the ball effectively and ended up punting from just before mid-field. Christoval took over and promptly threw another interception. Winters started on Christoval’s 38-yard line. A penalty was then called on Winters and on the next play an unnecessary roughness penalty was called on the Cougars for a late hit. One play later and Brown powered the ball in from the 23-yard line for another touchdown to bring the score to 32-14. Once again Young converted and the score was 34-14 and the game was out of hand for the Cougars. The Blizzards seemed to be unleashing their pent up frustration on every play whether on offense or defense. Their resolve and determination completely changed the nature of the game in the second half.

  Winters kicked off and Christoval was unable to move the ball. The Blizzards started the 4th quarter with the ball on their own 45-yard line. Winters moved the ball a few yards and had a 3rd down with 1 yard to go when the ball was snapped over Young’s head. On the fourth down play a pass from young went right through the arms of his wide-open receiver and Christoval took over on downs.

  Christoval once again failed to move the ball. Blizzards senior David Fernandez returned the punt and made it to the Christoval 41-yard line before being brought down. The Cougars had their back against the wall against a Blizzards blitzkrieg and bore down on defense, stopping Winters who turned the ball over on downs again. The Winters defense was in beast mode and was able to smother the Cougars, preventing them from making any first downs and forcing a punt. After the punt, Winters began with good field position and Brown ended up running in his third touchdown of the game. Another 2-point conversion brought the score to 40-14.

 There were at least 16 penalties called during the game and those mistakes took a toll on each team. There is no doubt that the penalties called were legitimate but the three or four conclaves the officials called to discuss a flag were frustrating. The officials didn’t seem to be on the same page and their lack of teamwork was readily apparent.

  The Cougars offense, as with all of the Winters opponents this season, was severely overmatched by the Blizzards defense. They smothered the runners time and again and didn’t allow any points in the second half. When they forced Christoval to take to the air they knocked down passes or intercepted them. The Cougars’ quarterback, even from the shotgun, had less than 2 or 3 seconds to get the pass off and was under pressure the entire time. He played defense as well and rarely had a chance to catch his breath. To his credit, he never quit or took a play off and continually put forth a maximum effort regardless of which side of the ball he was on. 

  The Winters defenders played most of the game in the Cougars’ backfield, tackling runners for a loss time and again. The Blizzards team that came out in the second half was much different from the Blizzards team of the first half. They were focused they were determined and whatever it was that McCarty said to them in the locker room at halftime worked. 

  The Blizzards offensive line is staggeringly effective at blocking, especially on running plays. They open holes for the rushers and in addition to being strong the o-line is also fast. They can power into the defensive line and shove them backward or seal off the end and allow runners to cut around the corners with some momentum. The Blizzards had runs of 23 yards, two runs for 25 yards and another run for 30 yards, respectively. They finished the game with 42 rushes for 374 yards and 5 touchdowns. Brown led all rushers with 19 carries for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns. Young was second with 15 rushes for 93 yards and 1 touchdown.

  McCarty and his staff are excellent at deciphering the offenses of their opponents and making key changes after halftime to force them into mistakes in the second half. The Blizzards defense dictates the game plan for the opposing offenses and then slams the door on them. The defense forces them to pass when they can’t run the ball with any success. When the quarterback drops back, instead of bull rushing the quarterback their front defensive line is able to penetrate and get pressure as the linebackers drop back into coverage. 

  Next week the Blizzards head to Iraan to face the Braves on their home turf. The matchup of the two unbeaten teams is sure to be a powerhouse showdown. The Braves have been putting up an average of 24 points per game while holding opponents to just under 13 points per game. While impressive, those stats pales in comparison to the Blizzards defense holding opponents to less than 7 points while their offense is putting up almost 39 points. The Blizzards are likely to go into Iraan and stop the Braves cold. The Blizzards have the ability to win high-scoring games or to dig in and play a low scoring grinding game. 

Miles defeats Munday and improves to 3-2

  The Miles Bulldogs went to Munday to face the Moguls for a Saturday game. The Bulldogs started out hot as they put up 14 points on the board very quickly in the first quarter. Munday scored a touchdown but was not able to convert so that score remained at 14-6. In the second quarter the Moguls scored and successfully converted the 2-point conversion and evened the score at 14 each. The Bulldogs failed to put any points on the board in the second quarter so the teams went into halftime tied at 14. 

  In the third quarter the Bulldogs put another 7 points on the board and took the lead 21-14 behind a solid rushing game. They held the Moguls scoreless for the rest of the game as Miles scored a field goal in the fourth to end the game by a score of 24-14. 

  Miles coach Charles Boles has the Bulldogs going into their bye week on a good note. Their game has been up and down this year but senior running back Mason Bryan has been a solid, consistent player. The offensive line has done a good job of blocking for him and the other rushers as they push defenses down the field or run stunts to open up running lanes.

  After their bye week, the Bulldogs start district play at home against the Menard Yellowjackets on October 12th.  The Yellowjackets are an unpredictable team having started the season with a 6-0 loss to Cross Plains and coming back to put 40 points on the board against stingy Baird defense for a big win, handing Baird their only loss thus far in the season. They lost to Iraan the following week but held the high-powered Iraan offense to only 25 points. Since then they’ve beat Junction and Harper. It’s hard to tell which Yellowjackets team will show up but the Bulldogs are certain to be facing a staunch defense. If Bryan can cut loose for a 200+ yard game they Bulldogs should be in position to come out with a win. The Yellowjackets are averaging 27 points per game on the season but the Miles defense can show up and entrench themselves to hold off even the most prominent offenses.

Ballinger falls to Cisco

  Ballinger came out of their bye week with a 36-8 loss against the Cisco Loboes in their district opener. Ballinger only amassed 7 first downs in the game vs the Loboes’ 23 first downs. Penalties were rampant as the Bearcats amassed 10 penalties and the Loboes had 7 penalties. Bearcats junior quarterback Edgar Nunez was 3 of 8 passing for 84 yards and 1 touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Vaughn also got in on the passing game going 3 of 13 for 54 yards.

  Loboes’ senior quarterback Cooper Witt was 5 of 13 for 45 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. As neither team had a successful passing game it was left to the rushers to carry the load. The Loboes’ tough-nosed defense shut Ballinger down as the team only rushed 23 times for a total of 65 yards and no touchdowns. Limiting first towns, controlling the ball and forcing Ballinger to punt a total of 9 times were all keys to the Loboes’ win. The Bearcats fielded 4 punts but they were not able to gain any yards on the returns.

  The Loboes’ running game was vicious as they ran 39 times for 239 yards. They kept the defense on their heels and pounded the football time after time. The Ballinger defensive line wasn’t able to get pressure on the quarterback or make tackles in the backfield.

  Next week Ballinger should be able to get back on track after consecutive losses to Colorado (City) and Cisco. They’ll face the 1-3 Anson Tigers in Bearcat stadium for homecoming. It will be their second district game and they’ll need to pull out a win to keep up with the teams in the district that have already put wins on the board. Coach Lipsey and his crew have the ability to put the Bearcats in a position to win and even out their district record at 1-1.