The drought is over. The Steer faithful — as well as Head Coach Phillip Ritchey — finally celebrated a district win after two straight seasons without one, as Big Spring (5-2, 1-1) defeated Snyder 42-14 at Memorial Stadium.
“I feel a ton lighter,” Ritchey said of the win. “It's a big load off our backs. It was a humongous win for us. It was one of the best games we've played in a long time. From start to finish. We picked up momentum at the Wylie game and brought it over to the this one. Hopefully it will keep snowballing.”
Not only did the Steers handily beat the Tigers, they were never really in the game.
Starting things off offensively for Big Spring was a 17-yard touchdown pass from Tobyn Tannehill to Tate Kennedy, then a 60-yard TD run by Tannehill. Both scores were accompanied by PAT kicks by Devin Roberson to to put the Steers up 14-0 in under three minutes.
Snyder answered back with a one-yard touchdown by quarterback Skillet Rinehart, but that was the last offensive gasp for the Tigers until late in the third quarter.
Big Spring, however, was just warming up.
Jahari Vanover took one to the end zone from four yards out seconds into the second stanza. Freshman running back Preston Alexander proved he could operate as a receiver too, putting another six points on the board after a 23-yard reception from Tannehill — who finished just shy of 200 yards total. Tannehill connected with Kennedy again for a TD and just like that, Big Spring found itself dominating the very team which derailed its momentum last season.
The final Steer score came on a 12-yard run by Alexander.
Rinehart tacked on another TD for Snyder in the third frame.
Big Spring can put points on the board. They have left no doubt about that. They have scored at least 37 points in every game except one.
But the Steers are proving they aren't one-dimensional. After a narrow defeat marred by turnovers against Abilene Wylie, BSHS committed no turnovers, had no fumbles and racked up negligible penalty yardage.
“We've been focused on turnovers for a while,” Ritchey said. “We had a couple against Wylie and we knew Snyder was a team that creates turnovers. We won that battle. They had a fumble which led to a touchdown for us, and an interception.”
But containing the explosive Snyder running game was another reason for the Steers' success. That, and controlling the line of scrimmage, despite being undersized in comparison.
“I was worried to death,” Ritchey joked about the dimensions of Snyder's offensive and defensive lines. “They were big and they have one of the best backs in the district. But our defensive kids and our defensive coaches did a great job. We're only as good as our defense. We have the offensive firepower. When our defense can go out and shut our opponents down like that, we feel we can win every game.”
Ritchey also credits a cohesive offensive line for playing an itegral role in the victory.
“They played great,” he said. “There's a lot of experience there. Those seniors played with a lot of emotion and had a huge game. Austin Cantu, Aric Rutledge, Charlie Bohling, Nick Sotelo, Nick Conner, as well as Garrett Wigington and Nathan Schneider did a great job blocking for us. They created some real big holes we were able to run through.”
The Steers may have been counted out by some after an 0-10 showing in 2011, then posting an 0-5 record against District 4-3A foes in 2012. But with Greenwood and Sweetwater next on the schedule — teams Ritchey believes BSHS can get the better of — and a win by Monahans over Wylie Friday, Big Spring could find itself vying for the top spot in the very district it couldn't even tread water in for the past two seasons.
But being the underdog is OK with Ritchey.
“We have to stay focused,” Ritchey added. “We can't get too high on ourselves. We're going to have to play well, it's a long way from being over.”
Next up for Big Spring will be a trip to Sweetwater's Mustang Bowl on Friday.