For the first time in 23 years, Big Spring had a chance to claim at least a share of the district championship Friday at Memorial Stadium.
It wasn't the Steers' night.
District foe Monahans ended up winning the title with a 31-0 rout of Big Spring.
Hardly the end to an otherwise stellar season the Steers and Head Coach Phillip Ritchey had hoped for.
But this time around, instead of being forced to wait an entire year to for a shot redemption, BSHS only has to wait a few days, as it will be in the playoffs taking on Fabens — the first postseason appearance since 2009.
The challenge now, according to Ritchey, is for his team to put Friday's debacle in the past.
“We were missing some starters on offense,” Ritchey said of the Monahans game. “That hurt us, but I can't take anything away from Monahans. It's defense definitely whooped us. But we can't let a bad game ruin the entire season. We have to put it behind us and move forward. We had a chance to do something special and it didn't work out, but we're excited to be where we are. When you don't play well against one of these teams, this is what happens.”
Big Spring moved the chains on its first possession, but a missed 45-yard field goal attempt left much-needed points off the scoreboard another missed FG, three uncharacteristic interceptions by Tannehill and a smothering Lobo defense created an insurmountable barrier for BSHS to cross.
Averaging nearly 500 yards per outing, the Steers were held to just 160 total yards. It was also the first shutout of the season for the Steers, who until Friday overwhelmed opponents with an average of 50 points per game.
Tannehill was contained, along with the rest of the BSHS backfield for most of the evening, as the junior QB only amassed 76 yards passing and 44 on the ground.
Tannehill suffered a brutal late hit in the fourth stanza, knocking him out of the game temporarily, but luckily for the Steers, he left the field on his own power and returned after missing just a couple of plays.
Monahans, meanwhile, had no trouble hanging points on the Steers, but only led 17-0 at the half.
It wasn't a huge hole, but the inability to generate offense early may have led to the goose egg, Ritchey believes.
“We didn't give ourselves an opportunity,” he explained. “It may have been different had we been able to score early in the game. We left some points off the board. It was one of those games. Every team in our district had one.”
But playing in such a competitive district bodes well for Big Spring's postseason debut. Fabens sneaked in with a 4-6 record, but records aren't always the best indicator of a team's potential strength. Regardless, Ritchey said his team will be ready for whatever is thrown its way.
“When you go through the five-game stretch we did, we've seen it all.” he said. “The Wing-T, 3-4, 4-3 — but we're in a one-game season right now.”
Senior leadership, Ritchey added, will be the key to bouncing back and nabbing a playoff victory.
“We will have to play better, but I credit our senior leadership. We told them after the game, 'this is when you need it the most'. I think they will step up and put it behind them. They've worked hard to get where they're, they put themselves in this position and they want to win.”
Game time in Pecos is slated for 7:30 p.m.