PECOS — In a display of sheer domination, Big Spring (8-3) defeated Fabens (4-7) 61-21 at Eagle Stadium Friday, earning the bi-district championship for the first time since 2009.
There were no pivotal moments which served as turning points in momentum — the Steers simply dominated in all phases of the game from the opening kickoff, amassing more than 650 yards of total offense while keeping the Wildcats stymied with smothering defense.
After losing 31-0 to Monahans in the final week of the regular season and missing out on a district title, Head Coach Phillip Ritchey said the defeat may have been what the Steers needed prior to the postseason.
“I think a lot of it was, Monahans got our attention,” Ritchey explained. “We didn't play well, for whatever reason. I don't know if we thought we could just walk out there and win, but we played like a different team (Friday).”
Tobyn Tannehill connected with Tate Kennedy for three of Big Spring's six first half touchdowns. Tannehill ran one into the end zone from 16 yards on a keeper, Matt Yanez caught a 14-yard pass for another score and Hunter Hill burned the Wildcats for an 86-yard touchdown run to take a 41-0 lead by halftime.
Fabens only breached the Steers' 20-yard line once in the first half, while BSHS wasn't forced to punt it away until midway through the third stanza.
Devin Roberson got in on the action after hauling in a 28-yard pass extend the Steers' lead to 48-0.
Fabens did manage to score three TDs of its own — but not until the bulk of Big Spring's starters were standing on the sideline.
“It was good to get those kids some experience on the varsity team,” Ritchey said of his decision to pull the starters. “They've worked hard in junior varsity or as a backup on varsity. It gives you a chance to get your starters out and there's less likelihood of an injury.”
Preston Alexander added an 88-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, Hill ran one in from 72 yards with 1:35 left in the game and took a knee before the Steers hoisted a playoff trophy after a four-year drought.
The huge win propelled BSHS to the area round, where the winner of a matchup between Andrews and Borger. The Steers defeated Andrew 61-48 in a predistrict bout and Borger has recorded a 3-7 record.
But anything can happen in the playoffs and Ritchey is focused on keeping his team hungry.
“We're going to have to feed off that momentum,” Ritchey said. “It's a one-game season now. Football is a game of momentum. We will have to feed off of that week-to-week.”
Defenses are often unsung, especially when an offense puts more than 60 points on the board, but Ritchey cites his D-line as the reason for the Steers' early onslaught.
“You have to give credit to our whole defense,” Ritchey added. “They took Fabens out of the game early. That was our plan — to knock those guys out early. They did an excellent job.”
Details regarding the area round will be printed in Monday's edition of the Herald.
Passing: T. Tannehill, 11-16, 242 yards.
Rushing: H. Hill, 9-213; P. Alexander, 11-159, T. Tannehill, 6-50.
Receiving: T. Kennedy, 5-161; D. Roberson, 5-65.