Under a clear sky and the watchful eyes of the Fort Stockton coaching staff, the Big Spring Steers put up an impressive display Friday night at Memorial Stadium during their last scrimmage game of the 2011 campaign.
Though only a handful of the Steer faithful were there to see it, Big Spring's varsity squad, shorthanded as they were, ran with Lubbock Estacado through a full quarter of live action at the end of the match. The team, forced to use a few JV players to fill some gaps, gave up only one touchdown during the period, the result of a couple really good plays by the Matadors. Aside from a couple passes and one good sweep, the Steers shut down one of the fastest teams in 3A.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Steers managed to put together a good sustained drive against Lubbock's starting defense, picked to be the driving force behind a district claiming team in 2011. Head Coach Phillip Ritchey was visibly excited about his team's performance.
“I am very excited about the way we played tonight,” Coach Ritchey said. “Estacado is probably one of the fastest teams we will face this season and we were able to shut them down pretty well.”
But Coach Ritchey did see where his own team can improve after the performance.
“We have not been using everything just yet,” he said. “We've been pretty vanilla so far. We need to open up our playbook some and give the boys more to work with. Garrett Stuteville is improving at quarterback and turning into a good team leader and Max Pappajohn has been outstanding.”
Speaking about Pappajohn, Coach Ritchey smiled and added, “I'm sure glad it's only his junior year.”
One concern Coach Ritchey talked about was the Estacado's ability on a few plays to get around the end on sweeps. A lot of that can be attributed to the speed of the visiting matadors, but it is still a concern for the Steers, especially going into the opener with Fort Stockton. The Panthers live and die by the sweep and the scouting coaches that were in attendance Friday night had to be a bit excited to see what may be perceived as weakness in that area.