The Big Spring Steers broke their normal pattern in Friday night's homecoming loss to Greenwood, playing what coach Ritchey called the best second half they have played all year. Unfortunately for the Steer nation, mistakes in the first half proved to be too much to overcome as the Black and Gold fell 35-14.
“These kids don't quit,” Big Spring head coach Phillip Ritchey said. “This was probably the best second half we have played all year.”
Turnovers and penalties plagued the Steers for the first 24 minutes and saw them down 21-0 at the half. Garrett Stuteville was picked off in the first quarter and the Rangers opened the scoring immediately after, running straight up the middle of Big Spring's defense.
Michael Vanderbilt returned a kick off for 77 yards, but the Steers were unable to take advantage of the great field position in the first quarter.
“Vanderbilt had a great game,” Coach Ritchey said. “Two interceptions, the big return and 90 yards of rushing...it was just a great game for him.”
The second quarter saw Big Spring basically hand Greenwood two more touchdowns The Rangers scored in the shadow of a bad exchange on the Steers' punt team and then again after the Big Spring secondary was called for pass interference. The penalty kept a failing drive alive for the Rangers and allowed them a chance to find the end zone with six seconds left in the first half.
In the second half, the Steers played a well balanced game of field position with Greenwood, matching them score for score.
On the first play from scrimmage, Vanderbilt intercepted Kam Williams of the rangers and returned the ball to Greenwood's 14 yard line. Moments later, Stuteville hit senior Tyler Hall on a 10-yard fade route to light up the Steers' side of the score board, getting them within 14 points of the Rangers and making a ball game out of it.
But hope did not last long, as Greenwood answered by scoring twice. Stuteville did throw a second touchdown pass in the game He hit Jared Doporto for 21 yards and the Steer's second score with just over six minutes left in the game, but it would be the last thing Steer's fans would be able to cheer about on this night.
“We challenged the kids at halftime to stop beating themselves,” Coach Ritchey said. “They came out in the second half and played very well, giving us a chance to make a game of it, but we just couldn't overcome the early mistakes.”
The game sends the Steers into the district portion of the schedule with an 0-6 record, as they get ready to play 4-2 Brownwood in Big Spring Oct. 7. For many, this is when the Steers' football season actually begins, when district starts. The last six games do not count, so they mean nothing, but Coach Ritchey might disagree. He saw some things against Greenwood — and most of the other games this year — he liked.
“I saw a team which does not quit,” Coach Ritchey said. “These boys are fighting their hearts out on the field and I could not be more proud of them.”
GREENWOOD 35 — BIG SPRING 14
Greenwood 7 14 7 7 —35
Big Spring 0 0 7 7 —14
First Downs 16 12
Rushes-yards 34-163 38-98
Passing yards 190 88
Comp.-Att.-Int. 12-26-2 8-26-1
Punts-Avg. 4-40.75 5-42.8
Fumbles-lost 2-0 4-1
Penalties-yards 3-12 7-49
RUSHING — Michael Vanderbilt 16-89, Michael Oliva 6-11, Garrett Stuteville 6-11, Jared Doporto 2-12, Devin Roberson 4-8, Max Pappajohn 2-2, Team 2-(-38)
PASSING — Stuteville 7-24-1—75, Roberson 1-2-0—13.
RECEIVING — Roberson 4-38, Doporto 1-21, Gunnar Kennedy 1-13, Tyler Hall 1-10, Vanderbilt 1-6.
INTERCEPTIONS — Vanderbilt 2-30.