SAN ANGELO — It wasn't pretty, but the Steers are now 3-0.
San Angelo Lake View gave Big Spring all it could handle and the Steers shot themselves in the foot several times during their 22-14 win over the Chiefs at San Angelo Stadium on Friday.
On the opening kickoff, Big Spring methodically drove down the field — until a botched hand off on first and ten caused a fumble. The Chiefs recovered, and turned it into a touchdown when Lake View's Kenny Gonzales marched into the end zone on a forty yard run. The point after was good and early in the first quarter, the Steers found themselves trailing for the first time this year.
Undaunted, Big Spring's offense put together a drive of its own as sophomore quarterback Tobyn Tannehill and a quartet of weapons — Devin Roberson, Micheal Oliva, Ty'Ral Menefield and Tate Kennedy — combined their efforts which culminated with a four yard touchdown run by Oliva, followed by an extra point kick from Roberson to tie the game at 7-7.
Penalties committed by the Steers — for a total loss of 60 yards during the evening — as well as another fumble, an intercepted pass and a missed field goal — proved costly for Big Spring, as they failed to put together another scoring drive in the first half.
Football is about making adjustments, however, as any coach will tell you. BSHS Head Coach Phillip Ritchey and his team did just that.
The Steers were forced to punt on their first possession of the second half, but after a bad punt attempt by the Chiefs, Big Spring forced a safety and took a 9-7 lead.
Those two points were more valuable than the scoreboard may have let on, as the momentum finally shifted in the Steers direction once again.
Ty'Ral Menefield — who shined on the return team — gave the Steers excellent field position which they capitalized on when Tannehill connected with Roberson for 10 yards, followed by two running plays by Oliva, the second of which was a two yard touchdown carry to increase Big Spring's lead. Roberson's extra point was good, bringing the score to 16-7.
It got a bit scary for the Steers deep in the third quarter when Lake View began to move the chains. A 41 yard pass put the Chiefs deep into Steer territory, then Big Spring's all-district defensive lineman Diamond Bailey was ejected when a referee claimed he threw a punch at a Chief at the end of a play. Lake View scored again to cut the Steers' lead to 16-14.
With time running out, the Steers were looking for some insurance while simultaneously trying to take valuable time off the clock late in the fourth quarter.
Oliva gained 15 yards on the ground and Tannehill connected with Roberson — who played the entire game while suffering from a hairline fracture — for a 20 yard gain.
On third down with 13 yards to go, Tannehill nailed Tate Kennedy on a post route for another touchdown. This time Roberson missed the extra point, but it was enough for the Steers to edge the scrappy Chiefs 22-14.
Despite the miscues, Ritchey was pleased to come away with the win.
“I didn't like the turnovers,” Ritchey said. “I didn't like the missed field goal and the missed extra point and I didn't like the penalties. What I did like was the defense gave up short passes. There was the one long pass and one long run, but we forced them into a lot of punting situations. Offensively, it was a little sloppy execution-wise, but we can fix the execution part.”
It may have been a bit ugly, but Ritchey was on the road against a larger, 4A school, while coming off a big win at home against defending 4A TAPPS state champs Midland Christian.
“It was a tight game,” Ritchey added. “It's high school kids. They feel good about themselves after a couple wins, but we tried to guard against that. I wouldn't say we were looking past (the Chiefs), I give Lake View credit, they played hard and they are a good football team. I am certainly not going to complain about that victory last night, even though we could have done things better.”
The Steers will welcome Andrews on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium for Big Spring's homecoming. Ritchey said he expects an exciting match.
“It's going to be a good game,” he said. “We're 3-0, they are 3-0, they have an explosive offense — hopefully we will fill the stadium like we did against Midland Christian and we can get a big win.”