SEMINOLE — Every local football fan knows Big Spring has talent. From Tobyn Tannehill's gunslinging to Devin Roberson's versatility to Hunter Hill's explosive rushing, the Steers have proven they can put a lot of points on the board in short order.
Friday, Big Spring — now 4-1 — victimized Seminole (2-3) 45-14 after a dominant second half shut the Indians down in front of their home crowd at Wigwam Stadium.
The Steers opened with two scoring drives, with the first coming less than two minutes into the outing when Hill found the end zone for the sixth time in two games on a 31-yard run. Seminole forced BSHS to settle for a field goal on its second possession, as Roberson booted a 35-yarder through the uprights, but the Steers were up 10-0 just minutes into the game.
During Seminole's next drive, Shaiem Menefield intercepted a pass and promptly ran it in for a touchdown, but it was repealed due to an illegal procedure call against the Steers. Roberson was left with a 49-yard field goal attempt which had the distance, but missed to the left.
The scoring ceased for the duration of the stanza, as both defenses became stingy. Seminole recorded its first down of the evening early in the second quarter. A pair of BSHS penalties helped move the chains for the Indians and the drive culminated with a touchdown, cutting the Steers' lead to three.
Then, it was Tannehill's turn to throw an interception. A second sideline penalty advanced the Indians further and a 12-yard TD run gave Seminole a 14-10 lead with 4:40 left in the half.
That's when Big Spring's resiliency came into play.
Two touchdown passes from Tannehill to Tate Kennedy ensured a short-lived rally for SHS and the Steers went to the locker room with a 24-14 advantage at the intermission.
BSHS Head Coach Phillip Ritchey admits he was anxious in the second quarter, if only briefly.
“I was a little bit nervous. You always worry a little when you get behind. That was a situation we hadn't faced all year,” he explained. “To jump on them early and then lose the lead, we hadn't faced that, then to come back and win the game — the kids handled it well. We had two big drives to end the half.”
A third TD reception by Kennedy early in the third quarter and a pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth — one coming via a 55-yard burn by Hunter Hill coming on the heels of another Menfield interception — then a 75-yard run by Tannehill, put the game on ice as the Steers won their third consecutive outing.
Big Spring's offense was effective at converting third downs and overcoming adversity, but the defense had two notable goal line stands and kept Seminole off the board entirely in the second half.
“I was very pleased,” Ritchey added. “We made some adjustments. Obviously, we ran the ball well and controlled the clock better in the second half. Devin's shoulder is still bothering him, so we didn't want to use him too much and risk him taking a hit on the shoulder after a catch, so we used Tate a little more and he did a great job. One-on-one, he's 6'3'' and if he's matched up with a guy who's 5'10'', any coach would use that advantage. I was frustrated with our inability to run the ball the first half, but Seminole took that away from us. We decided to ditch the run game and go to the pass and it worked out. We have good receivers.”
Freshmen power back Preston Alexander remained a spectator, but Ritchey said he wanted to give him ample time to recover from a foot injury sustained earlier in the season. With a bye week coming up, the Steers remain relatively healthy.
“Like I said, there was no rush,” Ritchey said. “We wanted to give him a chance to heal. We hope to get Brandon Larson back. The open week will be good for us.”
Ritchey believes this year could have a very different end than last season's 0-5 district showing, but he recognizes the challenges which lie ahead, beginning with the perennial 4-3A bully Abilene-Wylie.
“We have to go out and win district games,' he added. “We're a different team than we were last year, but I think we're better. We're faster on offense, we have a lot of guys with experience. Tobyn's bigger and stronger. But we have to win games. We were 5-0 last year at this time and it didn't matter and we're 4-1 now. Really, we're 0-0.”
The Steers will try to upend Wylie (3-2) on the road Oct. 11. Though usually dominant, the Bulldogs have given up games to Argyle and Graham.
Passing: Tannehill, 14-26-1, 185.
Rushing: Hill, 17-160; Tannehill, 12-99.
Receiving: Kennedy, 8-125; Roberson, 3-40.