By SHAWN MORAN
The Big Spring Steers have recently finalized and released their upcoming varsity football schedule for the 2020 season. There will be new foes and old enemies for the Steers to battle with this fall on the gridirion. Let us take a short look at each team that Big Spring will face this season and what they may be in store for:
Scrimmage One: @ Pecos Eagles
The Big Spring Steers will begin their 2020 season with a scrimmage game in the same stadium that they ended their season in last November. The Steers also went head-to-head with the Eagles in an early season home game last year that ended in a 25-6 Steers loss. Pecos plays in the 4A-2 Region I District 1 conference and should be a good barometer for the Steers to see just how much they have improved over the offseason. The Eagles advanced to the second round of the playoffs last fall and finished with an 8-5 record.
Scrimmage Two: vs. Levelland Lobos
The Steers second scrimmage will come against the team that was eliminated by the Pecos Eagles in the first round of the playoffs last year. Levelland will be led by their returning starting senior quarterback Bryant White and the two-headed backfield monster of Isaiah Salazar and Dylan Bordayo. Salazar is also a threat as a pass catcher out of the backfield and makes a nice pairing with wide receiver Jason Ramirez as the leaders through the air for the Lobos. Levelland is a member of the 4A-2 Region I District 2 conference and Big Spring has not played them in years.
Game One: vs. Vernon Lions
The Lions finished their 2019 season with a 1-8 record and were unable to win one game away from home. Big Spring will host Vernon in the first week of the regular season and will be looking to start their season off with a convincing win over their 4A-1 Region I District 3 counterparts. Vernon ran a balanced style of offense last season and will have two quality quarterbacks that will be fighting for the starting job this fall. This will be the first time these two teams have faced off in a long time.
Game Two: vs. Lubbock Westerners
Big Spring will play their second team that managed only one win last season in their first two weeks of the season. The Westerners play one notch above the Steers in the 5A-1 Region I District 2 conference and this will be another new out-of-district opponent for Big Spring. Lubbock's only win of the 2019 season came against a 4A squad, a 61-13 drubbing of the Lamesa Tornadoes. So, even though the Westerners failed to excel at the 5A level last season that does not mean the Steers should overlook them. Starting quarterback Brandon Smith will be returning for his senior season after passing for just under 2,000 yards last fall. Lubbock's top running back, sophomore Keith Ramirez, and top wide receiver, Noe Tijerina, will also be returning to the gridiron this year and will cause problems for the Steers defense.
Game Three: vs. Monahans Loboes (Senior Night)
The Steers will hold their Senior Night against the Monahans Loboes, a team that they have faced and split the series with over the past two seasons. Big Spring came out on top last September with a 21-13 win to pick up their first win of the season. Monahans finished their 2019 season with a 2-8 record and failed to qualify for the postseason. The Loboes play in the same district as the Pecos Eagles and the matchup with Big Spring should be a competitive game between two teams who have built up a small rivalry over the past couple years.
Game Four: @ Brownfield Cubs
Big Spring's first road game of the regular season will bring them just northwest of Lubbock to face off against the Brownfield Cubs. Brownfield ended their 2019 season with a 4-7 record and were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by Slaton. In contrast to the Lubbock Westerners, Brownfield plays a step down from the Steers and are in the 3A-1 Region I District I conference. However, that also does not mean that the Steers should take their opponent lightly because the Cubs managed to pull out a close 38-37 win over rival Lake View.
Game Five: vs. Clint Lions (Homecoming)
One of the toughest teams the Steers will face this fall are the Clint Lions. The Lions finished last season with a 7-4 record and a second round playoff exit after losing big to Springtown. In the first round of the playoffs, the Lions defeated Big Spring district rival Lake View by a score of 34-21 and they were a high-scoring team all-season long. Clint is a power-rushing team that will have a new starting quarterback this year in upcoming senior Jesus Rocha. Running backs and playmakers such as Brandon Quintana, Jacob Fuentes, Gael Lopez, and Carlos Meza will also be returning for their senior seasons and the Clint coaching staff has experience throughout their first team offense and defense.
Game Six: @ Littlefield Wildcats
The Steers have another road game against a 3A team on the schedule and will look to add another 'W' to the win-loss column against a smaller school. The Wildcats concluded their 2019 season with a 4-6 record and they did not qualify for the playoffs. Just like Brownfield, the Littlefield Wildcats were able to grab a win over a 4A team last season when they defeated the Snyder Tigers to open up their season. A big road win at this point of the season could do wonders for the confidence of the Steers and could possibly set them up for a strong finish to the season.
Game Seven: @ Pampa Harvesters
Pampa was a powerhouse last season and finished the year with a 9-3 record before losing to Big Spring district-rival Andrews in the second round. The Harvesters are a high-scoring team that is not afraid to run the score up if you allow them to. In addition to their strong record, the Harvesters also played and dominated Vernon 47-6, defeated Levelland 34-28, and shut-out Clint 28-0. However the Steers play against those teams earlier in the season could tell us which way this late-season game will go but with high school football, any team can win on any given Friday night. Pampa loves to air the ball out and will be under the leadership of new starting quarterback Jack Studebaker. Studebaker's predecessor finished the 2019 season with 3,684 yards and 34 touchdowns. The Harvesters also return their dynamic running back Cornelius Landers who rushed for over 1,000 yards and also notched 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Game Eight: vs. Andrews
Big Spring will open up their district schedule by facing 2019 first-place finisher Andrews at home. Last year, the Mustangs demolished the Steers by a score of 48-14 and were able to advance all the way to the third round of the postseason. Andrews finished last season with an 11-2 record and are also a team that loves to pass the ball. There will be a competition to decide who the new Andrews starting quarterback will be this fall after the graduation of gunslinger Brett Leach. The Mustangs scored 47 touchdowns through the air last season and with some turnover happening in the Big Spring secondary, this game will be a big one to see just how much the Big Spring program has advanced since last fall.
Game Nine: @ Fort Stockton Panthers
Big Spring will play their second district game against first-year district rival Fort Stockton on the road in their second-to-last regular season game. The Panthers ended last season with a 7-3 record and have now made the move up from Division 2 to Division 1. Fort Stockton loves to run the ball and have many playmakers who can contribute on the offensive side of the ball. They also have a defensive line duo of A.J. Garica and Evian Castro who combined for 13.5 sacks during their junior year.
Game Ten: vs. Lake View Chiefs
The final game of the regular season for the Steers will once again be a matchup with rival Lake View. The game last fall came down to overtime and a 42-41 Steers win that gave them third place in the district. Lake View began their 2019 season 3-0 before losing every game for the rest of their season. Since Big Spring and Lake View became district rivals two years ago, they have split the series. The game between these two squads this fall will be the rubber match and will heat up the rivalry even more for the years to come.
Shawn Moran is the sports writer at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 432-263-7331.