On Friday, I was at Heroes stadium for a 3rd round Division II playoff game between the Cuero Gobblers (11-0) and the Navarro Panthers (11-1). I chose this game because the match-up on paper looked really even an I have never seen either of these schools play football; and I have been involve with high school football since 1996.
Did you know that I started as the radio statistician for the Cuero High School Gobblers men’s basketball team shortly after I graduated from Clark High School in 1995? It was my friend, Marc Hoenig’s, first sports broadcasting job. I was paid very little but I was happy to lend my hand and numbers to Marc. Marc is the voice of Lake Travis football; you probably have heard of that school!
Even though I have been off from work all week for my vacation; it was actually busy for us as we decided to sell our house and move closer to civilization; so, we have been packing things up and bringing them to Nina’s mothers house which is less than a mile from us.
Basically, what I am trying to say is I was glad to be at the game instead of at home; it really helped me clear my mind and not think about houses.
As I mentioned in my Steele and Austin Vandergrift article, I always enjoy talking to people I know on the field and if I don’t know somebody, I always try to catch a glimpse of a media pass just so I know who they work for. I schmoozed with Joe Calomeni, a photographer for MaxPreps, Greg Sherman, a videographer, and Carl Padilla, the godfather of Texas high school football and mastermind of the Padilla Poll. When I was a statistician with the Texas Sports Radio Network, Carl was always a really good interview for us since he has a lot of knowledge. I was also Tweeting with Eric Smith (@SouthTejas1984); he was at the game and I really wanted to meet him and he told me the area where he was, but I was too shy to say hi because I didn’t wasn’t to say hi to the wrong person.
As I was reviewing the stats before the game, I had to give Cuero the edge; 1,000 yard passer, runner, and receiver – yep, a triple threat. Navarro does there damage on the ground. Last year, these two teams played each other in the state quarterfinals and the Panthers beat Cuero 32-21. I was expecting a close game for this meeting.
At halftime, Cuero led Navarro 17 to 0 and I was really impressed with the Cuero offense. After 3 quarters, Cuero led 38 to 8. The final score was Cuero 38 and Navarro 24. Navarro won the 2nd half 24 to 21 and they had opportunities to make it a game, but they couldn’t capitalize.
Usually, after a game is over, I like to hang out with the winning team to get pictures and listen to the coach, but on Friday, I decided to listen in on the Navarro coach who had nothing but praise for what his team did. I am always impressed with the head coach’s and there pre and post-game speeches. Do they know what they will say or is it all ad- libbed? And, some of them preach in front of their team only while others do it within hearing distance of the fans.
Chris Gomez, the junior running back for Navarro, had 22 carries for 168 yards with 1 touchdown. He ends the season with 1,1,52 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. I will make a prediction; he will have 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns next season.
For Cuero, the senior quarterback, Drew Riemenschneider, was 11 of 17 passing for 207 yard with 2 touchdowns and junior wide receiver, Jordan Whittington, had 3 receptions for 85 yards with 2 touchdowns. When I first saw the Cuero offense, senior wide receiver, Bralen Taylor stood out for me; because he was 6’7 and he towered over everybody else. he only had 3 receptions for 29 yards. If I was the head coach and Taylor was on my team, I would throw the ball to him as much as I possibly could. The Clark Cougars had a 6’8 wide receiver named Kyle Ingraham. I think it was about 14 years ago when I did stats for a game of his and he had a huge night on the receiving yards.
I know there is a doubleheader on Saturday for Steele and O’Connor at The Alamodome and I am not planning on going primarily because I don’t think my media passes can get me in and I really don’t want to deal with that. I don’t even know who to reach out to inquire about it.
So, the game on Friday was my last game of the 2017 season. You may see me at The Alamodome on Jan 6th for the SA Sports All Star Football Game; I have been in contact with the folks who issue credentials.
The Cuero Gobblers (12-0) will play the Wimberly Texans (12-1) Friday in Bastrop. The winner will advance to the 4A Division II semifinals. I saw Wimberly in Week 4 when they defeated Canyon Lake. In that article, I said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Wimberly ends the season undefeated and has a very long playoff run.” Well, I was close! I wish this game was close because I would love to cover it.
If you want to share my photos, all I ask is for you to either give me credit or tag me on Twitter @statmanspeaks or Facebook @ The Mark Speaks. The entire photo galley for the game can be found here: https://thestatmanspeaks.smugmug.com/High-School-Football/Football-Games-2017/Cuero-VS-Navarro-12012017/.
Here are some photos from the game: