Week 2 – Blanco Panthers at Holy Cross Knights

On Thursday, I was at the Wheatley Heights Sports Complex as the Holy Cross Knights hosted the Blanco Panthers.  So, this was my 1st time seeing the Blanco Panthers, a state 3A powerhouse football team in my nearly 20 years of being around high school football.  As for Holy Cross, I have worked lots of there games.

I chose this particular game; mainly because of Blanco, but also the Principal at Holy Cross, Rene Escobedo, used to the be the Principal at St. Anthony.  He hired me last year to cover the St. Anthony football team.  I knew him previously as I covered St. Anthony basketball games in 2013, 2014, and 2016.  Basically, it’s may way of saying thanks Rene. Rene and I can talk for hours about life and football; he is a such a nice and easy going person and I appreciate everything he has done for me.

Under normal circumstances, I would be super excited and would have written lots of preview articles about high school football.  But, to be honest, I wasn’t excited.  I have had a lot of things going in my life; that thing being a baby boy who was born last May.  I have been writing about being a first-time daddy at www.thedadspeaks.com.  Why do I brand myself as whatever speaks?  Well, I do speak, but my words are written down rather than vocalized.  Does that make sense?  I think it does!  Plus, I am a dad and was a statistician.

When the school bell rung at 4:30 on Thursday; ok, it was not a bell, it was my computer clock, I was excited, I was ready see a high school football game, and I was back in in my comfort zone as I am extremely passionate about high school football and love writing and sharing my photos.

If you or if you know somebody who shares my passion, I would be delighted to add articles and photos for other games.  I can’t pay, but I can provide you exposure.  I have lots of experience; as a writer and photographer since 2011 and a high school football statistician for nearly 20 years.

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 Statman Speaks.  The entire photo galley for the game can be found here: https://thestatmanspeaks.smugmug.com/High-School-Football/Football-Games-2017/Blanco-at-Holy-Cross-09072017/.

It was a very long day for me as I left my house a few minutes before 7am and didn’t arrive home until 11pm. I didn’t get to hold Niko, my son, all day. I did watch him on the baby camera when I was getting ready in the morning and I watched him when I got home just to be sure he was sleeping.  He squirmed a little bit as he probably heard me, but he never woke up and I was glad.  Even when I was going up the creaky stairs, I was still watching him to make sure he was still sleeping.  Plus, the light from my phone helped me so I could see where I was going. Friday, I couldn’t wait to get home after work; I didn’t work a game, and hold him and see him.  He makes everything so much better.

I really enjoy the ambience of the sidelines rather than the press-box.  Just being close to the action and being able to hear the chatter from the players and coaches is fun.  The only downside; and I don’t even care; is I am not able to Tweet the action as it is going on. I just Tweet end of quarter updates.  When I am on the sideline, I am looking at the scoreboard for down and distance; once a statistician, always a statistician.  Don’t get me wrong, I am also watching the action and on more than one occasion on Thursday night, I had to get out of the way of the players.  I don’t want to get hurt!  And, I don’t want to break my camera!  One of the major advantages of being on the sideline is I get to see the choreography of football players; man, there are so many moving pieces and everything is fast.  I am spoiled by this and don’t think I will ever want to be back in the press-box. Yes, the press-box is air conditioned; most of them are, they have food, drinks, and a bathroom, and I can sit down.

For the next game, I will be armed with a backpack so I can carry everything I need instead of putting everything in my pants pocket.  I will be able to bring my own water and snacks rather than rely on concessions. I am also considering buying a monopod or a tripod for my camera so I can get better pictures.  Maybe I am leaning more toward being a photographer than a writer. But, I guess it is good that I love doing both.

Now, I can finally talk about the game…

Holy Cross scored a touchdown at the 11:22 mark in the 1st quarter and when I saw how easily and quickly they did it, I was thinking to myself that this game could be a blowout!  Holy Cross scored again with under  5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.  They led 14 to 0 at halftime.

At halftime, I was able to listen in on the Holy Cross coaches explaining some adjustments for the 2nd half.  I wasn’t in the locker room; the locker rooms at Wheatley Heights are small trailers and I am pretty sure that being outside was better than being cramped in the trailer.

Nobody scored in the 3rd quarter.

Blanco was only down 2 touchdowns so they were still very easily in the game.  Holy Cross sealed the game with a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the game.  Holy Cross defeated Blanco by a score of 21 to 0.

Neither team had monster offensive numbers; Holy Cross had 200 yards of total offense and Blanco had 96 yards of total offense.  I totally expect both of these teams to have a game where they explode offensively.

Holy Cross Statistics – courtesy of the San Antonio Express News

Ethan Lara, a junior, had 10 carries for 43 yards; Jacob Olivares, a sophomore, had 9 carries for 33 yards; Jaime Ramirez, a senior, had 3 carries for 19 yards and 2 touchdowns; Jonathan Hernandez, a freshman, had 5 carries for 15 yards; Gibby Salas III, a sophomore, had 3 carries for 5 yards; and Augustine Barrera, a junior, had 1 carry for 3 yards.  Gibby Salas III is the quarterback and he was 7 of 27 passing with 2 interceptions and 1 touchdown.  Andres Ortiz, a junior, had 2 receptions for 33 yards and that lone touchdown that came at the very beginning of the game; Ethan Lara had 2 receptions for 23 yards; Jonathan Hernandez had 2 receptions for 20 yards; and Jeremy Gonzalez had 2 receptions for 16 yards.   I know if we add the passing numbers up, it is 8 completions and not 7.  It’s probably some coaches doing the stats and they either email or call the paper.  It is close enough for me and I am ok with that.

I was really impressed the maturity of Holy Cross and all the underclassmen; especially Gibby Salas III and Jonathan Hernandez.

Holy Cross improves to 2 and o this season.  They play the Boerne Greyhounds next Friday at Boerne.  The head coach of Holy Cross, Mike Harrison, told his team after the game we play tough non-district opponents to help us prepare for TAPPS 3-II district games.

Blanco Panthers Statistics – courtesy of the San Antonio Express News

Jett Hood, a senior, had 11 carries for 39 yards; Toby Triesch, a senior, had 5 carries for 22 yards; Gunnar Granberg, a sophomore, had 3 carries for 8 yards; Tristan Fortner, a junior, had 3 carries for 0 yards; Cade Felps, a junior, had 4 carries for -2 yards; and Walton Daves, a junior, had 1 carry for -5 yards.  Kelby Cox, the senior quarterback, was 5 of 13 passing for 47 yards.  Jett Hood had 2 receptions for 18 yards; Chris Osteguin, a junior, had 1 reception for 13 yards; Tristan Fortner had 1 reception for 10 yards; and Toby Triesch had 1 reception for 7 yards.  Most of the time when Blanco ran the ball, I had no clue who ran it and I was on the sidelines.  I can’t imagine how the Holy Cross defense felt

The Blanco Panthers remain winless this season under new head coach Bill Tesch.  They play the Pearsall Mavericks on Friday at Pearsall.  I know Blanco will get back on the winning track soon; who knows, maybe it will be on Friday.

Next Friday, I will be at the new Cornerstone Christian School as they host the St. Anthony Yellow Jackets.  I am looking forward to seeing the new campus and all the great people at St. Anthony.

Here are some of the photos from the game on Thursday:

Again, if you want to share my photos, all I ask is for you to give me credit or tag me on Twitter @statmanspeaks or Facebook @ The Statman Speaks.  The entire photo galley for the game can be found here: https://thestatmanspeaks.smugmug.com/High-School-Football/Football-Games-2017/Blanco-at-Holy-Cross-09072017/.

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