Since I finally got my own personal “obligations” of Holy Cross and St. Anthony football games out of the way, I can now cover games that are either close to where I live in Canyon Lake or close to where I work at 281 and Stone Oak. That means, New Braunfels, New Braunfels Canyon, Boerne, Boerne Champion, Smithson Valley, San Antonio Christian, and Comalander stadium, I am looking at your football games.
So, on Friday, I was at Canyon Lake high school as the Canyon Lake Hawks hosted the Wimberly Texans. Even though the high school is really close to me and I have driven by it several times; I think Smithson valley high school is closer, I have actually never seen the school up close and personal. I have always wanted to cover a game at Canyon Lake ever since we moved to Canyon Lake in January of 2014. When I had them scheduled in the past, something comes up at the last minute and I have to change my plans.
One of the best things about covering Canyon Lake high school was I didn’t need my GPS. I knew where the school was and how to get home in the pitch dark; I wasn’t planning on testing my car on the lake! I left the game at 10:10pm and arrived home at 10:35pm. Yes, 25 minutes is a long time, but that is because the school and my house are on opposite sides of the lake.
This was my first time seeing both of these teams, it was my first time at the stadium, and it was also my first time where I didn’t know anybody. I was basically going in blind. I did do a lot of self promotion as I emailed the head coach and athletic director, I sent tweets to the school district, the Superintendent, and the football team, and I introduced myself as a writer and photographer to my Nextdoor Canyon Lake neighbors. I did some get some replies, but not as much as I wanted.
Last year, I covered St. Anthony football and I knew the head football coach and Principal. In Week 2, I covered Holy Cross because the Principal used to be the Principal at St. Anthony and last week, I covered St. Anthony.
Also, for the first time, I flashed my own media pass at the entrance gate instead of somebody else’s. That felt right! Earlier in the week, I reached out to the folks at the UIL and the San Antonio Sports Foundation to see how I can get a media pass for playoff/state championship games and our All-Star game in January at The Alamodome. Hey, they both replied and I need to do some follow-up the 1st week of December.
I am slowly building my empire! I have a vision for what I want my website to ultimately be and it starts with adding more stories and photos for other games, but I need help with that aspect. I am doing this because I am passionate about writing and taking photos and love high school football. I am not getting paid for this. But if somebody wants to pay me, I will happily accept it. So, if you share my passion and want a place to start, let me know. I can’t pay you, but I have a lot of experience.
That is enough about me and I know you’re saying the same thing. Let’s talk about the football game.
For the 2nd week in a row, I chose a Homecoming game to cover. I don’t do this on purpose, but I do enjoy the festivities. Many years ago, I was doing stats for an Alamo Heights football game for the Texas Sports Radio Network; I was a statistician for them from 1997 to 2015, and during halftime of that Alamo Heights game, the broadcasters interviewed the Homecoming King and Queen. One of my duties; besides being a statistician, was to get the piece of paper with the names of the Homecoming King and Queen so their names could be announced during the broadcast. I felt awkward standing behind the announcer waiting patiently for them to finish.
The stadium at Canyon Lake high school is not lavish but it does have all the amenities of a fancier stadium; except for a video scoreboard and an elevator to the press-box which I really don’t care about. I am used to covering smaller school; or should I say smaller private Catholic schools, and almost immediately, I noticed some major differences:
- It was much louder. Probably since they have more fan support, larger bands, more cheerleaders and dance team, and a rowdier student sections.
- There were a lot more people on the sidelines; that included a nice handful of photographers of all ages and they were amateurs and professionals. I tried my best to capture my shots, but also wanted to respect the other photographers.
- The players are faster, bigger, and stronger.
Do I like smaller or bigger better? I like them both, but I actually prefer the smaller because it is a lot more family friendly oriented. Maybe I should just start covering the smaller schools! And, next week, I will be at a 6A game which is the largest classification of schools in the state of Texas.
One of the downsides to where I was most of the night on Canyon Lake sideline was I found a deadzone for Sprint; my phone had no bars for most of the game. Oh well!
I heard the PA Announcer say this game is known as the Battle of the Backbone. Am I safe to assume it’s because these schools are close to each other or am I totally on the wrong track? If I am wrong, please explain it to me.
I didn’t do any research of players and probably should for my next game; just so I know who the star players are.
Canyon Lake scored on a 1 yard touchdown by Micah St. John with 7:20 left in the 1st quarter. The Hawks increased their lead to 13 to 0 after a 5 yard run by Joseph Ruiz. With less than 1 minute remaining in the 2nd quarter, Wimberly scored on a 39 yard touchdown pass from JoJo Weeks to Wyatt Mann. At halftime, Canyon Lake led Wimberly 13 to 7.
Wimberly tied the game at 13 with a 39 yard touchdown run by Thomas Carruthers.
In the 4th quarter and the time winding down, I was expecting another overtime game; last week, St. Anthony and Cornerstone went into triple overtime. But, the Wimberly Texans didn’t care about my expectations and they scored a touchdown with 5:48 in the 4th. Canyon Lake had some opportunities to score and possibly tie the game or win the game with a 2-point conversion after Wimberly scored, but that didn’t happen.
Wimberly defeated Canyon Lake by a score of 20-13. The Wimberly Texans remain undefeated as they have 4 wins and 0 losses. They play the Fredericksburg Billies at Fredericksburg on Friday night. Canyon Lake has 2 wins and 2 losses. They play the Lampasas Badgers at Lampasas on Friday night.
You know something, for a non-district game and the fact that Wimberly is one of the top teams in 4A, I was very pleased with performance of Canyon Lake. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wimberly ends the season undefeated and have a very long playoff run. As for the Hawks, I definitely see them making the playoffs and winning a few of the playoff games.
The senior quarterback for Wimberly, JoJo Weeks, was 17 of 22 passing for 162 yards with 2 touchdowns. Cade Stoever, a senior for Wimberly and whom I was extremely impressed with, had 2 carries for 53 yards and 7 receptions for 63 yards with 1 touchdowns.
Canyon Lake was led by senior running back, Micah St. John, who had 19 carries for 112 yards.
On Friday night, I will be at Ranger stadium as the Smithson Valley Rangers take their undefeated record against the winless East Central Hornets in a District 27-6A match-up. Most of the media have been picking Judson and Steele from this District to have a long playoff run; quite possibly even winning a state championship for one or both. But, don’t tell Smithson Valley that because they don’t care; they beat Steele in Week 4. I have a feeling this game will be a blow-out for Smithson Valley; I will tell you my feelings have been wrong in the past!
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/Wimberly-at-Canyon-Lake-09222017.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the game: