Wednesday, October 28, 2009
In case you have never seen a University of Texas game on television. UT quarterback Colt McCoy's roommate is teammate Jordan Shipley. The announcers seem to make it a point to drill that into your head ad nauseum! What they don't always mention is that both of their dads were also college roommates and that their little brothers are both pretty darn good players too. McCoy's younger brother, Case, is already committed to Texas.
Friday night, I went to Brownwood to cover the game between Brownwood and Graham High Schools. Since it was was Colt's dad and brother coaching/playing for Graham and Shipley's dad and brother coaching/playing for Brownwood the game was already getting statewide attention. Graham was the #6 ranked team in the state and Brownwood was having a much better season this year than last now that they have a coach that can run a defense.
Games like this with all the hoopla and hype surrounding it usually turn out to be duds. This game was certainly the exception to the rule! Brownwood was up 14-0 at the half. And, Brownwood wide receiver Jaxon Shipley pretty much took the game into his own hands and was on a mission to win it almost by himself. On offense, he had 8 catches for 245 yards and two TD's. He also set up Brownwood's other two touchdowns with some long receptions inside the red zone. On defense, he pretty much single-handedly shut down Graham's top receiver for the whole first half.
But, Graham is the type of quick-strike team that can make that up in a hurry. Well, they took their sweet time coming back but, eventually closed the gap. Graham was down 28-14 with less than 5 minutes left in the game. First McCoy threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to pull within 7. Then with 2:21 left in the game and no timeouts McCoy put together 77-yard touchdown drive. Which he pretty much put the team on his back and won the game.
The funny part was I was talking to a friend on the sideline early in the game and said "Case just doesn't seem to have the wheels that his brother does." I ate my words on that one during the final drive when McCoy scrambled away from a defender on 4th-and-long and ran 22 yards for the 1st down capping it off by leaping over a Brownwood defender to go out of bounds and stop the clock. I don't mind eating my words, however, when at least I'm in the right place to get the shot, and I got a nice sequence of McCoy's spectacular play. Which, that of course, is much more important!
So, here we are at the end of the game and Graham throws a pass in the middle of the field at the 17-yard line and the clock is running. They get up to the line with just enough time to spike it and run one final play. McCoy then does a great job of throwing a nice 17-yard bullet to his receiver in the end zone for a touchdown with only 2 seconds left on the clock! All Graham needs to do is kick the PAT and they go to overtime. Brownwood, I guess, didn't want to play overtime since they blocked the kick and won the game 28-27.
Honestly I was thinking Brownwood just wouldn't have the talent to win the game. However, after watching Jaxon Shipley make some pretty damn amazing catches going up and pulling down balls in double and triple coverage, this team is going to make some noise in the playoffs. But then watching McCoy put the team on his back and do everything he had to do to tie the game, I don't think Graham will be that far behind. Wow! This was a helluva game. These games almost never live up to the hype. This one did and then some.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Rant starts in 3.. 2... 1... Now anyone who knows me know how exactly politically incorrect I am. So, when I keep seeing these ridiculous signs of political correctness it really just pisses me off even more. Since I went and shot the Texas/Oklahoma football game last week I figured I'd pull out my soapbox and rant against the pandering to political correctness that is too often done to some of the great rivalries in college football. The Red River "Rivalry" as it is now called just doesn't have the same ring as Red River Shootout, and most Texas And Oklahoma fans I know feel the same way. Just like my feeling on the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, which is the just "The Georgia Florida Game" because two university presidents, one of which being UGA president Michael Adams, who is the number 1 reason I refuse to give a donation to my alma mater, didn't want to "promote drinking." Uhhhh, hey stupid, have you even been to the damn game?!? IT IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST OUTDOOR COCKTAIL PARTY!!! And some idiot changing the name is going to change that!!
Now, the "shootout" luckily isn't a real shootout with guns and such, but rather a tribute to the old west, but as politically correct as society has become we can't promote violence, and I'm sure changing the name of this historic rivalry has lowered gang violence by at least 20% since the name was changed a few years ago... stupid! Rant over.
Well, despite it's former moniker, this game was far from a shootout, unlike how it has been in years' past. The 16-13 final scored would suggest a defensive battle but it seemed to be more an issue of sloppy play on both sides of the ball. My feeling on rivalry games has always been no matter the rankings coming into the game, there is a chance for a close game or even an upset if the score stays close at the start of the game. And that's just what Oklahoma did.
And even despite Heisman winner Sam Bradford going down in the first quarter, the Okies played a helluva game, well defensively at least. Texas on the other hand, played like they had been believing the hype about their team and everyone should just roll over for them. The offense looked stagnant and the play calling was in my opinion suspect. It was the third quarter before they threw the ball down the field at all.
Now, the main reason I was at the game, like I've said before, was for the local kid. Colt McCoy.(above) And, despite not having a great game statistically, he did what he has been doing since he got there, win. I've covered the kid since high school and he's always done it. Sometimes it hasn't been really pretty but he's always won games and made the throws he needed to when he had to. He did it again last weekend, only throwing one touchdown pass, but they needed it. And when they needed yards for a first down to run out the clock he tucked the ball under his shoulder and ran for a first down. Least year was probably his best chance for the Heisman trophy. This year, however, I think he's more interested in his chances at a ring.
Given how bad the game was I'm not totally disappointed with my photos. But, there were a few shots I missed and I'm not happy about that. But overall, it wasn't a total disaster. I've done worse and hopefully I'll do better next week.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here are some photos from McMurry University's first win since 2007, breaking a 17-game losing streak. I've been really impressed with what coach Hal Mumme has done with the team. He came here in April and got a late start putting the team together. In Division III you can't give scholarships. So a lot of kids don't commit until later in the year anyway, but he still got a late start putting things together nonetheless. And, this team has matured quite a bit since the start of the season. And they have become fun to watch. In the past it was show up at the game and try to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible! The team was not fun to watch the offense sucked and the defense was pathetic. Things have changed this year... now only if they would put some decent lights up at the stadium!!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I've been kind of busy over the last 2 weeks. Here are some photos of Hardin-Simmons' loss to Mary Hardin-Baylor two weeks ago. This used to be a really good game but HSU has been decimated by injuries this season and has not looked like the team of the last few years. They've lost their starting quarterback and best receiver for the year. Their offensive line isn't that great and just can't seem to put it together. But, it was an afternoon game and was still pretty fun to shoot.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Now, I grew up in Atlanta, which I always thought was the most miserably humid place on Earth. But, after having lived in dry West Texas for the last 10 years my tolerance for humidity has slowly eroded. So, when I went to shoot Texas Tech play Houston Saturday in Houston I had no idea how much I hated the humidity. The weather here has been pleasant the last few weeks. Highs in the 80's with almost no humidity.
So, when I looked at the forecast for Houston and saw it would be in the mid 80's for game time I thought great. I guess I should have thought back to the Texas game the previous week in Austin. Out of site out of mind I guess. Well, despite my guess of losing about 10 pounds from sweating during the game (no worries, I've found all of those pounds, none are missing anymore), I survived after feeling like I had just taken a bath in a warm vat of corn syrup! I have never been so excited to see the shower at my hotel as when I got there after the game!
So anyway, the whole reason I was at the game was because both teams' starting quarterbacks went to high school in Abilene. I've talked plenty about Tech's quarterback Taylor Potts. But Houston's quarterback Case Keenum (he's #7 in all these photos) was one of those kids that wasn't real highly recruited. He was one of those kids that was a great player but didn't have the prototype size or 40 time. However, the one thing the kid did have was the intangibles. He was not only a great leader, but he was one of those kids that always seemed to find a way to win.
Finding a way to win is pretty much what he did that night too. Down 5 points with just about 5 minutes left Keenum led Houston on a 95-yard drive to win the game. He capped off the win scoring on a quarterback draw to put them ahead with only about 40 seconds left. It was something I'd seen him do a lot in high school, but since Houston is merely a mid-major level football team I didn't get to really see him play a whole lot on TV and Houston isn't exactly a short drive from Abilene. It's about a 6-7 hour drive. Which is good I guess since it's so damn hot down there!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Normally I absolutely HATE shooting two games in one night. The reason being, when you leave at halftime often you only get half the story, especially is if it a close game. However, when I got to Cisco on Friday night, I noticed it was homecoming. In Texas, homecoming means one thing, a ridiculously LONG halftime. As it is, high school football games have miserably long halftimes (28 minutes). However, homecoming halftimes last even longer! Usually a minimum of 40 minutes, Some have even pushed nearly an hour.
Now, this was bad enough under our old deadlines, but now, it pretty much means there is absolutely no chance at shooting the whole game. On this particular night though, that wasn't a problem. Cisco went up 28-0 going into the half and looked like they would run away with it. Plus I was able to get some nice stuff in the first half of the game. So, coupled with my hatred for homecoming I had no problem leaving at halftime.
The good thing about it, is the second game I was going to had a longer first half and the 15 minute drive to Eastland from Cisco got me there at the start of halftime. The problem I ran into, which is what I often complain about when I need to cover this stuff, Eastland was in complete control of the game. So, basically I had the third quarter to shoot. I guess it turned out ok. Not long into the third quarter I got a nice interception shot that I normally wouldn't have gotten, but I was standing a little further down the field than normal. On this occasion it worked out, and I got a nice shot of Eastland's Jett Johnson pulling in a nice one-handed interception (below).