Posts Tagged With: Stony Point

Stony Point vs. Westwood

 

Getting out of a bad run might be the hardest thing to do in sports.  Everything seems to conspire against a team in a hole to the point where it seems impossible to climb out. Bad calls, bad luck and losses look like an avalanche and as much as the coaches try to show confidence, it’s easy for a team to start expecting bad things around every turn.  This week, Stony Point got two injured players back who had been out since early this season. Just as things were starting to look up, they lost their starting running back to an injury during practice; the back that might have been the difference between winning and losing Friday night. Teams who are doing well seem to win games that they probably shouldn’t, and teams on the opposite end find it harder to get over that hump with each tough loss. It has been that kind of year for the Stony Point Tigers.

Friday Night in Round Rock, the Stony Point Tigers fell to the Westwood Warriors in a game that seemed to exemplify the frustrating year the Tigers have had. Stony Point played their butts off, fought to the last play, but just couldn’t overcome some key letdowns and bad breaks that have plagued the Tigers all year.

All the scoring occurred in the 1st half. After taking a 3-0 lead in the 1st quarter, the Warriors responded with their only score of the night. With 3 minutes to go in the half a Stony Point screen pass was intercepted on their own 5 yard line. Westwood punched in it on a quarterback dive two plays later, making the score 7-3 Westwood. The Tiger offense could never get anything going, wasting a tremendous defensive effort. Stony Point held Westwood to just 15 yards rushing on 20 carries and less than 100 total yards, while gaining 231 on offense.

Although the Tigers averaged 4.6 yards a carry they had no margin for error. While theoretically, 4 ½ yards per carry is enough to grind the ball down the field, any miscue, flubbed play or penalty puts a team in a long yardage situation. That was the story with the Stony Point offense all night. The Tigers did a good job pounding the ball, but inevitably a holding penalty or a minus yardage play would put them in a 3rd and long without the passing game to convert. Several times the Tigers got into field goal range, only to be pushed back by a penalty or sack.

A pivotal point of the game came late in the 3rd, when the Tigers recovered a punt that seemed to bounce off a Warrior player on the one yard line; however a penalty returned the ball to the Warriors. It is just the type of thing that seems to happen to struggling teams.

Stony Point is not a great team. They have a lot of tough kids who play very hard, but are usually facing bigger, faster teams in a very tough 5A district. They need to play almost flawless football to win. Given that many of their better athletes are sophomores with little varsity experience; this is a lot to ask.

While the Tigers are not a great team right now, I stand by my choice to cover the Stony Point Tigers as an example of a quality program for my book. As I wrote in my last post, winning depends on a lot of factors and, right now, they all seem to be turning against the Tigers. However, Coach Chessher took over this program when it was in a much worse spot than now and built it into a power. If he can continue to attract outstanding assistant coaches, better days will come.

This is a very good staff and a lot of fun to be around; Coach Chessher is a character, full of great stories you’ll have to wait for my book to read about. The kids work tremendously hard and although they aren’t winning enough right now, they will become better men from being a part of this team. Winning is important, making the effort to win is necessary, but the true reason for a high schools to offer football  is to build boys into men and by that measure the Stony Point staff is doing their job.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Week Eight: Stony Point Tigers

This is a tough post for me to write. Up to this point I’ve been celebrating programs that have been successful and done things the right way, but it doesn’t always follow that doing things the right way will lead to success. The fact is that half of all the teams every week lose. There are just as many losses out there as wins. Many, perhaps most, of the teams on the losing end, worked hard and were well coached.

Looking at most of my posts it would be easy to get the simplistic idea that winning will happen if things are done like they’re being done at Aledo, Abilene, La Marque or Stamford.   If I’m giving this impression I apologize, I’m still feeling my way through this writing thing and I’m constantly learning new things and hopefully,  getting better at making my points. My intention here is not to celebrate “winning”.  I probably know better than most that  winning is not always possible no matter how hard you work, how much you want it, how good your athletes are or how smart a coach you are. Winning comes from a combination of factors, many which are out of anyone’s control. Wanting it, being a smart coach, a good athlete and working hard may only put a team in position to win. While I maintain that football IS the fairest of sports, in the end, football is a lot like life and, as my dad always liked to say, “Life isn’t fair.”

Two years ago the Stony Point Tigers in Round Rock were on a roll. They were the first school in Round Rock history to advance to the state semifinals and managed this feat three straight years, winning a tough district four years in a row from 2007 to 2010.

In the last two years thing have gotten tougher. Since the 5A semifinal in 2010, the Tigers have a record of 7-10. Instead of expecting a district title, the Tigers are hoping to make the playoffs in 2012.

Round Rock is a growing suburb north of Austin and like many other towns outside Texas boom areas of Austin, San Antonio, Houston and the DFW Metroplex, fast growth is creating tremendous upheaval to schools and athletic programs. Schools are opened with 500 students and a few years later, bursting at the seams. More new schools are built to relieve overcrowding; zoning lines are changed, making the enrollment seesaw again. From an athletic standpoint this volatility is having an enormous impact. Some schools gaining from a particular shift while others are hurt. This isn’t just a Texas thing, it’s happened to me at the two Reno schools I coached for.  But the population shift from west to east and rural to urban in Texas makes these changes very dramatic right now.

Stony Point was hurt by the opening of neighboring Cedar Ridge last year, the new school took many former Stony Point kids and the Tigers have struggled. Things may be looking up however. Changes are still occurring. Newer neighborhoods are being built and enrollment should climb the next few years. On the football front, while the team is 3-4, the Tigers lost by margins of 1,1,2 and 10 points, showing just how close they are to turning the corner.

As far as two days of watching practice can tell me, this is a program that is doing things the right way. The coaches are well organized, very energetic and teach very well. The kids seem to be coachable and tough. Everyone is working hard for a win this week against Round Rock Westwood. Whether these commitments to doing things right will pay off the next three weeks or next three years, I don’t know. But I’m sure the coaches here would agree that you don’t work your butt off simply to win, but because it’s the right way to do things and the only way to hold your head up after the results are on the scoreboard.  Wins are just, a sometimes flawed, measuring stick. In a fair world everyone who paid the price would be rewarded for it, but life isn’t fair.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Stony Point

The Stony Point Tigers are very young. They expect to start either 5 or 6 sophomores in 2012, and only have three returning starters on each side of the ball. When a team is young, the coaches must do a lot of teaching on the field and it effects the intensity of practice.  Today was the first day Stony Point wore pads and the inexperience was apparent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line has very good size, but looked tentative.  The coaches did a good job with their teaching and I would expect this team to get better every day.  They had some very good looking kids on the field, but it will take them awhile to play as a team.

Image

One interesting pattern I’ve begun to see is the amount of sophomores that play varsity in Texas. Even deep and strong teams routinely play sophomores on the varsity. In Nevada, a sophomore playing up either means the varsity is in a desperate spot or the kid is just too amazing not to bring up. The amount of Texas 10th graders playing varsity is another result of the athletic periods. By sophomore year, these kids have an entire year of football instruction and spring ball if they are in the big schools.

Image

Stony Point parents watching practice.

Linked is a recent article that claimed Texas as the best high school football state in the country. It is, but the story missed the point, what makes Texas the best is; a) every public school coach in the state is also a teacher. This is the only state in the country that has this requirement. b) In every school all athletes devote one period a day to working on their sports with all their coaches. This may happen in certain schools in other states, but Texas is the only one that does it this way across the board.

Stony Point may be raw right now. But with good year around coaching, they are nowhere near as raw as a similar team in a less supportive state. I’m guessing they will be a different team by the time I return during week 8 for the Round Rock Westwood game.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.