Hope (Dripping) springs eternal

Knights' game against the Tigers tonight offers them a chance to turn their season around

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Hope (Dripping) springs eternal

JAMMED BY THE JAGS. junior defensive lineman Connor Boggs tackles LBJ senior quarterback Hunter Scott during the McCallum loss to the Jaguars. Photo by Grace Nugent

JAMMED BY THE JAGS. junior defensive lineman Connor Boggs tackles LBJ senior quarterback Hunter Scott during the McCallum loss to the Jaguars. Photo by Grace Nugent

Grace Nugent

JAMMED BY THE JAGS. junior defensive lineman Connor Boggs tackles LBJ senior quarterback Hunter Scott during the McCallum loss to the Jaguars. Photo by Grace Nugent

Grace Nugent

Grace Nugent

JAMMED BY THE JAGS. junior defensive lineman Connor Boggs tackles LBJ senior quarterback Hunter Scott during the McCallum loss to the Jaguars. Photo by Grace Nugent

Grace Nugent, staff reporter

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Every team, from Pop Warner to professional, goes through tough stretches: challenging seasons or challenging times within a season.

All it takes is one single game, one single play, to change the course of a season.

Tonight, the varsity football team has a golden opportunity to create a turnaround moment.

The opportunity comes in the form of opponents whose pads are topped with a gold and brown jersey.

They present not only an opportunity to turn the season around but also avenge the narrow defeat that last year’s Knights suffered at the hands of last year’s Tigers.

After two rough outings and a bye week, the varsity stands at 1-3 overall and 0-1 in district play.

It’s not a good place to be, but that can all change tonight at Tiger Stadium in Dripping Springs.

After the Lehman win in the second week of play, a 17-0 victory to refresh your memories, the Knights faced the Glenn Grizzlies, a nondistrict opponent. The Knights had reason for optimism after the gamed despite taking the L, 35-14. That’s because the running game, which had been MIA, against Anderson and Lehman, made a prolific Homecoming appearance at House Park against the Grizzlies.

Senior first string running back Caleb Brown ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

BROWN WITH 194. during the McCallum varsity football loss to the Glenn Grizzlies senior first string running back Caleb Brown rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Photo by Gabby Sherwood

“Brown is a relentless runner,” Glenn coach Rob Schoenfeld told the Austin American-Statesman after the game. “He’s not very big but he has a 3,000-pound heart and character.”

Brown scored form long and short distance. His first score came on a 57-yard sprint to the end zone, and his second, on a 3-yard plunge, both on handoffs from sophomore starting quarterback Jaxon Rosales.

In a post-game interview with the Shield, Brown was quick to praise his offensive line for enabling the rushing game to flourish.

“The o-line was doing a great job. This is one of the best o-line performances because if the o-line was not there the team can’t function, and I can’t run the ball,” Brown said.

Along with a strong showing from Brown, the Knights had another bright spot in a fumble recovery and return from senior Christian Hart. Unfortunately, Hart was stopped from scoring on the 4-yard line, and the Knight offense was unable to get points off the play.

But the play and the emergence of the running game were positives to build on. The team’s next game lacked similar silver linings.

It’s going to make us have a chip on our shoulder going into the rest of the games, so we’ll be a lot more prepared because we learned a lot from that game”

— junior cornerback Jake Allison

The following week, the Knights started district play against their arch-rival, the LBJ Jaguars. LBJ boasts some stellar athletes with D1 offers on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t a shock that the Knights lost to such a talented opponent, but the blowout loss has left the team looking for answers. The players we interviewed for the story said that they were not intimidated by the Jaguars: they went into game expecting to win after a good week of practice to prepare.

The pregame optimism soon was replaced with a hefty helping of purple reality. The final score was 56-0. The defense was victimized by big plays, and the offensive was shut out and held to under a 100 yards of total offense.

“Towards the end of the game Coach G said this was a test to see who really wants to play and who won’t give up, so I think those players who wanted it more stuck out,” junior defensive lineman Connor Boggs told MacJournalism.

Despite the score, the Knights defense stepped up and kept the Jaguar’s third-down percentage to 29 (two for seven). There were more bright spots in an otherwise dark sky. Senior August McCollum made some key tackles on speedy flex player Sean Fresch.

“I was just kind of disappointed but at the same time, I was doing my job. I just try to do my job no matter what,” McCollum said.

It was a tough game to swallow, but as the game was going south, the Knights tried to stay positive and aggressive.

“I don’t think them scoring changed our mentality,” junior defensive lineman Charlie Pecina. “It just pushed us harder to make stops and get the offense on the field more.”

The big takeaway from the game: complete your assignments and push hard no matter what the score is. Another takeaway: to compete in district play, make every preparation moment count, in practice, during film sessions and anywhere else.

“It’s going to make us have a chip on our shoulder going into the rest of the games, so we’ll be a lot more prepared because we learned a lot from that game,” junior cornerback Jake Allison said.

Despite the losses to Glenn and LBJ, there is still time and games to salvage the season. The freshman football team brought home a win last night at the Noack Fields, beating Drip 28-20. Going into the second half, the Knights were clinging to a 22-20 lead, until McCallum quarterback Miles McCollum recovered from a botched handoff and a resulting fumble by scooping up the ball and running 50 yards to the end zone for a game-clinching score. Tonight, the varsity has a chance to follow in the freshmen footsteps and beat the rival Tigers in their den.

I was just kind of disappointed but at the same time, I was doing my job. I just try to do my job no matter what”

— senior linebacker August McCollum

The key for the game this week: stop the Dripping Springs run game. With Drip averaging 266 rushing yards per game, the defensive line and the secondary will be tested.

A year ago, the varsity Knights came within one touchdown of taming the Tigers. In that game, the turnaround drive was led by then-junior quarterback Cole Davis and then-senior running back and wide receiver Deron Gage. With Cole sidelined due to an ACL injury and Gage an alumnus, it’s up to a new starring cast to step onto the big stage and defeat the Tigers.

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