Regional volleyball champs highlight wild weekend

First up…congratulations to the Seguin High School volleyball team for earning the first UIL state tournament berth in school history with a four-game 4A Region 4 championship victory over Austin Lake Travis in San Antonio on Saturday.  And congrats to Seguin head coach Robin Gerlich for notching her 500th and 501st career victories in the two regional tournament wins.

I’ve been watching the core group of seniors on this team play for three years – some of them for four – and seeing them grow into state championship contenders has been pretty remarkable.  Kelly Koenig and Megan Roy were varsity starters as freshmen on the ’06 Seguin team that finished near the bottom of the old District 25-5A, so it’s been a long journey for those two. 

Now Koenig, Roy, and fellow seniors Alex Bothe, Brooke Abrameit, Marquisha Matthews, and Danika Cerna see the countless hours of hard work pay off with a shot at competing for a state title.  The same is true for Lauren Meunchow, Megan Reiley, and the other non-seniors on this team who will be back to lead the Matadors in 2010. 

To think….11 days ago Dripping Springs had the Matadors at match point (leading 24-23 in game four with a two-games-to-one lead) with Seguin’s season hanging in the balance in the area round of the playoffs.  The Mats showed their resolve, found a way to survive that game 26-24, went on to beat the Tigers 15-8 in game five, and they’ve rolled through the opposition since then. 

Championship runs often have that one defining moment during post-season play – that one moment where a team turns the corner and never looks back.  If Seguin goes on to capture a state title in San Marcos this week, fighting off that match-point deficit in game four against Dripping Springs will go down as that moment. 

Now…on to football.  Absolute shocker at Boerne-ISD Stadium Friday night.  In the bi-district round of the 2A playoffs, Navarro faced a Comfort team it had beaten 35-6 two months earlier, and most fans figured the Bobcats would be no more than an early bump in the road on a long Panther playoff run.  Final score? Comfort 52, Navarro 21. 

Comfort absolutely shocked the Panthers (and Navarro fans…and me…and my broadcast partner, Mike Andrews).  Navarro coach Les Goad alluded to the fact in our pre-game interview that in the first meeting, the Bobcats were still playing tentatively and mechanically in trying to learn first-year head coach Chip Mayfield’s new system.  He also acknowledged that Comfort would be much improved in the rematch, as evidenced by a four-game win streak to end district play in which Comfort averaged close to 60 points per game. 

But this much improved?  Comfort’s team speed was alarming.  Proof that there’s a difference between BEING fast and PLAYING fast.  You can be fast, but if you’re not comfortable and confident in the system you’re playing in, and you play tentatively, that speed won’t show itself on game night. 

No such problem for Comfort on Friday…the Bobcats PLAYED fast…played aggressively and instinctively.  They kept Navarro guessing on both sides of the ball all night.  Strong enough up the middle defensively to take away the Panthers’ power running game between the tackles, and fast enough sideline to sideline to negate Navarro’s speed on the edge.  The Comfort offense mixed its play-calling and formations masterfully, and looked like a well-oiled machine in racking up big chunks of yards.

It was 31-0 at halftime, and it was 45-0 before Navarro finally scored late in the third quarter.  Nobody in the stadium (except for Comfort’s coaches and players) saw it coming.  Comfort is going to be a nightmare matchup for anybody it faces moving forward in the 2A playoffs.

Still have to tip your caps to Navarro for a fine season.  Two straight unbeaten runs through District 28-2A to outright district championships, and a combined record over the past two years  of 19-4 is nothing to scoff at.  This program will be a force to be reckoned with in the region for years to come.

Enjoyed a beautiful Saturday afternoon watching Lifegate play “fast break football” on Saturday…The Falcons executed to precision on offense and returned two interceptions for touchdowns on defense in dispatching of Brownwood-Victory Life 53-8 in the opening round of the TAPPS 6-Man Division II playoffs. 

The headliners much of this season have been Matt Akin and Austin Swick, and both played brilliantly on Saturday.  But this team is well stocked with other playmakers when you throw in names like Caleb Tate and Tyler Swisher, and they seem versatile enough and well rounded enough in what they can do on both sides of the ball to put together a run to the state champioship game. 

This weekend will tell a lot, when the Falcons host Brenham Christian Academy in a matchup of 11-0 teams in the second round of the playoffs.  Win that one, and it could be smooth sailing for the Falcons into that state title game.

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