BRYAN, Texas — Time — possibly more than points and interceptions — played spoiler to Dripping Springs High School’s football season during a 28-21 loss to Richmond Foster Saturday at Merrill Green Stadium.
Time and belief, according to Falcon Head Coach Shaun McDowell. His statement to his team after the victory was short and sweet and begun with a question.
“Anybody still think we can’t win? Only the ones in the fieldhouse were the only ones in the state believing we could win,” he said. “Tonight, today, we let Texas know that the Foster Falcons came to play this year.”
Richmond Foster (8-3) entered the game the underdog facing a multi-faceted Dripping Springs with senior quarterback Trevor Greenman at the helm of one of the state’s most explosive offenses. They had made a flurry of quarterback changes before the start of district schedule after a 1-1 start, finally settling on Quinton Oliver — their state championship starting running back a year earlier.
And after Saturday’s 4-for-11, 75-yard, and one-touchdown performance, it was enough to make McDowell smile at his hesitation to jam his feature back under center.
“I think it just validates the decisions we make as coaches,” he said. “They may be very unpopular, but they’re always in the best interest of our team. Team is capitalized [in that statement]. Q is an unselfish player and a heck of a young man and a football player. He just went in and took this team on his back. With him doing that, Alec Harris coming in and being our main back, and the O-line moving the sticks, it gave our defense a chance to be dominant.”
While Richmond Foster used starting running back-turned-quarterback Oliver and feature back Harris to wear down the relentless Dripping Springs rush, its defense played the role of turnover machine. The Falcons forced four interceptions via perilous coverage from Stephon West (2), Anthony Egbo (1), and Christian Young (1), as well as held runners not named Trevor Greenman to 22 yards on six rushes.
That included starting running back and Tiger rushing leader Jake Cox, who ran twice for two yards.
Dominant may have been the trigger word for Richmond Foster’s Falcons, which allowed 566 yards (417 pass, 149 rush) and two touchdowns from Greenman in four quarters and a Herculean performance from primary receiver Curtis Raymond (8 rec, 211 yards, TD) but forced the quartet of crucial turnovers — including an interception in the end zone and an 70-yard pick-6 courtesy a West return.
According to West, Richmond Foster’s “underrated” defense wasn’t only geared to face state-ranked Dripping Springs’ offense. It had been waiting for it all year.
“We know how good they were,” he said. “We knew what they were coming in, where they were ranked, and what everybody said they were going to do to us. We knew what they capable of. We also knew us and our family. Here, it’s not just one of us offenses face, its all of us. Its the family. One is easy to beat. Taking out the family is very, very hard.”
“Our defense has been dominant all year,” McDowell added. “We were the No. 1 defense in a district that includes Angleton. Those guys just bought in and that’s allowed us to work out our kinks and get it going and play a phenomenal game against a very good football team.”
Still, despite the four turnovers and at-times stagnant offense, Dripping Springs was in striking range of saving its season and facing Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial in the regional semifinals. Down two touchdowns with less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Greenman dealt a series of strikes — a 10-yard pass to Raymond and 17- and 38-yard completions to Keith Mitchhart — to drive the Tigers down the field in less than a minute and set up a 1-yard Mitchhart touchdown run.
Just like that, it was 28-21 with Richmond Foster out of timeouts and 2:47 left on the clock.
“That’s how our kids are all the time. Up or down, they’re competitors. They’re never going to give up,” Dripping Springs Head Coach Galen Zimmerman. “So is Trevor. He has a short memory and that’s what you want your quarterback to have. He’s going to keep coming after you. That’s how that group is.”
While Dripping Springs’ season ended with Greenman’s attempt to spike the ball with one second left an set up a game-winning situation, Richmond Foster survived to reach another regional semifinal. The Falcons will face CC Veterans Memorial next Friday in Victoria for a chance to take a step toward another state championship berth.
“We were really close. Six inches up or down its a different play,” Zimmerman said. “Twenty more seconds and it may have been a different ball game, a different end to our season. I’m just proud of the kids and what they’ve established in the program — creating an environment that year after year we can be competitive.”
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