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Oct. 14, 1998

'OUR BACKS ARE AGAINST THE WALL' - Klett Calls Medina Valley Match-Up A 'Must-Win' Game For Billies

      Goliath had his David; the fleet-footed hare was victimized by the tortoise, and more often than not Fredericksburg has been undone by little Medina Valley.
      In fact, over the past eight years, Billie varsity football teams have won only three games against the Panthers of Medina Valley.
      This Friday, Oct.16, FHS will have a chance to set the record straight when the local grid squad travels to Castroville for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
      The game will be the second 28-AAAA contest of 1998 for the 4-2 Billies who would like nothing better than to keep their dreams of winning Fredericksburg's fourth straight district title.
      The game comes on the heels of a narrow 15-12 FHS win over Boerne last weekend in the opening weekend of league action when the Panthers were 42-14 victims against pre-season favorite Alamo Heights.
      But defeating lowly Medina Valley is expected to be more difficult than the Panthers' 1-5 season record might indicate. Just ask the 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1996 Billie varsities who lost in those years to Medina Valley and the 1993 squad which was tied by the Panthers.
      "Considering the tough district schedule that we have this year, this is a must-win game for us," said FHS head coach Jerald Klett. "Our backs are against the wall on this one."
      Klett's admonition against over-confidence Friday stems partly from history when favored FHS teams were upset and partly from the fact that an injury-plagued 1998 Panther squad is expected to be healed up by Friday.
      "On paper, this years Medina Valley may not look good, but in truth they are good, really good," he told fans at Monday night's weekly Billie Booster Club meeting in the FHS cafeteria. "Besides, Medina Valley is really tough to beat when they play at home."
      Medina Valley -- which moved up over the off-season from Class AAA to AAAA ranks -- is the smallest team among 28-AAAA six member schools. At 837 students, the Castroville campus' enrollment is well below the league’s next-largest member --Fredericksburg at 915.
      But enrollment has not seemed to had an effect on the Panther roster.
      "Medina Valley's players are big," Klett said, adding that Fredericksburg's opponent Friday night is a very physical team. "They have good size on the line along with big backs."
      Panther head coach Jay Patterson (108-36-3 in 13 seasons at Medina Valley) likes to rely on a power-oriented offensive attack, although his squad will occasionally use the option to throw the ball "just to keep you honest," Klett said. "They like mostly to run off-tackle right at you."
      Key performers in the Panther. offensive game include senior tailback Jason Dominguez (5-10, 201) who rushed for 1001 yards and scored 21 touchdowns last year in a Medina Valley playoff campaign.
      In fact, the Panthers, who in 1997 finished second in district during their last year in AAA, have made it into the playoffs 15 times in 19 tries since 1979.
      Junior Weston Ducos (6-1, 185) has been quarterbacking much of the year for the Panthers, although sophomore Ryan Bippert showed promise last week against Alamo Heights.
      Holding down the fullback position is sophomore Matt Crisp (195), while Medina Valley's top receiver is senior Josh Fitzsimmons (170).
      Up on the forward wall, leaders include senior strong guard Robert Fraga (5-11, 269), strong tackle Ryan Bednan (6-0, 240) and junior tight end Tobie Kennedy (6-2, 245).
      Over on defense, where the Panthers have chucked the 5-2 alignment in favor of a 4-3 attack, major performers include junior middle linebacker Luke Moody (5-11, 205), strong side linebacker Lee Crisp (6-0, 204) and junior Clinton Haby (190).
      "It will take a real effort on our part to maintain ball control down there Friday," Klett said, adding that Fredericksburg continues to experience problems in the turnover department where Billie ball carriers are averaging three miscues per game.
      With the exception of senior right guard Dale Woerner (6-4, 315), who on Friday is expected to miss one more game before a mending broken foot will allow him to play, the rest of the FHS lineup should be ready to play in Castroville.
      Senior Barrett Durst (5-10, 210), who sustained a shoulder injury late in the Boerne clash, should be ready to go at defensive tackle, while a hip injury to junior John Merz (5-11, 268) during the Dripping Springs game two weeks ago has healed sufficiently to play at right guard Friday.

BILLIES EDGE 'HOUNDS - In 15-12 League Win

      Boerne held the edge in an armload of categories here Friday night. The Greyhounds had the most yards passing, best total offense stats, most first downs, best punting average, fewest turnovers and the least number of penalties.
      But members of Fredericksburg's varsity football team led in the one statistical category that really mattered at FHS Stadium as they defeated Boerne, 15-12 in 1998's District 28-AAAA opener.
      With the win, the Billies gave hopes of eventually winning a fourth consecutive district title a jump-start in addition to improving their season record to 4-2 -- second-best in league play.
      Friday's outcome also handed FHS its second straight victory of 1998 while also giving the local varsity a 4-3 edge (including three straight wins over Boerne) in the current series between the two schools that began in 1992.
      "It wasn't pretty, but it was a win," said FHS head coach Jerald Klett of Friday's game in lamenting Billie mistakes, including two lost fumbles that "Hurt us a bunch. Still, our kids hung in there, and we were able to come out on top."
      Among the plays that were particularly instrumental in securing the FHS victory was a pass interference penalty against Boerne in the fourth quarter when the Billies had their backs up against the wall at the Greyhound 23 on a fourth-and-12 situation.
      With nine minutes left in the game, the penalty gave the Billies first and goal at the Boerne's eight. Two plays later, FHS lineman Barrett Durst came up with a loose ball in the end zone after Chris Weirich fumbled on a eight-yard run. Charles Klein added the point-after kick for a 15-12 score as the clock showed 8:16 left in the game.
      Boerne countered on its ensuing possession by driving from its own 25 deep into FHS territory. But the Fredericksburg 23 was as far as the drive would go, thanks in part to a touchdown-saving tackle by defensive back Kaleb Kothe at the FHS 27. Four plays later, the Billie defense shut down the offensive and forced the Hounds to give up possession on downs.
      An ensuing nine-play FHS possession ate up valuable clock time, and then Billie defenders ended Boerne's last effort at the Greyhound 22 with a pair of sacks.
      In fact, it was Fredericksburg’s defensive unit that actually got scoring started early in the district opener when, with 2-23 remaining in the first quarter, FHS defensive back Manuel Gonzales trapped Hound quarterback Joe Brann eight yards behind the line of scrimmage and in the end zone for a safety.
      Fredericksburg's offense next had a chance to strike on the Billies' next possession as Gonzales again scored on a one-yard fourth down run just four seconds into the second quarter. The ensuing PAT attempt that capped the six-play, 44-yard drive failed, holding FHS' lead to 8-0.
      Not to be left out of the fireworks, Boerne responded on its next possession by marching 79 yards in 12 plays, with fullback Jesse Short scoring from the one with 6:10 remaining in the half. Short's PAT kicking attempt was wide right of the uprights for an 8-6 FHS lead that held up through halftime.
      However, on its first possession after the break, Boerne put together a 17-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a three-yard scoring pass from quarterback Brann to tight end Jonathan Coats. Ahead for the first time in the game, the Hounds then went for two points on the PAT try, but that pass fell incomplete, holding the visitors' lead at 12-8 with 1:32 left in the third period.
      As it turned out, that lead was short-lived as Fredericksburg countered on its next possession with the winning drive.
      In Friday's game, the Hounds led in total offense (257-210), passing (120-47), first downs (16-12), punting average (34.0-32.0), fewer penalty yards (25-33) and least turnovers (0.2).
      By contrast, Fredericksburg was tops in rushing yards (163-137) and return yardage (91-35).
      In individual accomplishments, Gonzales was FHS' top ground-gainer with 86 yards on 12 carries, while Freddy Cantu carried 12 times for 48 yards. Leading Boerne ground-gainer was Short with 81 yards on 20 tries.
      Meanwhile, quarterback T.J Theis connected on four passes for all 47 FHS passing yards, with Heath Holloway getting most of that (40) on one catch.
      Tackle-assisted tackle leaders for the FHS defensive unit, which came up with five quarterback sacks on Friday, were Jamie Reeh (7-1), Chris Weirich (7-1), Heath Holloway (6-3), Sergio De La Garza (6-3) and Kaleb Kothe (6-1).

(To see all the stats go to the schedule section and click on the game)-Sorry not available yet!

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

HEARING FOOTSTEPS--Boerne quarterback Joe Brann (19) looks downfield in hopes of unloading a pass before Fredericksburg varsity defensive end Sergio De La Garza (80) can catch him in the Greyhound backfield. In all, FHS defenders recorded five sacks in the 28-AAAA opener at FHS Stadium which was won by FHS, 15-12.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Lisa Treiber-Walter

HITTING THE BRAKES--In hopes of slipping by Boerne defender Scott Siefken (17), Fredericksburg varsity quarterback T.J. Theis cuts back during a run Friday night at FHS Stadium. The junior signal caller and his Billie teammates edged the Greyhounds, 15-12, to set up the season’s second 28-AAAA battle this Friday, Oct.16, against Medina Valley in Castroville.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Lisa Treiber-Walter

‘LOOKING IN' a pass reception at eye-level, Fredericksburg High School varsity back Casey Montandon (42) tries to elude a tackle by Boerne linebacker Josh Jones (56) during Friday night's 15-12 Billie victory at FHS Stadium. The 28-AAAA-opening win was a positive first step in Fredericksburg's quest for a fourth straight district title.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Lisa Treiber-Walter

BEHIND A WALL of blockers like teammates Casey Montandon (42) and Barrett Durst (60), Fredericksburg High School varsity tailback Freddy Cantu (25) picks a hole through which to pick up yardage against Boerne during Friday night's District 28-AAAA opener at FHS Stadium. The Billies won the close-fought contest, 15-12, to claim their third straight victory over the Greyhounds and improve to 4-2 on the season.

-Standard-Radio Post Photo by Lisa Treiber-Walter