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'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 leagues next-largest
member --Fredericksburg at 915.
But enrollment has not seemed to had an effect on the
"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
"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
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
In fact, it was Fredericksburgs 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).
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