One thing Borger Bulldog fans cannot deny is Borger Head Coach Rusty Purser knows how to put together a monster of a non-district schedule.
After playing two of the top 4A teams in West Texas in Canyon Randall and Amarillo Caprock, good teams in Bushland and Dumas, along with a game with perennial top 15 team in Class 3A in Monahans, the Bulldogs will finish non-district play by taking on the top ranked 3A team in the state of Colorado, the Vista Ridge Wolves.
Vista Ridge, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., enters Friday night with a 6-0 record where they have outscored opponents 240-31, which includes back-to-back shutouts against Wasson, Colo., and Pueblo County, Colo,.
Purser knows the Bulldogs will have their hands full Friday night, saying, â€śVista Ridge is very impressive. I know the Colorado state rankings have them listed as #1 in 3A and they went deep into the playoffs a year ago, losing to the eventual state champion.â€ť
Purser added, â€śThey have some very talented play makers, notably #23 Tyree Walker (RB/FS) and #8 Josh Johnson (REC/C). Both of these young men are being recruited at the D1 level, and have made some very big plays for them throughout the year. They have certainly dominated in their first six games, so they will be coming in with a great deal of confidence, and a desire to prove themselves on the Texas high school football stage.â€ť
Walker enters Friday with 505 rushing yards with four touchdowns, while quarterback Thomas Newman has thrown for over 900 yards with 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Newman also can run out of the pocket where he has over 200 yards on the ground and five touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wolves have a pair of good linebackers in Quintin Riley and Pierre Copeland.
As impressive as Vista Ridge will be, several members of the Bulldogs are familiar with lining up against top ranked teams, including Brownwood last season and a state runner-up in Graham back in 2009.
The Bulldogs are coming off a bye week, where the team spent a lot of time on fundamentals and allowing players to get healed up.
At this time last season, the Bulldogs had the identical 2-4 record the team currently holds. However, the team was able to win five straight, which included winning the District 1-3A title and going three rounds deep into the playoffs.
Purser is fully aware of some of the similarities but understands there is room for improvement, saying, â€śWe are in basically the same position that we were a year ago. It has been a very difficult six weeks, but we feel that we have gotten to be a better football team because of it. We feel that we have two losses that could have and should have been wins. We have had to refocus on starting and finishing games. I think in both the Monahans and Dumas games we did not execute well for a full 48 minutes, and that cost us in critical situations. We hope that we have matured through those times, and will be a better football team because of it.â€ť
In regards to what it will take to come out ready to try to get a win over the Wolves, Purser said, â€śWe need to have another solid defensive effort, and then find our running game again offensively. Our defense took over the Monahans game after giving up the early scores, so we hope that we are more geared to stop the run than we were when we started that game.â€ť
Purser added, â€śOffensively, we did not have a 100 yard rusher in two games, Dumas and Monahans. Statistically that has lead to very poor offensive production, so we will have to get that going Friday night.â€ť
After Friday night, the Bulldogs will finally be able to focus on district play and going after their third district crown in a row when they take on Pampa next week.
But Purser and the team knows they will need to just focus on the big challenge that lays ahead of them tomorrow night. Purser said, â€śFor this game it is important that we can focus after an open date, and come out with a physical 48 minute effort. This is a very good Vista Ridge team, so it will also be a challenge in getting us back up to competition speed.â€ť
Tomorrow nightâ€™s game will wrap up a week of homecoming activities.
Kickoff between Vista Ridge and Borger is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.