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Last Friday, the 2011 season did not start as planned for the Borger Bulldogs in the 35-7 loss to the Randall Raiders.
Three first half turnovers, along with the solid play be Randallâ€™s quarterback Collin Bowen, placed the Bulldogs into a 28-7 hole by halftime in the Raiders win.
In the game, the Bulldogs had several players making their varsity football debuts, which led to some nerves and inconsistent play. Consistency was something Borger Head Football Coach Rusty Purser pointed to improving, saying, â€śThe main thing that we need to develop is consistency. We felt that at times we did some very good things and were able to have success in both the running and passing game. With a lot of credit to Randall, we did feel that we were not able to be consistent at all times and help our defense by making some critical first downs.â€ť
One of the players making his varsity debut was junior quarterback Jacob Rendon. Rendon was 4 of 11 with three interceptions. However, the young quarterback showed the ability to manage the game by knowing when to get rid of the ball instead of taking a quarterback sack and turning nothing into two or three yard gains on the ground.
Purser said, â€śJacob had a steep learning curve last Friday. Not only was it his first start, but against one of the best defenses in the Panhandle. I was very impressed that Jacob handled his nerves very well.â€ť Purser added, â€śI feel that the speed of the defense contributed to his early interceptions and he adapted to that speed to make better decisions in the second half. Going into Thursday nightâ€™s game, Jacob will be able to react to the game pace and get on track early to lead the offense.â€ť
Consistency is also the name of the game for the Bulldog defense this week, as the unit expects to improve after giving up 367 yards in total offense and 35 points against Randall.
The defense had some bright spots on Friday with seniors Ty Brown, Dustin Clark and Miles McKinney each having at least six tackles in the game. While Purser liked seeing his seniors leading the defense, the coach knows in order to have success the rest of the unit will need to step up. Purser said, â€śNearly 85% of our tackles Friday night came by the three or four guys that have a year or two of experience. It is great to have that caliber of player, but it is also vital that we find the rest of our surrounding cast over the next few weeks.â€ť Purser added, â€śWe are still in that developmental mode; especially on the D-line. One of the most positive aspects of being that inexperienced will be the amount of improvement from one game to the next. We are looking forward to seeing how far we have come by just gaining one week of Friday night experience.â€ť
On Thursday night, the Bulldogs travel to Amarillo to take on their second District 3-4A opponent in a row, the Amarillo Caprock Longhorns.
Last season, the Longhorns were one of the feel good stories of the Texas Panhandle, by posting an 8-3 record and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1976.
Last week the Longhorns opened the 2011 season defeating Levelland 35-16. In the win, junior quarterback Michael Guerrero threw for three touchdown passes, including two to senior wide receiver Blake Wilson.
Senior running back Kaleen Jones is one of the better backs in the area, but with the Longhorns running the Air Raid offense, look for the ball to spend a lot of time in the air on Thursday night.
On his impression of the Longhornsâ€™ offense, Purser said, â€śCaprock appears to still be in the air 80 - 90% of the game. They will hand the ball to Jones, but they also like to throw some short passes to him and then certainly get him involved with the screen game. They are going to spread us out and make us defend the entire field, so it will be important that we rotate several players in and out to stay as fresh as possible.â€ť
On defense, Purser said the Longhorns like to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, so it will be important for his offensive line to pick up all the stunts they will try to bring.
Caprock will provide the Bulldogs with a tough challenge in order to break into the win column. But Coach Purser is entering the game confident that the Bulldogs can leave Amarillo with a win saying, â€śWe feel that we match up fairly well with Caprock this week. We feel that our strengths will match well against their weaknesses, and give us an opportunity to play a much more even game.â€ť
Kickoff for Thursday night is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo.