One of the best Bi-District playoff match ups in West Texas this weekend appears to be the 3A Division I battle between the Borger Bulldogs and the Lubbock Cooper Pirates.
The two teams enter the game in similar fashion. Both struggled a little in non-district play, yet were able to rebound and go undefeated in winning district championships.
The Pirates enter the playoffs coming off a big 20-14 win over a good Lubbock Estacado team in the regular season finale.
The Pirates’ offense will be the most balanced offense the Bulldogs have seen since September. The Pirates enter the playoffs racking up 1,900 yard rushing and 1,400 yards passing during the regular season.
Pirate quarterback John Keane has thrown for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Nolan Savage has been a jack of all trades in the offense, including rushing for 1,269 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Savage and the Pirate offense has impressed Borger Head Coach Rusty Purser, who commented, “Savage has been solid wherever he is needed. He has played running back, receiver, and quarterback on and off throughout the year, so obviously he is a special talent. They have been very successful running the ball throughout district play, so it will be critical for us to slow them down.”
Throughout the season, the Bulldogs’ defense has been able to do a good job against the run. However, if the Pirates try to spread the field, they will have to contend with a Bulldog secondary that has come a long way throughout the season, including coming up with two interceptions last week against Perryton.
In talking about his secondary, Purser said, “I have heard a lot of comments from our district coaches about how solid our secondary has been, and I would agree. The unit as a whole has played very well for the last three to four weeks, and that has allowed our forcing unit to play the run, and rush the passer.”
Through district play, senior Ty Brown has shown how dangerous he can be on the football field when he is healthy. However, credit needs to go to how well the Bulldogs’ offensive line has continued to develop as well as the Bulldogs’ play action passing game continuing to get better each week.
On Friday, the Bulldog offensive line will have their work cut out for them against a good Pirate defense. “Their interior lineman (TNT) are very quick off of the ball, and are very physical,” said Purser. “One of the biggest keys is the play of their corners has been good enough that they can play man coverage and free up a lot of other people to play the run.”
Even though the Pirates will bring in a solid defense onto the field, Purser said his offensive game plan will be to continue doing what the team does best, moving the ball down the field and controlling the clock. Purser said, “We are going to have to be able to control the time of possession, and put points on the board. It will be very difficult if we cannot finish our drives and stall without points of any kind.”
The winner of the Borger/Lubbock Cooper game will meet the winner of Fabens/Seminole next week.
Kickoff between the Bulldogs and Pirates is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow evening at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium in Canyon.