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Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:33 pm
by granger
Ed Note: although I post these, these are written by Leman...

Blackwell @ Highland
Call it what you will, the Nolan County Showdown or the Battle for the Hornets’ Nest, but this is the big district showdown between Nolan County rivals, Blackwell and Highland.

Blackwell, sitting at 9-0, has had the best start in school history and can become only the 2nd team to finish the regular season undefeated (1976 team finished 8-0-1). The nine game win streak is the 2nd longest in school history behind the 1996 team that won 10 straight. The Hornets are young and one of the surprise teams in class 1A this year. Their balanced offensive attack is led by QB Brandon Brinkman, who has passed for 634 yards, 21 touchdowns and rushed for 559 yards, 11 touchdowns. Hunter Clark (17-334 yards, nine touchdowns receiving) and Cameron Coldiron (690 yards, 10 touchdowns rushing) are also key players offensively for the Hornets, who are averaging 57 points a game.

Highland is 7-2, with loses to Hermleigh and Robert Lee by a combined eight points. The Hornets feature a powerful rushing game behind RB Eli Sauer who has carried the ball 125 times for 1,557 yards and 35 touchdowns. While Sauer appears to be the work horse, Nolan Montgomery and Richard Fomby play important roles in the Highland offense as well, as they average 55 points a game.

Both schools have strong defenses. Highland is allowing 26 points per game with that average being inflated by one game against Lueders-Avoca, where they gave up 70. Montgomery, Fomby and Dakota Bowen are three of their best defenders. Blackwell’s defense is allowing just 12 points per game with Joe Sanchez, Devin Clower, and Nathaniel Shipman logging a large portion of the tackles week in and week out.

The history of this matchup is part of the allure of this game. Both schools lie in Nolan County, approximately 23 miles apart, on Highway 1170. Highland’s first year of football was in 1943 and in that season won the first matchup between these two schools 48-0. Since then, they have played each other 60 times, with the blue Hornets of Highland holding a 37-21-2 advantage against the green Hornets of Blackwell. In recent years, Highland has owned this game, having won the last 10 meetings, causing the rivalry on the gridiron to not be as heated as it once was.

It might also be a reason why when people speak of six-man rivalries, this game is often over looked. Abbott v Aquilla is considered one of the biggest, yet they have only played 24 times, with the first coming in 1978. Strawn v Gordon is THE big rivalry in the six-man ranks. Those two schools have played 68 times dating back to 1923, with the all-time record very close. Both rivalries’ all-time records are very close, and if Blackwell can get off the snide this week, maybe this rivalry will start to garner more attention.

I believe the last time this matchup decided the district title was back in 2008, but it was not in the final week of the season like this year. Obviously, throughout the years, the dove-tailing interests and story lines of these two schools, so close together in rural Nolan County, helps build this rivalry. There have been former players for one school coaching at the other. Hall of Famer Lane Jackson was a Blackwell grad who led Highland to two state titles as head coach. Hall of Famer Duane Hyde played on those great Highland teams and was later Blackwell’s head coach to great success. He has since returned to his alma mater as an administrator.

Keys to the Game:
I think Blackwell is the favorite going into this game. In order for Blackwell to win, they cannot commit turnovers, need to play smart and more importantly, play with a chip on their shoulder. They need to come out with the determination they are going to end the losing streak. Highland needs to exploit open space in Blackwell’s defense with their passing game. They don’t need to pass a lot, but efficiently setting up big passing plays with their excellent run game.

My Pick: I know a few weeks ago I picked Highland to win this game. I’m flip flopping on that now and I will pick Blackwell. If you are out in the area go out and watch this game Friday night!

(full disclosure I am a Blackwell graduate in case some of you didn’t know and incidentally the greatest game I ever played in was the 1999 game against Highland, which we won 22-14)

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:47 pm
by Leman Saunders
Ed Note: although I post these, these are written by Leman...


So direct hate mail to me please

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:14 pm
by Leman Saunders
PS: This game is tonight

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:58 pm
by sixmanfan2007

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:47 pm
by Leman Saunders
Final
Blackwell 35
Highland 34

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:01 am
by Jcoldiron
By far the game of the year!!! Glad I got to witness it!!! We Are Blackwell!!

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:07 am
by CoachBrinkman
A great game! Turnovers hurt in the first half, but we finally got things going. Our defense played lights out again and helped keep us in the game after the turnovers. Our boys don’t have quit in their vocabulary. They will keep coming at you all night. I’m so proud of them and looking forward to seeing them make the big push starting next week. 10-0 and District Champs!! Go Hornets!!!

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:06 am
by 51eleven
Just a note and curiosity on my part. I know Strawn and Gordon didn't move up to six man until somewhere in the late 50's or early 60's though the rivalry goes back through all the years of 11 man as well. Have Blackwell and Highland been six man the whole time?

Re: Big Game of the Week: Nolan County Showdown

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:54 am
by ACowboysWife
Man, this was a GREAT game to watch!!! Blackwell hasn’t beat Highland in what, 15 years? But It was a well deserved win!! They had quite a few turnovers but really came back. One of Highalnd’s top players rolled his ankle so I wish we could have seen the finish with him inter game. Another player was playing with a broke thumb but they kept trying!

It was one of the best sixman games I have ever watched!