25 Days of Champions -- 2009 Borden County


Six-man expert

Yesterday we looked at the Division 1 2009 Garden City Bearkats and talked about the highest scoring game in state championship history. Today we will look at the team that won the Division 2 title earlier that same day at Shotwell in the LOWEST scoring game in six-man state title history, the Borden County Coyotes.

Borden County started the 2009 season on a 14-game win streak, having gone undefeated in 2008, and winning the Division 2 title. In that state game, they dominated Woodson, ending the game early on the mercy rule in the fourth quarter, 54-8. Head coach Trey Richey was in just his third year as a head coach and had received the coaches’ associations’ Coach of the Year honor in 2008. Coach Richey’s squad would be rich with talent once again in 2009, as the Coyotes returned five starters on both sides of the ball, including the DII all-state defensive player of the year, Flynn Chapman, 1st team all-state players QB Mile Valentine, C Derek Tatum, CB Karl Lamming and DII Player of the Year, running back Michael Cooley. To say the Coyotes were loaded with talent is an understatement and they deservedly entered the 2009 season ranked #1 in Division 2.

The highlight of the young season was a week one matchup against Division 1 powerhouse Richland Springs, in Trent on their relatively new turf field. The game was great, with Borden County edging out Richland Springs, 76-62, in the battle of the Coyotes.

Outside of the Richland Springs game, Borden County rolled through their schedule, with their closest game coming in their first district game against Buena Vista, which the Coyotes won 62-29.

In the playoffs, BC dominated their opponents; defeating Loop 62-6 in bi-district, Balmorhea 54-8 in area, Sands 86-36 in the quarterfinals, and Motley County 50-0 in the semis
For the state championship game this year, their opponent would be the mighty Highland Hornets.

Coached by legendary head coach Karry Owens and assistant coach Monte Richburg, Highland had dominated their schedule, goning 13-0, shutting out five opponents and allowing just 11 points a game. The Hornets 45ed their first 11 opponents before Woodson finally forced a full game in the quarterfinals, a game Highland won 72-43. In their semifinal game against Walnut Springs, the Highland defense picked off passes on five consecutive Walnut Spring possessions and won 74-38, to advance to the state title match with Borden County.

Both had very similar defensive schemes, with their main formations both being a 2-3 zone defense, and those defenses would be on full display at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.

State Championship Game – Saturday Dec. 12th 2:00pm in Shotwell Stadium, Abilene
It was a 2 p.m. kickoff time and a reported 8,000 fans were in attendance to watch what would turn out to be a defensive battle.

As the first quarter unfolded, it was clear that this would be a defensive struggle between two well-disciplined teams, with two coaching staffs who valued the importance of defensive strategy and play.

Highland would have the first possession of the game and on their second play completed a long pass, taking them down to the Borden County 10-yard line. In what would be a recurring theme in this game - superb red zone defense – Highland would be unable to score, facing a 2nd and goal from the eight-yard line. The two-man rush and zone secondary for Borden County forced a quick throw from Highland’s Jordan Basye, resulting in an interception.

The Coyotes first possession of the game was very similar to Highland. On their third play, Coyote running back Michael Cooley broke free on a long run that looked like a sure touchdown, but he ran into one of his own blockers down field, forcing him to cut back to the middle of the field. With a great pursuit angle, a Highland player was able to make a touchdown-saving tackle at the 11-yard line. With three straight run plays by Cooley, the Coyotes inched their way to the three. On fourth-and-goal, a dive by Cooley was stopped at the two for a turnover on downs.

Highland then proceeded to move the ball down filed with wel- executed run plays back into the Coyote’s red zone. But Borden County again held Highland and forced a fourth-and-long from the 19. Highland’s pass attempt fell incomplete, resulting in a turnover on downs.

The Coyotes, aided by a long pass and a big rushing gain by Cooley, moved the ball into the red zone once again. The first quarter ended with BC threating. The Coyotes continued to move the ball, all the way down to the two-yard line before, once again, Highland held them on downs.

Highland again moved the ball down field. The first score of the game final came over halfway through the second quarter, but it was a defensive touchdown. With 4:54 to go in the first half, Borden County’s Tony Soto intercepted a Highland pass and returned it 50 yards to finally break the ice. Coyote kicker Flynn Chapman’s PAT was good and Borden County took an 8-0 lead.

This time Highland didn’t miss the end zone. The Hornets responded quickly, scoring 52 seconds later on a four-yard pass from Jordan Basye to Tanner Marsh. Cameron Cox’s was good and the game was all tied up at 8.

With the final possession of the first half the Coyotes moved down the field, eating up the clock in the process. With 12 seconds left, they had the ball on the Highland 33. Then, when a busted pass play and a near sack forced the Borden County spread back Miles Valentine to run, h quickly raced to the Highland nine-yard line. A quick timeout with seconds left gave Borden County enough time for one more play before half. They set up for a very rare field goal attempts and Flynn Chapman nailed a 26-yarder, to give Borden county a 12-8 lead at halftime.

The defensive chess match continued in the second half with a couple of quick three-and-outs for both teams.

On the ensuing Borden County possession, the Coyotes marched the ball down the field, culminating in an eight-yard touchdown screen pass from Miles Valentine to Chapman, which capped off a 9-play 59-yard drive as the Coyotes led 20-8 with 4:54 left in the third.

Highland was then forced into a fourth-and-long situation on their next possession and elected to go for it. However, they threw an incomplete pass and turned the ball back over to the Coyotes at their own 24.

Borden County could not capitalize, however, as the Hornets’ defense answered the call, forcing the a turnover on downs of their own.

Highland’s next possession ended the same way, with a failure to convert on a fourth-and-long and the third quarter ended with Borden County holding a 20-8 lead and the ball, to start the final quarter.

The Hornets again stood tall and forced yet another turnover on downs. Highland drove downfield and scored on an amazing jump ball pass from Todd Mueller to Thomas Stewart in the corner of the end zone, as Stewart fought off a Coyote defender, who had simultaneously caught the pass, to gain possession of the ball. The PAT was blocked and Highland was now down 20-14 with 4:02 left in the game.

After a failed onside kick attempt, Borden County took over on their own 33. Their first play was a dive to Flynn Chapman, who broke through the line, shading tacklers by spinning and high kneeing his way out of a mosh pit of blockers and Highland defenders to break free and sprint 47 yards for what would ultimately be the final touchdown of this defensive battle. His PAT was good and Borden County led 28-14.

Highland, in what would be their final possession of the game, marched the ball down the field. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 12-yard line, Tony Soto picked off his second Highland pass and ran out of bounds at the four with less than two minutes to play in the game. The Coyotes ran out the clock and claimed their second-straight and third overall state championship.

This game had a ton of excitement, with long plays stopped by great defensive efforts, several red zone and goal line defensive stops, big hits, and touchdowns and scores in key moments. There were 18 offensive possessions and only five resulted in scores. The three interceptions by Highland proved too much to overcome in this defensive chess match between two of the best coaching staffs in six-man.

Highland’s offense out gained Borden County’s 334-312 and made more first downs as well, with 13 to BC’s 9. The Coyotes’ Flynn Chapman was by all accounts the player of the game, having scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, made all three of his PAT kicks and made a 26-yard field goal, scoring 22 of his team’s 28 points.

-Trey Richey was an assistant coach on the 1997 Borden County state championship team and the 1998 state runner-up team.
-This was the second state championship game a coach Karry Owens’ led team would play for, the first was the 2000 state game which Panther Creek won in dramatic fashion 42-36.
-It is worth noting that Trey Richey had won two state titles as a player at Jayton in 1984 and 1985, and both Kerry Owens and Monte Richburg won a state title in 1982 and were runner-up in 1980 at Highland as players.
-Flynn Chapman's field goal was and still is only the second made FG in a state championship game.  The first and longest made was a 42 yarder by Scott Gage of Whitharral in the 1981 state game against Mullin.