Border Brawl: Lake Ridge vs Tulsa Union


Hunter Sanchez

The second annual Border Brawl takes place on Friday at Newsom Stadium.

36 to 30. Meaningless numbers in the game of life, but what is their value in the game of football? A couple touchdowns for each team and a couple more stops by each team. Was one team was better, or was one more prepared? To the people looking outside in, the numbers are simply that; numbers. But to the group of boys who have taken part of the long standing Texas tradition of high school football, those numbers are more than just numbers. They are motivators. They are a small part of the reason the Eagles’ football team stay long hours after an already exhausting school day to practice in the sweltering heat. They are why the boys push through injuries, dehydration, and exhaustion. 36 to 30. The final score in the 2018 Border Brawl. Though the loss was tough, that was last year and this is this year.

While the history of the battle between the Texas and Oklahoma teams is a short one, its length does not take away from the importance of the game. The Eagles look at it as an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the season. Assistant coach, Isaiah Allen, admits that while the loss last year was a difficult one, the team is that much more inspired to play well in their opening game for the rest of the season.

“We lost in a 36-30 game last year on the road in Tulsa and it was tough, but I think our players are more motivated this year to go out and perform well in the first game of the 2019 season,” Allen said.

Hunter Sanchez

Seemingly endless practices and watching film from previous games are just a couple of the most important factors in the Eagle’s journey to success in the upcoming season. The team’s preparation has remained, for the most part, consistent, even after their loss last year. The Eagles follows their motto to be 1-0 everyday and strives to do their best daily, according to assistant coach, Michael Smith.

“Not much has changed in our preparation. We talk about being 1-0 each day and being the absolute best we can be each and every time we prepare. While the game plan might be just a little different, our preparation stays the same: Be 1-0 every single day,” said Smith.

It is no secret that football plays a major part in Texas high school traditions. The game occupies the Friday nights of people across the state. For assistant coach, Robert Turley, the game offers an exciting opportunity to play against great athletes from a different state.

“The game itself is great because we get to compete against great players from a different state, but my greatest concern is just to help out players be the best they can be,” Turley said.

While the game is exciting in it of itself, it simply wouldn’t be the same without the atmosphere created by the fans that crowd the stadium eagerly waiting to cheer on their team. And a clash between two bordering states is something that the fans’ could not pass up. Assistant coach, James Whisenhunt, believes that the audience will be even more thrilled for this game.

“I think it’s exciting to see a team that they are not used to seeing and I think it creates a fun atmosphere of Oklahoma vs Texas,” said Whisenhunt.

While the game creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm for all who are watching, it also comes with a level of challenges, such as a sense of stress, for the team. However, nerves can be seen as a good thing. Coach Smith believes that the nerves create focus and adrenaline which can aid the team.

“Anytime it’s game day there are always some nerves that come around. I believe that it is a good thing, though, because that focus and adrenaline can help you as a player and a coach. Once opening kickoff happens and all the build up is over with we will be able to settle in and play Lake Ridge Football,” Smith said.

The Border Brawl is an exciting experience for everyone involved, from the fans to the coaches to the players. The lights, trick plays, and controversial calls create a feeling of suspense, the same feeling someone gets right before the big drop on a rollercoaster. Varsity football player, Cole Covington, admits he is looking forward to Friday’s game.

“Honestly I’m really excited because last year, the game was neck and neck the entire time. This year, we have different lineups so I think it’ll be an interesting game and a really great one,” said Covington.

Like practices and drills turn to games, nerves and exhaustion turn to eagerness and adrenaline. 36 to 30. Numbers from a game that is now long in the past. And while some people might look at the loss from last year as a way to determine the potential for this year’s Football team, the coaches and players apart of the team certainly don’t. The team refuses to dwell on the score and, instead, use it for motivation. The Eagles take on Tulsa Union, Friday, August 30, 2019.