A Quarter for Your Thoughts

Three games. Three starting quarterbacks. During the course of three weeks, head varsity football coach Howard McMahan dipped into his
reserves twice as injuries plagued the offense.

In the season opener against Fredericksburg, Sept. 7, the Cougars suffered a major loss when senior Josh Hernandez tore his ACL in the
fourth quarter. This is the second year Hernandez has suffered an injury on the
varsity starting lineup.

“I guess football just wasn’t meant to be. I kept working hard [in the off season], kept saying to myself I wouldn’t get hurt this year,
but it just happened,” Hernandez said. “I just have to roll with it and keep

Senior Darius Darks stepped in as quarterback to finish the Fredericksburg game. Darks scored a 6-yard touchdown and the defense held the
Billies to one touchdown, leading the team to a 16-6 win.

“When Josh went down, everyone felt bad,” said senior lineman Sean Zarsky, who has played center for all three quarterbacks. “Luckily, Darius
was good enough to lead us back to the win. We dealt with the hand that was
given to us and we pulled through.”

In the following week’s game against Killeen Ellison, it seems lightning would strike twice as Darks was injured in the game’s fourth
quarter. Third-string quarterback Jake Wertz was forced to step into the
quarterback role.

“I feel good about my role on the team. There is some pressure though, being a sophomore and having to go lead a team full of
potential college athletes,” Wertz said. “This team has big expectations, like
winning district and even a state championship. But, I also feel that I know
the offense well enough to go and run it on Friday nights at that level.”

While the offense struggled against the Eagles, eventually losing 20-3, the Cougars fared better in their final non-district game, Sept.
20. With Wertz at the helm, the team put 21 points on the board, falling to the
Killeen Kangaroos by a touchdown.

“A lot of people didn’t know how Jake would do with him being so young and still starting on varsity, but he did really well,” Darks said. “A loss is a loss, but we
definitely knew we had something to build on for the future.”

The Cougars quickly bounced back with their district opener against Dripping Springs, Sept. 28. With two touchdown passes from Wertz and
three field goals from junior Matt Seeman, the Cougars slipped past the Tigers,
23-21. Seeman’s effort has played a significant role in the final outcomes this
season, with the junior contributing 29 points from field goals in only five

“I think I have been a major contribution to the team,” Seeman said. “But I couldn’t have done it without my offensive line blocking
and protecting me with enough time to get the ball up and through the

With their first district win, the Cougars looked to continue their success at home this past Friday in the Homecoming game against Marble
Falls. Junior Brandon Ndubuisi’s 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the
ground gave the Cougars a win over the Mustangs, 14-7. This was the 10th
Homecoming win for the Cougars, who have never lost a Homecoming game.

“It was disappointing because we should have won by more,” senior Manuel Amaya said. “But it was rather lovely to keep the tradition

While the Cougars are 2-0 in district and 3-2 overall, McMahan realizes the team still needs more work if they are going to compete
for a district championship.

“We’re excited about the district race,” McMahan said. “This was a big win for us because it put us at 2-0 in district and gave us a lot of
momentum. But we have to continue to get better every day by eliminating the
mistakes we made [against Dripping Springs and Marble Falls] like giving up big
plays and turnovers. We still have work to do if we want to compete for a
district championship.”

Overall, McMahan says the team feels good about the direction they are headed.

“We’re playing really hard right now and that’s why we’re winning ball games,” McMahan said. “If we keep playing with energy and emotion,
we’ll continue to play well and win games.”

The varsity team travels to Burnet today to play the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m.

“I think we have a really good shot at a [district] championship,” McMahan said. “Burnet is going to be a key game because they
have a good team this year. All in all, we’re taking [the season] one game at a

-Staff reporters Matt Parr and Shannon Dolan also contributed to this story.

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