Sonora walked into Ballinger undefeated last Friday on Ballinger’s Senior night and left with an improved mark, winning 57-3. Ballinger fought much as they could, but despite some early successes they were never able to capitalize. As the game drug on the score got further out of reach for the Bearcats. Though the Bearcats never quit, there was little they could do to slow down the 5th ranked Sonora Broncos.
The Ballinger Senior class is one that dominated on the football field during their 7th and 8th grade years. Going into High School they had high expectations placed upon them. An 8th Grade final score win of 50-0 against Sonora had been completely flipped in the years since. As a community we can learn something from what this team has been through this season.
Senior Jace King has been on varsity since he was a freshman. In that time the three time, and likely four time, All-District performer has seen three different athletic directors along with multiple offensive and defensive coordinators as well as countless assistants.
On the flip side of the field in Sonora, David Sine, after a short time away spent two years in his second stint at Sonora before hiring Defensive Coordinator Jeff Cordell from within the program this season. The Mason Punchers have had Kade Burns coaching since 2011. Comanche has had Stephen Hermesmeyer since 2012. Houston Guy has been with the Wall Hawks since 2008.
Up and down the list of successful programs within the state you will find next to it a stable coaching situation. Many of those coaches did not start out with the best programs, but they made them. A volatile situation, where instead of only having to focus on improving the players are year in and year out having to learn a completely different system, does not allow people to thrive. Consistency and continuity allows momentum to build and systems to grow. Having patience while Lipsey and his staff work will allow the Bearcats to thrive.
This season Ballinger has had possibly one of the most difficult schedules in all of 3A football. Facing top teams in the state in 2A D1 #2 ranked Mason, 3A D2 #5 ranked Sonora and 3AD1 #6 ranked Comanche. Ballinger was thrown into the fire with little to prepare them for the season ahead. “It is going to be great once this season is over to be able to have an offseason with these kids. We didn’t have a spring and most of the coaches didn’t meet their players until two-a-days. This year will be very different.” stated Coach Chuck Lipsey. “I’m looking forward to what we can do with a full offseason to work with these kids.”
Ballinger travels to Alpine for the final game of the regular season. The game will determine either a third or fourth place finish for the Bearcats and the game of Eastland @ Cisco will determine who Ballinger will face in the first week of the playoffs. Regardless of matchup it looks like the Bearcats will be playing at Gordon Wood Stadium in Brownwood on Thursday November 16th.
“We have won all of the games we were supposed to win,” Lipsey said “what I really wanted to do this year was win a couple that we weren’t supposed to.” With two more games remaining for the Bearcats, the chance remains.