The Boyd Broncos (8-2) face the Skyline Raiders (10-0) this Friday in Richardson in the Area Round of the 2011 Texas High Sschool football playoffs. A yearly visit to the playoffs has become the “norm” for the Broncos as they head into the playoffs for the fourth time in their six years of existence.
Head Coach Don Drake, who has led the Broncos since the school opened in 2007, has high praise and respect for their opponent.
“Skyline is very talented; they are big offensively and defensively! They are fast and athletic at every position, it’s going to be a good game”
Drake’s sincere praise does not stop with this week’s opponent. He knows his Broncos are pretty special as well.
“Although we didn’t reach our goal of being district champs this year, we were able to match last year’s 8-2 record. We are very impressed with our kids’ intensity….they are very coachable. We as coaches have challenged this team to follow success with success. They have met this challenge.”
Listening to Drake talk about this week’s game one gets the impression that Friday’s game will be truly special, as both 5A teams have enough marquee players to turn this game into an instant classic. Throughout the year, Boyd fans have to come to know Bronco headliners such as offensive weapon Bryan Driskell (RB) as well as defensive stalwarts Jamal Palmer (DE) and Jackson Dennis (DT) to name just a few. However, it is ironic that Boyd’s success this Friday quite literally rests in the hands of one of the least heralded group of players on the team, the offensive line.
Seniors Matt Lueke (RT), Jacob Hill (LT), Tobeechi Oleru (LG) as well as Juniors Alex Shaheen (RG) and Rafael Serrano (Center) make up the offensive line that is coached by Coach Bryan Murphy.
In describing the effectiveness of the offensive line Drake points out that the line has great camaraderie and although they do not get mentioned much during the game, they are the main reason the Broncos have the district’s top rushing offense. He points to guard, Tobeechi Oleru, who at 5’8” and 165 lbs is small by 5A standards, but is a cornerstone on the line with his scrappy, inspired play week after week.
At center Rafael Serrano is the anchor of the line. Serrano is a two year starter who was named 2nd Team All-District as a sophomore last year. He was a Guard last year but was moved to Center for this season.
Drake calls Serrano “..a great leader on the line, he knows everyone’s responsibility and recognizes the defensive fronts.”
Serrano sums up his feelings about the line’s lack of public attention.
“We all kind of know that during the game our names will not be called, but that doesn’t bother us because we know that Coach Murphy knows how we are doing and that makes it all worth it. Coach Murphy is the hardest, meanest coach ever, but no one will love us or watch our back more than him!
The passion and faith Serrano displays is not limited to Coach Murphy. “We have some very dedicated, great coaches who will have a good plan for us. I have no doubt that they will have us ready for Friday!”
It is obvious that Serrano and his line mates have a lot to say, however they know that their role on Friday night is to carry out their coaches’ plan to the best of their ability, despite the likelyhood that none of their names will grace the game announcers lips.
Friday evening’s game promises to be a hard fought game and many players will be called out for their special play throughout the game. As you sit in the stands, just know that it is also the players whose name you don’t hear who will have the Broncos “LINED UP” for victory.
By TSB contributing writer, and former football coach, Harvey Oaxaca