Perhaps it was fitting that Dripping Springs’ final regular season game at Tiger Stadium Friday seemingly was ripped from a Hollywood movie script.
With a dominant 41-10 win over the Marble Falls Mustangs on senior night, the Tigers claimed a share of the 26-5A title with Alamo Heights and Boerne Champion. It marked the first district title for Dripping Springs, either shared or outright, since 1996.
The team and community celebrated the feat on the same night they bid adieu to a stadium that’s housed Tiger football since 1985.
But as the Tigers look ahead to Thursday’s bidistrict playoff game against Austin High at House Park, the Tiger players began to gather the gravity of their accomplishment.
“It’s got to be the most memorable thing to happen here for all of us. We’ve been playing here since … elementary school and middle school,” senior quarterback Reese Johnson said. “We thought we might be playing at the new stadium our senior year. But I think we’re all kind of glad we stayed here and got to close it out right.”
Tiger head coach Galen Zimmerman said the district title validated the work put in by the program so far this year. It also followed the team’s mantra of taking things one game at a time.
But inconsistency early on led to a slow start for the Tigers in the first quarter. Several penalties limited the Tiger offense, which finished by amassing 410 yards of offense.
Zimmerman said the Tigers were “a little sloppy” in the early going. Johnson attributed some of the struggles to the offense slowing down, along with some execution issues.
Dripping Springs took a 14-0 first quarter lead, which was then padded in the second frame via a 28-yard touchdown run by Johnson. Dripping Springs led 21-0 at halftime.
The Tiger offense slammed on the gas pedal in the third quarter, tallying an additional 17 unanswered points to take a commanding 38-0 lead.
Johnson led the way by rushing for 92 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing for 161 yards and a score in roughly three quarters of play. He was aided by running back Wesley Owens, who rushed for 65 yards and Teo Brinckmann’s 54 yard rushing effort.
While the Tiger offense didn’t change much at halftime, Johnson said they started “picking it back up” and stuck with what was working.
Dripping Springs’ defense helped matters by stifling Marble Falls offense for the majority of the game. Marble Falls was limited to 276 total yards. Mustang quarterback Andrew Stripling threw for 136 yards on the evening.
Zimmerman lauded his defense, which played to the Tigers’ game plan. Dripping Springs lone blemish was conceding ten points in the final frame of the game.
“Our kids knew how big the stage was and they wanted to go out playing well,” Zimmerman said.
The chance to close Tiger Stadium with five of Dripping Springs’ previous head football coaches in attendance was a humbling experience for Zimmerman. The ability to honor those who played at the stadium previously was his goal.
“I wanted to go out and play the right way,’ Zimmerman said. “Hopefully we did that and gave them a game to remember.”
The Tigers will play the bidistrict game Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. against Austin High at House Park