The Stampede kicked off action today at the Cougar Cup in Houston Texas. The Stampede anchored by 3.0 Mason Symons faced mountain section opponent the Denver Harlequins. Denver coached by hall of famer Brad Mickelson presented a formidable task for the young Texas side. "We really had our work cut out for us" said coach James Gumbert.
The game started with a flurry and the Stampede jumped to a 4 point lead. "It was a good way to begin" said Gabe "Surehands" Garcia. All seemed to be going well until Denver's "D" put a hit on the Captain Shawn Meredith. "We had to sub Shawn" said Gumbert. With that sub newcomer Ben "Lineman" Waker got the early call to step up.
Rookie moments and unforced errors allowed Denver to even the match and eventually take a 5 point lead into the 3rd. Enter a rejuvenated and driven Captain Meredith. His return saw the Stampede go on a 11-3 run and helped the team move back to a 4 point lead. "Masons and Shawn's D was really clicking" said Gumbert, "their play was a big difference in that 3rd quarter".
In the fourth the steady play or Daniel Curtis helped the Stampede maintain the margin of separation. "Everyone contributed and helped us finish out the game" said Gumbert. Fan favorite Reece "Goose" Whittaker came in to close out a solid victory. Texas 44 Denver 40.
The afternoon match was against host TIRR Texans. The Texans had divided into 2 teams to add games and competition to the tournament and this was the A team. The Stampede came out with the line of Symons, Meredith, Curtis and Garcia. "Our goal was to play each play without care of score or calls" said Gumbert. The team responded and played a clear top D2 team to two points at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter saw the Stampede come off track and struggle to put points up on the board. "We couldn't execute", said Gumbert. "Houston is a well coached team and their defense really stepped up in the 2nd and put us in a few tough spots". The score at half TIRR 26 Texas 16.
The second half was a big learning half for Waker and Whittaker. And while the score would never reflect it, valuable experience was gained that will propel the future of the team tomorrow and beyond. The Stampede loose to TIRR 32-51.
The Stampede will be back up tomorrow at 9am. For more information go to www.fearthesteer.com.