The Texas Stampede took home third place over the weekend at the Demolition Derby in Birmingham Alabama. The squad led behind newcomers Alex Pabon, Josh Brewer and Jared Compton finished the invitational with a 4-1 record. "We had a good weekend with lots of improvements. It shows that hard work and determination pays off" said Pabon.
Texas took two games on Friday from Shepherd and Minnesota utilizing their bench and new line play. "We leaned on Compton in game 1 as Brewer was being classified" said coach James Gumbert. Brewer would be the lead in Game 2 as his new line started to gel and take shape. "It is always a challenge to get a new group to find their way on the court", said Gumbert, however the group through communication and trust showed signs of promise in the two wins.
Day two would be the best test of the season to date. Texas would square off against defending national champions Phoenix Heat. The game was a tale of two halves. In the first half the score was just a 2 point lead for the Heat. "We played really well", said Gumbert. And with the late arrival of Pabon, the game offered still another line to develop. "We were pleased to see the hi/low line give us quality minutes" said Gumbert.
However the team did not hold it together and fell behind in the third by four. The game would get away from them in the fourth with the final score Phoenix 47 Texas 40.
In The afternoon game, Texas played a methodical Tampa General squad. Because the demolition derby had a different crossover, the stampede would not get a chance to play the best team in Pool B. This game however would mean the winner would advance to the 3-4 game.
Texas started the game strong live behind a stingy defense and a up-tempo offense. "The team really seemed to find its stride when we played Tampa", said staff member Bob Bobo Murray. The team jumped up to a three point lead in the first quarter led behind low pointers Landon Groff and Jeff Butler, and never really looked back. "We really seem to find our groove in the Tampa game" agreed Gumbert.
The final game of the weekend for Texas had the stampede playing against the St. Louis rolling Rams. St. Louis led by assisted USA coach Sue Tucker featured USAWR athletes Eric Newby and Chuck Melton. The stampede knew they would have their hands full with this heartland powerhouse.
From the tip both teams went back-and-forth fighting for each goal. Both teams went to their bench quickly in the first quarter with substitutions. The Stampede elected to go with a Hilow against St. Louis's more balanced line. The strategy worked as Texas was able to achieve a two point lead at half time. "We really wanted to be able to put the pressure on them early and build a lead" said coach Gumbert
The second half saw St. Louis battle back with new lines and revitalized energy. "They were throwing everything they had at us and to their credit we were trying to hold off to a rally from them". In the end the stampede leaned on Kirkland and Schacherbauer to solidify the team and withstand the challenge and come away in third place. The final Texas 54-44.
The weekend was a great tournament for the stampede with growth by all members in attendance. We look forward to getting back on the court this weekend and correcting the errors that we made. A huge thanks to all of our families and friends and a special thanks to the Lakeshore demolition for hosting a great event. More information go to www.fearthesteer.com.