The Texas Stampede traveled to Phoenix Arizona this weekend to compete in the 2015-2016 Mountain Section tournament. The tournament which is a qualifier for the 2016 National Championship brought together some of the top talent in the USA. The chance to win and advance was on the line for the Texas squad.
A sloppy start in the opening game against Tucson, saw the Stampede struggle to find any rhythm. "We were not ready for them. We just came out cold and never got anything going" said Bryan Kirkland. The lack of mental and physical warm up was evident as the Stampede fell behind quickly and never managed to make a game of it. The renegades win the game going away by 17.
The second game of the Friday doubleheader was against in state opponent TIRR Texans. The Texans had played host the Phoenix Heat earlier and come away with a victory. They looked to capture 2 but the Stampede would answer the bell and come out with passion and purpose. "We really had a good start" said coach James Gumbert. The team held a 6 goal lead at the end of the first and built on it throughout the game using multiple lines and different defenses. The final was Texas 60 TIRR 46.
Saturday's matches would be the games that decided who would advance to Nationals. Up first would be the Phoenix Heat. The Team from Texas led behind Jeff Butler jumped out to a 5 point lead early and kept the pressure on. "We had a good game plan going into the match and the whole team was into it", said Butler. It truly was a team game as everyone played and saw minutes. The Stampede win 58 - 44.
With one game left in the tournament. The nod was given to veteran Reece Whittaker for the start. "I was excited to get the chance to come out and set the tone", said Whittaker. The match against UofA was a great chance for the depth of the team to step up and carry the team. Compton, Curtis, and Meredith all saw minutes and led the burnt orange to a 22 point victory.
Many thanks go out to all the families, friends and fans that have supported the team though the year. The Stampede will advance to the national championship for the 17th year. Follow the journey at www.fearthesteer.com and on Twitter @TexasStampede.