Martinez

Luke Martinez lofts a pass downfield.

During my two years at the Kerrville Daily Times, I have covered 30 high school football games — and yes, I really did go back and count. I can confidently say that Friday’s contest at Battlin’ Billies Stadium offered the best atmosphere of the 30.

Approximately 6,000 fans attended Tivy’s 42-35 win over Fredericksburg. Tivy’s fans were terrific. They filled the visiting bleachers 30 minutes before kickoff and lined the fences around the end zone. They manufactured noise when the Antlers were on defense, and vigorously booed whenever they didn’t agree with an officiating decision. The Antlers’ marching band and Golden Girls were also terrific, delivering fans an electric halftime performance.

Overall, Friday’s environment served as a reminder of why we love high school football so much: The sport gives us nights that we remember for the rest of our lives.

The Antlers survived this emotional cauldron with their first win of the season. Were they perfect in the win? Absolutely not. Should the game have been that close? Eh, probably not. The Antlers squandered several opportunities in the first half to seize a two-possession lead. That almost cost them when the defense suffered several injuries in the second half.

But in the end, the Antlers prevailed against a bitter rival in front of a raucous crowd. They still have plenty of issues they need to address before district play (more on that later), but a win in that environment should definitely help their confidence moving forward.

“It’s a huge win for us just for our confidence alone,” Tivy coach David Jones said. “We needed it. Our kids worked and played their guts out.”

Tivy’s win wasn’t the only highlight from the Hill Country on Friday night. Here are five storylines from last week’s slate of football games.

FIRST QUARTER: MARTINEZ INJURY

Perhaps the biggest piece of news Friday occurred an hour away in Bulverde, when Our Lady of the Hills’ quarterback Luke Martinez suffered a serious arm injury and had to be transported to a hospital during OLH’s 62-30 loss to Bulverde Living Rock. The official diagnosis was a broken radius in Martinez’s left forearm, likely sidelining him for the remainder of the season.

His injury is devastating news. Martinez loves playing football, and also loves OLH. He was the Hawks’ ball boy when he was 7 years old, and transferred from Harper to OLH so he could play for his dad, the Hawks’ assistant head coach.

The Hawks also had a chance to excel offensively with him at quarterback. In fact, OLH coach Chris Ramirez admits he based his offensive scheme around Martinez. Now, he has to restructure his offense before the Hawks’ next home game on Sept. 20 against Medina.

Still, there’s no reason to press the panic button just yet. The Hawks have the athletes to have a great season. They just need to find someone to replace Martinez at quarterback.

Senior Cody Davis played the position after Martinez’s injury on Friday. He didn’t have many quarterback reps during the preseason, but still managed to connect with William Cummings twice for touchdowns. The good news for OLH? He will have two weeks to prepare to be the Hawks’ starting quarterback.

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