Keller was set to kick off the 2014 football season in the heat of the Midland afternoon on Thursday. Instead, the Indians were forced off the field due to lightning and didn’t get underway until about 7 p.m.
The Indians then experienced almost every nuance of football. And unfortunately, they experienced a tough 28-26 loss to Midland Lee at Grande Communications Stadium.
They returned a kickoff and a fumble for scores, intercepted passes, completed a pass after a high punt snap to convert a first down and played the first half without a game clock.
“Everything that can happen in a high school football game, happened,” said Keller head coach Carl Stralow. “We just couldn’t overcome the mistakes. Lee is a very good football team and we had them a couple of times. It was a heck of a high school football game.”
When Keller’s Caleb Griffin connected with Cameron Johnson for a 36-yard scoring pass with just under three minutes remaining in the game and trailing by one, Griffin’s two-point pass attempt was intercepted.
Earlier in the game, Garrett Blubaugh snagged an errant Lee option pitch and ran into the end zone from 11 yards out. That score knotted the score at 7-7.
Johnson had also returned the second half kickoff back 87 yards to put Keller up 14-7.
Tyler Tutt scored the other Keller touchdown, but a missed extra point had Keller trailing 21-20.
After Lee scored late in the fourth quarter, new starting quarterback Griffin led Keller down the field, culminating in the scoring pass to Johnson.
Stralow said Blubaugh had an outstanding game. In addition to his interception and fumble return, he had double-digit tackles.
Tyler Tutt did a good job in his first varsity start in the Keller backfield, Stralow said. “He had some good runs and catches,” he said.
“I’m extremely proud of how we played,” Stralow said. “It’s tough to drive 325 miles from home but we’re coming home a better football team. I just wish we would have won.”
When Keller got out on the field to warm up at 3:15 p.m. for the 4:30 p.m. kickoff, it was over 100 degrees on the field. Lightning forced the two teams into the locker rooms for a several-hour delay. The game concluded about 10 pm.
Keller committed three turnovers in the first half, promting Stralow to say there are still plenty of areas to work on. “And we’ll start to work tomorrow,” he said.
Keller will host Flower Mound on Friday at Keller ISD Stadium at 7:30 pm.