The Saginaw Boswell football team thrives on rejection.
Always surprising and often a game-changer, blocked kicks have become a point of pride for the Pioneers. They have seven this season.
“Every chance I have to block something, I’ll go as hard as I can and as fast as I can, and go get it,” said senior nose guard Kyrese McFarland, who leads the team with four blocks.
“The kids are dialed in and love to create havoc,” adds Boswell head coach John Abendschan.
Boswell special teams have blocked three punts, three field goals, and an extra-point kick.
“You win games at a higher percent of the time when you block a kick,” said Abendschan, whose Pioneers happen to be 7-0 overall and 4-0 in District 6-5A.
“We put a huge emphasis on special teams,” he adds. “We have kids that make it important. They want to succeed and be great at it.”
McFarland uses impressive upper-body strength and a low center of gravity – he stands 5 feet, 11 inches and weighs 225 pounds – to break through the offensive lines.
“From the beginning of the season, I had a goal sheet that said three blocks,” McFarland said.
“Kyrese wants to make plays whether it’s nose guard or special teams,” Abendschan added.
Boswell running backs coach Wes Weaver picked up special teams responsibilities this season because assistant coach Jeremy Mullins got the head coaching job at Tolar.
“Coach Mullins started our plan and I kind of stepped into the spot and kept the train going,” Weaver said. “It was a bit of a challenge but I wanted to do this.”
Weaver’s other line crashers include junior defensive end Terrance Wair – who has two blocks – and senior linebacker Malik Hubbard – who has one.
“Personally, I focus on my technique and getting through gaps,” Wair said. “We work hard and do a good job at executing the plays. Coach Weaver and coach Abendschan work hard at emphasizing that.”
Boswell has turned those blocks into 33 points: four touchdowns, one field goal and two points on a blocked extra-point attempt.
“If you can take advantage of it, it increases your odds of winning greatly,” Abendschan said. “To me every snap can change the game – it creates points or turnovers and our kids understand that it takes three phases to win and they’re getting better every week.”
McFarland made the biggest block of the season in Boswell’s 25-23 victory at White Settlement Brewer on Oct. 13. Senior receiver and cornerback Breshun Berry scooped up the loose ball and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown and 10-point swing.
“It fired up our entire sideline,” Abendschan said.
“We do our best on special teams,” Berry added. “We put the best guys out there and we just make plays.”
Sophomore cornerback John Diaz was the other Pioneer to score. He returned the blocked extra point 91 yards in Week 1 against Burleson Centennial.
“We put these kids in position, and they execute,” Abendschan said. “We try to be good at it and so far we’ve been fortunate.”
The Pioneers visit winless Saginaw in the Battle of the Wagon Wheel, 7 p.m. Friday, then it’s two-win Saginaw Chisholm Trail. The regular season ends at home against top-ranked Aledo on Nov. 10.
Expect Boswell to continue the emphasis special teams.
“You block a kick, you give yourself a chance,” Abendschan said.
GOSSET’S WEEK 9 PREDICTIONS
(winners in bold)
Keller vs. Timber Creek
Arlington vs. Paschal
Byron Nelson vs. Carroll
Sam Houston vs. Mansfield
Birdville vs. Dunbar
Carter-Riverside vs. Richland
Polytechnic vs. Eastern Hills
Central vs. Fossil Ridge
Weatherford vs. Haltom
Lamar vs. Bowie
North Crowley vs. Martin
Lewisville vs. LD Bell
Flower Mound vs. Marcus
Trinity vs. Hebron
Aledo vs. Brewer
Azle vs. Eaton
Boswell vs. Saginaw
Arlington Heights vs. Trimble Tech
Western Hills vs. North Side
YMLA vs. South Hills
Grapevine vs. Colleyville Heritage
Burleson vs. Cleburne
Granbury vs. Centennial
Seguin vs. Crowley
Joshua vs. Everman
Legacy vs. Lake Ridge
Red Oak vs. Lancaster
Midlothian vs. Summit
Timberview vs. Waxahachie
Castleberry vs. Springtown
Diamond Hill-Jarvis vs. Lake Worth
Mineral Wells vs. Kennedale
Alvarado vs. Pinkston
Carter vs. Midlothian Heritage
Benbrook vs. Venus
Godley vs. Glen Rose
Hillsboro vs. Waxahachie Life
Brock vs. Bowie
Nolan Catholic vs. Addison TC
Covenant vs. Coram Deo
Pantego Christian vs. Grace Prep
Fellowship Academy vs. Temple Christian
Legacy Christian vs. Southwest Christian
FW Christian vs. Grapevine Faith
TAC vs. Oakridge
Trinity Valley vs. St. Andrew’s
Calvary Christian vs. WP Trinity Christian
Chisholm Trail vs. Northwest
Southwest vs. Wyatt
Last week: 42-8
Season: 293-110 (72.7 winning percentage)