Lampasas running back Steven Jazdyk has struggled with injuries this season after being expected to help carry the Badgers’ rushing load. After missing several games and being used sparingly in others, the senior ran the ball 29 times for 298 yards and four touchdowns in a 58-57 overtime loss at Llano.
You received your first real action in a while, replacing Gary Spencer, who suffered a leg injury after already topping the 1,000-yard rushing plateau. What was that like?
It felt like my first time on varsity. Gary was hurt and I stepped into his spot and had three days to learn the full back position. It was nerve-wracking, but I just wanted to go out and give it everything I had.
What has it been like dealing with injuries this season?
It has been stressful. On the first play of the second game we had, I got a high ankle sprain, stretch out some tendons and tear the tissues between the bones in my leg, and it just drove me mad. They told me I’d be out at least two weeks, and I knew that was going to put a damper on my yardage situation. I wanted to break 1,000 yards, and with three games left I think I have about 500, so I’m not thrilled with the way its been going. My team has been battling injuries all year, and everyone has been trying to step into positions they’ve never played before. Its just a really new experience for everyone right now.
How frustrating has been to not have everyone healthy at one time?
It is just agonizing pain for us because we know if we had all of us in there (things would be different). In our first game against Smithville, they didn’t know who to stop. They didn’t know if they should stop me or Gary, and they couldn’t key in on either one of us because we were just taking huge chunks of yardage out of them. They’d try to stop Gary from going inside and up the middle. Then, they’d give it to me, and I’d bust on the outside. In that one game, we knew we were unstoppable because they couldn’t stop our run game no matter what they did. ... The intensity level on the field just dropped when our running backs got hurt because we run the ground-and-pound all the time. Our goal is to dominate the field and when you are missing a key player like me or Gary, its hurts us a little bit.
Cale Walker stepped up and rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Did you expect that?
He was my backup at the halfback position, so I knew he could do it and he’s filled in for me the past couple of games. He’s deadly quick with his cuts, but he’s just not as strong and can’t break tackles as well as we’d like him to. … Our word of the week was the Sioux word for bravery and being fearless. I told him that we had to give everything we had in this game. Gary was out. I was out of position. I was like, “You and me both have to have the game of our lives right here, and we’ve got to keep fighting until the end.” He did everything I asked him to. ... I was so proud of him.
On paper, despite coming up a little short, it looked like the team played a great game.
Yeah, the defense was having trouble with their passing. They were just tearing us up, but overall, our running game was unstoppable. It didn’t matter what we wanted to do, we could get it done. With three minutes left, we had to score, (head coach Brian Emerson) told us that this is where champions are made. … It was a 70-yard drive, and two plays later, I bust it down the sideline and got stopped at the 3-yard line. Then, (quarterback) Logan Irvin goes QB sneak into the end zone to tie it up and go into overtime, and that was just a thrill right there. Defense just couldn’t hold them. They drove down the field in overtime, kicked it and in three plays we were (in the end zone). We didn’t know if we were going for two points or one. It started raining, the wind started picking up and the storm started coming in. Then coach came in and made the call that we were going for two, and we came up two yards short.
What has to happen to end the season strong, starting with Friday’s game against Brownwood?
We need to play like we did against China Spring when the defense and offense showed up to play football. We were rolling on all cylinders, firing and going and giving 100 percent effort. We just need that again — that spark. Brownwood has been giving up an average of 44 points. If our defense can stop them, I know for a fact our offense can put up more points than that.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org