ARLINGTON, Texas — When talking Texas football – heck, when talking Texas anything – the subject of size leaps front and center.
Mass does matter in Texas.
No more evidence needed than Monday’s Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series presented by Burger King but devoured by the new and massive $1.2-billion Cowboys Stadium.
That’s right, a high school event at the biggest and brightest and most talked-about sports facility in the – let’s not mince words here, folks – universe.
“When I first walked in here, I about fell over,” said Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) receiver Kenneth Boggs, a smallish but strong lightning bug of a back who scored three touchdowns in his team’s surprisingly lopsided 37-7 win over Klein Oak (Spring, Texas). “It was like, ‘Oh my God.’ My eyes got real big. I mean, it’s just indescribable.”
Highly-touted Bingham (Utah) back Harvey Langi gave it a whirl.
“Huge, bright, amazing,” he said.
Said Trinity (Euless, Texas) senior quarterback Willie Hubbard: “Wow. Just wow.”
The two magnificent arches that support the retractable roof, 292 feet above the field, will wow you. Each arch-box truss is 17 feet wide by 35 feet deep and weighs 3,255 tons.
The much-ballyhooed and publicized 72-foot tall video board with more than 25,000 square feet of video display extends from 20-yard line to 20-yard line. The video board assembly weighs 1.2 million pounds.
It cost $40 million to install and to be risen from its current 90 feet from the field – NFL punters have been booming the ball regularly into the scoreboard - and will cost another $2 million. (By the way, none of the prep punters came close to booming the ball into the scoreboard.)
“There were times I’d be on the sideline staring at the scoreboard instead of the play on the field,” admitted Trinity junior standout Tevin Williams, who rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-21 win over Bingham. “It was hard not to look at.”
Despite his team’s disappointing loss and overall play, Bingham coach David Peck said it took nothing away from the overall experience.
“It was unbelievable for our kids,” he said. “We knew Trinity was going to be a load coming in. It would have been easier to say I don’t want this game, but we knew the kids would have an experience they would remember for the rest of their lives.
“It was huge.”
Just like everything else.
More fact, fun and observation from Monday’s gigantic event:
Pot or the kettle: Texas coaches say the funniest things in the most eloquent of ways. Take, for instance, Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver, when asked about his impressions of Bingham.
“I was surprised just how big they were,” he said. “They had linebackers playing cornerback. I didn’t see any children out there. They had grown men.”
With 300-pound linemen like Brandon Taukeiaho and Tuni Januch, the Miners are indeed stout. They sport 12 players who weigh 235 pounds or more. Unfortunately for Bingham, Trinity almost doubled that amount with 22 players at least 235, including highly touted offensive lineman Isi Cocker (6-2, 299). The team's size and passion really came to light during pre- and postgame Haka ceremonies.
The second-biggest squad under those parameters was Klein Oak (19). The smallest team, Notre Dame (the highest-ranked squad), had just six. Boggs epitomizes Notre Dame’s small-but-mighty edge.
“I don’t think size has anything to do with how you play,” Boggs said. “It’s all in the heart and how hard you’re willing to work and sacrifice.”
Boggs, who rushed 13 times for 76 yards and scored on runs of 9, 13 and 1 yards, is certainly stout in the upper thighs. According to the Notre Dame coaching staff, he can squat more than 500 pounds.
The Knights aren’t all scrawny by any means, as the trio of Ben Gottschalk (6-5, 265), Daniel Munyer (6-3, 275) and Tyler Sulka (6-5, 280) are all being recruited by Division I colleges.
More specimens: Bingham’s Kanuch, who has already committed to BYU, benches more than 400 pounds and squats 615. … MacArthur quarterback Jason Frimpong is only 5-10, 180 but he can bench press 300 pounds. … Klein Oak senior linebacker Demetrius Gilliam (5-11, 210) can squat more than 550 pounds. He’s got an offer from UTEP. … Klein Oak also boasts one of the most physically imposing safeties in 6-3, 225-pound Luke Muncie, who has already committed to LSU.
More quotes: Klein Oak coach David Smith couldn’t have been more cordial after a very disappointing loss. Instead of focusing on his own team’s failures, he kept complimenting Notre Dame, particular quarterback Ryan Kasdorf, who completed 17-of-26 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns.
“He throws as catchable of a ball as you’ll ever see,” Smith said. “The smoothness with which he throws just makes you want to catch it.
“Got to give the boy some credit; he’s a real good player. I enjoyed watching him.” Smith caught what he just said and delayed a second. “Somewhat.”
More Kasdorf: The reigning Gatorade California Player of the Year, Kasdorf could do no wrong, highlighted by the second-quarter 72-yard run for a touchdown after taking a lateral by Tyler Thomas. He was actually credited with a 72-yard completion to himself, a statistical oddity to be sure.
“Can’t say I’ve ever done that before,” Kasdorf said.
Besides his passing, catching and running, Kasdorf’s most impressive play may have come in the second quarter when, on a broken screen pass to the left, Boggs cut all the way across the field. Kasdorf made a huge block cutting down a defensive lineman, springing Boggs for a 30-yard gain.
One big problem, however: Notre Dame was called for illegal motion, wiping out the big gain, the giant effort and terrific block.
“To be honest, I slipped and that caused me to chop him down,” Kasdorf said. "Whatever it takes."
Notre Dame coach Kevin Rooney, in his 30th year with the Knights, wasn’t surprised by Kasdorf’s imitation of a young Brett Favre on the block.
Kasdorf, after all, started his playing days in Pop Warner as an offensive lineman.
“He’s just an athlete and a player,” Rooney said. “He definitely doesn’t have to be the star quarterback. He’d be a hell of a safety or whatever else he wanted to play. He’s just a tough kid and he always wants to win.”
No rest for the dreamy: Playing in the Herbstreit Series presented some setbacks for Trinity, which returned just two starters from last year’s sensational 13-1 team that many thought would win the Trojans’ third state title of the decade.
Trinity was perhaps the last team in the state to start the season, which didn’t bode well for Lineweaver considering his team’s inexperience.
Furthermore, opening with Bingham, which came in No. 19 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, didn’t allow the Trojans to exactly ease into the season.
And lastly, perhaps most importantly, Trinity now has only five days to prepare for its next home game with the state’s top-ranked 5A team, Cedar Hill, ranked among the top 15 nationally in every poll. To all of it, Lineweaver said phooey.
“We didn’t care about all that,” he said. “We wanted to play at Cowboys Stadium that bad.”
Class Harvey: Langi, considered by some as the top junior tailback in the country, had a rough day.
He dropped a pair of important on-the-mark passes. He rushed for a measly 52 yards on 13 carries, and never busted one for even 10 yards. His team was defeated soundly.
Adding salt into the wound, his junior running back counterpart Williams went off for a career day, stealing Langi’s thunder. Yet, after several interviews, one last reporter straggled into the Bingham locker room and asked for one last set of questions.
Exhausted and disappointed in defeat, Langi, an absolutely thoroughbred at 6-2 and 220 pounds, manned up and said: “Sure. No problem.”
He called the reporter “sir” and gave the following responses:
“I didn’t play well. We didn’t make enough big plays, and it hurts to lose. But just being able to travel here as a team and bond at this beautiful place is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
About Trinity: “They were top-notch and classy in all areas. They were not only fast and big but really disciplined. I was impressed.”
About Williams: “He’s a great runner. He’s always moving forward. I have great respect for him.”
About his team and how they will respond: “We’ll get better because of this. I wouldn’t trade any of my teammates or coaching staff for anyone in the country. We’ll be back next week.”
As will we.
MitchMash appears weekly at MaxPreps.com. E-mail national columnist Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org.