Big Sandy Pioneers fall to Hot Springs 36-19


September 8, 2021

With the Hot Springs game going into a holiday weekend, no Live Stream and not being able to attend the game myself it was hard to catch up with anyone to get stats but I was lucking enough to be able to interview one of the team captains Rusty Gasvoda, which I must say was an absolute pleasure.

Gasvoda said he felt that the Pioneers had a much better experience than they had against #2 ranked White Sulphur last week. Against Hot Springs they got off to a slow start and couldn't get much going offensively but their defense did great which according to Gasvoda " This was a big change from our last game. Our defense did a lot better, but our offense couldn't get rolling and we couldn't seem to get the ball into the end zone. I still think this game was a better one because in the fourth quarter when were down by two touchdowns we battled our way back and scored. That's something we didn't do against White Sulphur. We hung our heads and lost momentum, but we kept battling through this game."

The final score was 36-19 but Gasvoda felt good about their showing. They went into the game without a key player Kody Strutz, who had a conclusion, and when they lost Wiley Snap also a key player, to an injury they battled on through. When asked if he felt the Pioneers were a mentally strong team that could push on through in face of errors, lost players and other unknowns that can happen in a season he immediately responded with an empathic "yes". and I quote.

"Yes, after the White Sulphur game I thought a lot of us, including me, were weak mentally but this Hot Springs game changed my mind on that. I thought we kept our heads the whole time. We were all encouraging everybody and when one of our best players, Wiley Snap went down and broke his arm we got back in and kept going. We filled in well. It was good to see how we could adjust, and we scored late in the game with Freshman and Sophomores who hadn't plaed much at all but came in and did good."

Gasvoda plays both offensively and defensibly and when asked which position he likes best he was quick to respond "Linebacker.... defense is my favorite side of the ball to be on. I like to be the arrow not the target. I like to hunt down the ball." And now we know.

After my interview with Rusty I was fortunate enough to catch up with Assistant Coach Tucker Tayler who, when asked if he had anything he'd like to say about this year's team, texted me the following. "We are a young team but very talented. Our boys have played hard and been competitive the first couple weeks. We've come up short in our first two games against teams ranked in the top five. We're still figuring things out as a younger group that haven't experienced playing all the time throughout the course of the game. I think we've seen a lot of good things in the first two weeks but also a ton to improve on going forward. I think we got a great chance of winning the Northern Division again this year."

If the whole team has the same opinion and attitude as of these two it sounds like we have some great games to look forward to this season.


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