|Eagles play game in tribute of Josh Biggerstaff|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Nov. 4, 2005 - COMO - With a somber week at Como-Pickton High School after the death of former athlete Josh Biggerstaff, the Eagles face their season finale against the Edgewood Bulldogs tonight in Edgewood.
"Our kids are really wanting to finish this season with a win and we have two purposes in this game," said third-year coach Joe Ryzman. "The first purpose is that this is a game that is a tribute to one of our former student athletes in Josh Biggerstaff. The other purpose is that last year our kids finished the regular season with a loss against Edgewood and this game is very important."
Both teams come into the game out of playoff contention and the winner will finish in fifth place in District 17-2A play with a 2-4 record. Edgewood is 5-4 overall, while CPHS is 3-6 overall.
In last year's game between the two schools, Biggerstaff threw for 92 yards on 7-of-16 passing and one interception in a game that determined playoff seeding, and Ryzman said a win would be very satisfying for the kids.
"For the two inspirational reasons that we are playing this game, it is going to be a very satisfying win for these kids in that it will be a win in our tribute to Josh and give the seniors and the starters of last year some satisfaction in knowing we got a win over Edgewood from the loss that we suffered last year," he said.
After finishing the 2004 season with a record of 8-3 overall and a bi-district round exit against Omaha Paul Pewitt, the Eagles were hoping for a repeat performance but Ryzman said the kids have had to handle a lot of adversity.
"The toughest part of any season for a coach is not having the success that you aspired to have at the beginning of each season. Coaching is not about the wins and losses, but teaching your kids life lessons and preparing them for the future and what they are going to encounter," the coach said. "We had to overcome the absence of key players, tragedies and set-backs this year and they are an opportunity for a coach to teach to your kids that they have to prepare and overcome adversity in any form or fashion each and every week."
With their regular season finale against Edgewood, Ryzman said one player in particular will have the eye of the Eagles defense throughout tonight's contest.
"Sam Buker. They have a running back that is outstanding and he was the 100-meter champion in our district last year and he is their star player," Ryzman said.
"They utilize him in many different forms and fashion and they don't just keep him at running back and try to out-run you. They will put him at receiver and throw to him and they will put him at slot back and try to do some reverse on you."
Ryzman said the defense will attempt to key on him and try to shut him down in hopes of getting win No. 4.
"You stop Buker by keying on Buker and our kids are aware of where he plays and how he plays and so we are going to make an attempt to shut him down," the coach said. "To say that Buker is their whole team is not an accurate statement because they have a very good defense and so our offense is going to be very challenged."
Ryzman said the best part of the season for him as the coach of the Eagles has been the way the Eagles have shown class with their wins and losses and it has shown throughout the school and community as well.
"They have never once in losses or facing adversity have gotten their heads down and they have been an inspiration to me and to the community because of their hard fought efforts on the field," the coach said.
The final week of the District 17-2A schedule has the Alba-Golden Panthers at the Grand Saline Indians while the Caddo Mills Foxes travel to the Lone Oak Buffaloes.
Notes: The Eagles will have memorial stickers on their helmets in honor of Biggerstaff during the game. ... Biggerstaff finished his senior season at CPHS with 310 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, while throwing for 800 yards on 45-of-97 passing with six touchdowns and seven interceptions. ... With a win against Edgewood, Ryzman will be 13-18 at CPHS and 46-29 since the 2000 season while coaching at Troup. ... Senior Ray Hayden is the leading rusher for the Eagles with 1, 519 yards on 168 totes and 22 touchdowns in seven games. ... This will be the final game for seniors Hayden, Trent Vail, Bo Baxter, Kaleb Mosley, Cameron Crump, Josh Telfer, Bryan Hicks and Clayton Humphrey.