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September 26, 2011Sometimes it's just your night.
Starting early and scoring often, Pawnee City senior quarterback Garrett Borcher torched Sterling for eight rushing touchdowns and passed for two more - a total of 10 touchdowns on the night - as the Indians claimed an 88-40 victory against Sterling.
In the process he further enhanced his reputation as one of Class D2's best players and also restated Pawnee City's case for consideration as one of the best teams in the class.
Borcher's rushing touchdowns came mostly on the option play, a part of the offense his head coach, Mitchell Shepard, believes his senior QB has all but perfected.
"One of the biggest differences for Garrett, and our whole team, is that we are now comfortable in the offensive system and with that experience he's making better decisions. Plus, he's a heckuva an athlete who can really make big plays look easy."
He certainly did the other night, scoring on runs of 19, 72, 4, 6, 72, 3, 49 and 6 yards. He also completed two touchdown passes, 50 and 4 yards, finishing the night with 356 yards rushing. For the season Borcher has now rushed for 879 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 11.6 yards per carry, and has passed for 337 yards and seven touchdowns.
From his perspective, Borcher's numbers were the product of a perfect storm, just right plays called at just the right time.
"We wore the option out," says Borcher. "We had some good reads and it opened up alleys for us to run through, plus our line did another great job, like they have been doing all season long."
Coach Shepard agrees with Borcher's assessment of the Pawnee City offensive line. In fact, he points to the play of the big boys up front as the key factor in his team's outstanding start to the season.
"Our front three is pretty smart - they know who to block and are aggressive in doing it - and they are very athletic," says Shepard.
Pawnee City offensive line starters include senior all-state candidate Eric Osborne, junior Nate Wiers and sophomore Scott Borcher, Garrett's "little" brother.
Pawnee City football success was pretty spotty - read that to say the Indians had never won a playoff game - until Shepard's arrival three years ago. Two seasons ago the Indians won a playoff game, then last year reached the D2 quarterfinals before being derailed by unbeaten Giltner. Borcher, for one, is glad to have Shepard in charge of the program.
"We were pretty lucky to have him come here. He really demanded we did our weight room work and our performance in there has skyrocketed. Plus, he's a great play caller. He's always coming up with new plays, some of them blow me away."
For his part, Shepard says he and Borcher are on the same page.
"There are times I feel like I don't need to signal a play at all because I am almost certain he's going to call the play I am thinking of," says Shepard.
After what happened the other night, it's probably a safe guess that he'll be calling a lot of option.
Borcher has lived his entire life in Pawnee City and loves the training which goes into all of his sports, which includes basketball and track. He's earned a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom and is also involved in one-act play, speech and is a member of the PCHS student council.
Ironically enough, Pawnee City will this week challenge Kansas powerhouse Hanover in a game scheduled after Pawnee had an opening in its schedule due to a forfeit. Shepard was an assistant coach at Hanover prior to coming to Pawnee City and the matchup seemed a natural. There is the little matter of Hanover being in the state finals three of the past four years, winning two state titles. Both Shepard and Borcher see the game as a challenge.
"We love the challenge and we want to find out where we are in our progression," says Shepard. "Our kids see this as a great test, a great positive, and in games like these is when Garrett is at his best."
And Garrett's best seems to be plenty good, among the best in Nebraska Class D2 football.