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1990s 184 JOHN BURROUGHS /

State Titles Abound


A Moment worth Remembering Written recollections of Damon Goode ’91, with input from Eddie Williamson ’91 and other teammates, produced an extraordinary account of an extraordinary football victory over Country Day in 1990. Apart from the action, it described a rare bond of trust between coach and team: In my first five years at Burroughs, varsity football had never beaten Country Day. That meant that in the fall of 1990, no current JBS student had experienced a win over our rival in the big game. And we’d had very good teams in the recent past, including a Class 2A state championship team just the year before. I played quarterback my senior year when the game was played at Country Day. The game was decided on the final play in overtime. In the second quarter, JBS linebacker Tyler Dunaway (’91) thwarted a Ram drive by recovering a fumble. In the locker room at halftime, someone innocently remarked, “Guys, remember last year” (when we lost a gut-wrenching game to Country Day). Coach Lemen exploded: “Screw last year! We are going to win this year and we are not thinking about the past.” Coach quickly calmed down and added, “Just thought I’d say that.” Back on the field, Jon Schoenecker (’92) kicked a field goal for JBS. Country Day retaliated with a field goal. We went into overtime tied at 3–3. In high school football overtime, each team got a possession on the opposing team’s ten yard line with the chance to score a touchdown, kick a field goal, or be stuffed for no score at all. Our captains Eddie Williamson, Tom Bryant (’91), Rob Rogers (’92), and Tyler Dunaway met the Rams at midfield for the coin toss. Country Day was awarded the ball first and proceeded 192 JOHN BURROUGHS /

to go the wrong direction as a result of a quarterback sack by Ken Ikeda (’91), a screen pass thwarted by Brennan Mulligan ’92, and a failed double pass. The Rams kicked a thirty-threeyard field goal to take a three-point lead. We got the ball knowing that a touchdown would win the game. We had four plays to go ten yards. On first down we ran “Double Blast Left” to running back Greg Smith ’93 for a five yard gain. Second down was a veer option to the right that I kept for three yards. Now we had two plays to go two yards and win the game. A strength of our team the entire season had been our offensive line. We had huge, strong guys that pushed defenses around for our power running game. Our interior five linemen were Tom Bryant, Sanjaya Gupta (’91), Josh Roman (’92), Brennan Mulligan, and Medley Gatewood (’92). Our tight ends (who blocked a lot more than they caught passes) were Scott Wright (’91), Cole Thompson (’91) and Jason Lohr (’91). “Wedge Left,” a Burroughs staple beginning with C football, had been Coach Lemen’s preferred call all season on shortyardage plays. The linemen would interlock feet, basically announcing to the defense that we were about to jam the football down their throats. Wedge Left had been effective all season, getting us short yardage behind Mulligan and Gatewood. So in the biggest game of the year, it was no surprise that Coach Lemen called Wedge Left when we needed two yards for a win. Behind our surging line, running back Rob Rogers powered for a yard and a half. The ball was placed on the one foot line. Fourth down. Coach Lemen called timeout and ran on the field to join the


huddle. We could kick a field goal to tie, thereby sending the game into a second overtime. But if we went for the touchdown, the game would be decided on the next play. Score, we win—get stopped, we lose. With all eyes fixed on our coach, he told us with a grin, “Guys, this is the moment that you will remember for the rest of your lives, so make it something worth remembering.” Coach Lemen said we were going to run Wedge Left again to Rob Rogers for the final foot to win the game. What happened next was remarkable for any football huddle, let alone one with the game on the line. Ken Ikeda asked, “Doesn’t it make more sense if Damon just runs it instead of risking the handoff?” Rather than dismissing the suggestion, Coach Lemen considered the merits of altering the play and agreed. He said to us, “That does make sense. Damon, you just run it in.” And so at the last moment, the play was changed. I always thought that this conversation in the heat of the moment was

special, and made possible by the trust and open communication between the players and coaches on our team. This was true of my experience on many teams (and classes) at Burroughs. At the end of our timeout, Coach Lemen trotted back to the sideline and we huddled again. I called the play, we broke the huddle, and walked slowly to the line of scrimmage. With everyone set, I took the snap on a quick count. The surge from the JBS offensive line overwhelmed the Rams, our running backs slammed against the pile pushing it even farther forward, allowing me to take two steps into the end zone before a Country Day player laid a hand on me. We won the game and pandemonium ensued. As if a dam burst, people streamed onto the field. Our team, coaches, and fellow students bounced up and down in one enormous group hug. The Burroughs community in the stands went crazy. It was absolute euphoria for our team, our coaches, our fans, our families, and our school. The memory of our win that day still elicits a smile and even chills. JBS over Country Day, 9–6.

THE 1940s: DECADE OF DOMINATION 193


The RYAN Thomas File In a day of increasing specialization, it is refreshing to read about an athlete who competes in multiple sports. Ryan Thomas ’94 participated in four sports and contributed to state championships in three. Noted here are her accomplishments in cross-country, track, field hockey, and basketball: TRACK CROSS-COUNTRY Third in 1600 in 1991 Third in state meet in 1991 Second in 1600 in 1992 Third in state meet in 1992 Second in 3200 in 1992 First in state meet in 1993 Third in 4 x 800 relay in 1992 First in 1600 in 1993 Third in 4 x 800 relay in 1993 Second in 1600 in 1994

FIELD HOCKEY State champions in 1992 BASKETBALL Team record of 25–5 in 1992–93

Winning state cross-country in the fall of 1993 was a very memorable moment. The course in Jefferson City was covered in snow that year. I was primed to be a leader in the race, but was having a tough time for the first half. I wasn’t feeling very well and fell to about tenth place or so in the beginning of the race, and then at some point after the second mile, I finally started to feel strong. I remember suddenly feeling good on a significant uphill and slowly started “picking off” runners in front of me, one by one. The finish was also a long gradual uphill and when I rounded the hairpin turn in the course that marks the beginning of the home stretch, I realized I had only one more runner to catch in order to take the lead. At that point, nothing was stopping me, and I pushed into first place with about a hundred yards still to run. It was the most rewarding race I’ve ever run, to this day, and one in which I learned a lot about pushing my own limits. Winning the Midwest Field Hockey Championship was an incredibly exciting moment for our team, which was a very tight-knit group, both on and off the field. Field hockey was always as much fun as it was work, and winning together was a milestone we wanted very much to reach.


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THE 1990s: STATE TITLES ABOUND 219

1990s - State Titles Abound  

Teammates for Life - A History of Burroughs Athletics by Jim Lemen and Jud Calkins