The Sacred Heart Tigers have found their groove, posting a four-game winning streak with their 58-6 win over Fort Worth Calvary on Friday, Nov. 6.
But that success has come at a cost. The Tigers had just made the switch to freshman quarterback Ryan Swirczynski, who had flourished in his new role.
Unfortunately, Swirczynski broke his collarbone in the win and is out for the season.
Head coach Dale Schilling said it is a big loss, especially considering how well he had taken to the new responsibilities.
“We played really good, but on our first offensive play, we lost Ryan to a broken collarbone and he’s out,” Schilling said. “It’s terrible because he was really getting control and command of the offense. He was playing with so much poise and confidence. Our game plan was we were really going to throw the football around a lot and get more weapons involved, but you have to do what you have to do.”
Swirczynski’s brother Seth, who was the original starting quarterback this season, will resume his role and he finished out the game with five touchdowns in the win.
“With him, we were pretty basic and he’s a pretty good backup after being the quarterback for the past two years,” Schilling said. “We were able to run the ball and get out of there. You have to think about injuries and it’s always good to give another quarterback reps. We really didn’t miss a beat, but it did hamper us for working on stuff for the future.”
Seth Swirczynski helped the Tigers to a 10-0 start and 11-1 record last season, so it’s not as if Sacred Heart is taking a big step down from his brother Ryan.
Seth was moved to running back and wide receiver this season to balance out the team because of how skilled he is, which Schilling said the Tigers will miss as well.
“It’s not like putting someone in who hasn’t played,” Schilling said. “You can maybe move Seth around to other positions because he’s played quarterback, but you don’t that with another kid that hasn’t played quarterback.”
Schilling said the Tigers played a great game from top to bottom against FW Calvary.
“Our special teams were really good and we had very few penalties and we didn’t turn the ball over,” Schilling said. “It was our most complete game of the season. We’re rolling right now and playing really good football. Christ Espinosa came back and had a heck of a football game.”
With the win over FW Calvary, the Tigers have clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs and the top seed.
They also clinched their second straight district title.
While Schilling said he would prefer to not have a bye, it will allow the team to get some rest and get healed up.
Sacred Heart will face Lubbock Trinity on Friday, Nov. 13 and it is coming off a 21-14 loss, but Schilling said it will be a very difficult game as the Lions are a step up in classification to Division III from the Tigers’ Division IV.
“They’re seeded where they’re going to be and we’re seeded where we’re going to be, so it’s a totally meaningless game,” Schilling said. “We’ll work on basic things like tackling, but we’ll also work on our short passing game and get his feet back wet throwing the ball. We need to keep getting better. We’re not going to let our guard down and play good, hard football.”
Schilling said the team is still preparing like normal and as if it’s for a district championship.
“Lubbock is a flex-bone team and they are a very well coached team,” Schilling said. “They don’t make mistakes. They control the clock. They’re big up front. They’ve got a very good quarterback. They’re the total package and very sound. We’ve got to play assignment football and stick with it.”