“That’s OK, you’ll get 'em the next time.”
It’s a common motivational phrase a manger says to a batter after he strikes out or a coach to a player after they make a mistake.
But what if there was no next time? Or it did not come for a very long time?
Robert E. Lee quarterback Joseph Seeber knows this all too well.
Last year as a junior against Beaumont West Brook, Seeber was alternating series with friend and teammate Preston Conder. Trailing 19-7 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and facing fourth and inches, Seeber stepped under center and was about to take the snap for a quarterback sneak.
A fumbled snap ensued, and although Seeber recovered it, Lee turned it over on downs.
Seeber went to the sideline and Conder went in for the next series — and remained at quarterback. Seeber finished the game 2 for 9 for 12 yards, rushed for four yards and had an interception returned for a touchdown. He would not attempt another pass until the final game of district.
Lee lost to West Brook, 25-20.
“It sort of left a bad taste in my mouth,” Seeber said. “I didn’t want to go out playing the way I did.”
A year later, the senior starting quarterback aims to make amends.
“It’s kind of the way I am looking at this whole season, a redemption year,” said Seeber, who passed for a season-best 186 yards and two touchdowns last week against The Woodlands.
“Especially against Beaumont West Brook; I’d really like to get this one.”
Seeber captured his first win as starting quarterback two weeks ago and is 1-1 at home this season. Lee (1-3) was predominantly a rushing team in its first three games as the Red Raiders averaged 275 per game.
Recent injuries to running backs LaQuintas Wallace and Aneas Sutton, coupled with the loss of all-everything fullback Marcus White has placed more of a load on Seeber’s shoulders. Seeber completed 14 of 30 passes last week after attempting 32 passes combined in REL’s first three games.
“We’ve just kind of had to adapt,” Seeber said. “We are going to go back to running the football, just like we do, but I think it’s going to look a little more like our regular offense.
“Maybe a little more passing, but we are ready to take on that challenge.”
Seeber showed what he could do in all-out passing series last week. Trailing by two scores and running out of time, the Red Raiders ran a four-wide two minute offense with Seeber piloting Lee down the field on a 10-play 80 yard drive. Three times Seeber converted on third down — the first two on passes to sophomore Diondre Allen and the third on a 20-yard touchdown to Dalaven Baker.
“I got in the huddle and told them just to give me a little bit of time and we are going to take it down the field and show some pride,” Seeber said. “That is what we did.”
The Bruins (3-1) are also coming off a loss, their first of the season, against second-ranked Katy. West Brook, like Lee, is playing its final pre-district game before a bye week heading into district play.
Lee went 2-9 last season after a winless pre-district. The Red Raiders have already bettered that, but Seeber stressed this home tilt against West Brook can be the springboard his team needs.
“We’d love to go into district on a high note,” Seeber said. “Coach (Randy Huffstickler) said losing is contagious and so is the other side. Once you lose, it just becomes easier and easier to lose.
“Once you win, it’s easier to win. You get the ball rolling a little bit, so this game is real important.”
RAIDER RAP: Seeber is the son of former Tyler mayor Joey Seeber. Said Seeber about growing up as the son of a politician, “It’s different sort of knowing that everyone knows your dad. But it’s been great having a father who is as great a man as he is; a great person to look up to and I’ve been really blessed.” … In subvarsity football games last week, the Lee JV defeated Texas High 18-15 and Lee freshmen lost 12-6 … Jimmy Landes, who played center and deep snapper for Lee last year is now the deep snapper for Baylor. According to his father, Drew, Jimmy was supposed to redshirt, but was the deep snapper last week for Baylor on three punts, two extra points and one field goal.