Now that the high school football teams in our coverage area have played three games, it’s time to reflect on a few trends we’ve seen developing in the early season. Not that three games is a huge sample size, but it’s big enough to notice a thing or two. I’m also sneaking in a thought on the NFL while I’m here.
***Seguin’s defense has struggled mightily against the pass, but will that really be a big concern in district play? And I mean they’ve struggled. The Matadors allowed 323 passing yards , 5 passing touchdowns, and a 65% completion rate to Bastrop QB Josiah Monroe in a 51-21 loss two weeks ago. This past Friday in Seguin’s home opener, East Central quarterback Eddie Lopez completed a staggering 88% of his passes (23-26) for 322 yards and six touchdowns.
Those numbers are alarming, and there’s no doubt the coaches and players are doing everything they can to get it fixed, but here’s the thing: Nobody in District 25-5A (other than Seguin) relies on the passing game to move the football. In the day and age of the spread offense, Seguin’s district is chock full of teams that play old-school, smashmouth, run it, run it, and run it again football. Seguin’s Brig Gerlich leads 25-5A quarterbacks with 700 passing yards through three games. That’s more than DOUBLE the second highest total – 339 by Judson’s Tristan Hernandez. In fact, after Seguin (236.0) and Judson (121.3), no other team in 25-5A is averaging so much as 100 passing yards per game.
What these other guys CAN do is RUN, RUN, RUN the football. No need to jog your memory on the talents of Mr. Malcom Brown at Steele. Aw, let’s do it anyway…He’s rushed for 725 yards and seven touchdowns in three games, and averaged 10.2 yards per carry in doing so. District playoff favorites Steele, Wagner, Judson, and New Braunfels are all averaging over 200 rushing yards per game, and all have two-pronged attacks in their backfields to be weary of. Brown counts as two guys for Steele. Wagner’s Jacquoi Beauregard and Branton Houston both average over 6.5 yards per carry. Judson’s Quaylon Jones and Kevin Clack are both in the neighborhood of seven yards per tote. New Braunfels tailback Kevin Monreal has logged an impressive 9.4 average per carry, and QB Micaja Poole is a bigger threat with his feet than with his arm.
Long story short: Stopping the RUN will be priority ONE for Seguin’s defense when district play starts. I could be wrong here, but I’m guessing we won’t see teams attempt to throw it around the yard the way Bastrop and East Central have the past few weeks. It just isn’t their style.
***Please remember that when I point out statistical trends as above, it’s NEVER a criticism of players or coaches. It’s simply an observation and interpretation of numerical facts that have resulted from happenings on the football field.
Matador fans have to show some patience this season. Seguin is a brand new program under Wayne Walker and his staff of assistants who are also new to the school district. They’re still learning what the players can do, and the players are still adapting to a brand new system, terminology, and coaching style. This is true all the way down to the junior high level. I can tell you this through three games – though the result of the play isn’t always pretty, the effort and the hustle is there from these guys on every snap. That’s a pretty good foundation to build upon.
***For the second straight season, a converted defensive back might be Seguin’s most effective running-back. It was true a year ago when Ronnie “Bubba” Lawson, an All-District safety, moved to offense and carried the ball out of the “Wild-Mat” formation, and it might be the case again this year with safety Mason Schmidt. After playing exclusively on defense the first two games, Schmidt started at tailback for Seguin against East Central Friday night and rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He hits the hole hard, he has an explosive burst, and he finishes runs strong, especially for a kid who’s all of 5’8″ and 160 lbs. Schmidt’s an exciting player to watch in all three phases of the game, and it will bode well for the Mats if he can continue to endure the heavy workload.
***Congrats to Marion for making a mark in the win column Friday, routing S.A.-Cole 55-13 on homecoming night at Veterans Stadium. The Bulldogs finally got a rhythm going offensively, with Doug Giles gashing the Cougars’ defense on the ground for 170 yards and 5 touchdowns, and QB Sean Hesler spreading the ball around to multiple receivers in passing for 192 yards and a score. C.J. Bouthot tacked on a defensive score, returning a recovered fumble into the end zone, for good measure. Positive sign for the Bulldogs, and something good to build on.
***Just another coldly efficient performance by Navarro – The Panthers rack up 212 rushing yards and hold San Antonio-Antonian to 159 total yards in a 28-14 road win on Friday. Through three games, Navarro has controlled the line of scrimmage like they expect to, but the ability to spread the field and show diversity on offense is definitely there with QB John Bormann and his cast of receivers. It’s an added dimension that they shouldn’t have to show a lot of on film in non-district play, but will pay big dividends when the 26-3A schedule rolls around. And in the playoffs. Yep…I’m picking Navarro to make the Class-3A post-season. I think it’s a two-horse race for the 26-3A title, between the Panthers and a really, really, really good Wimberley team.
***Well, maybe we learned that TAPPS is more competitive than T-Cal in the 6-man football world…As evidenced by TAPPS D-II’s Lifegate running roughshod over T-Cal power Bastrop-Tribe 68-19 Saturday evening in Seguin. The Matt Akin-Tyler Swisher-Caleb Tate show continues, and I expect you’ll be able to catch screenings of it deep into the month of November this fall.
***Okay – couple of NFL thoughts: The Cowboys no longer employ the services of Flozell Adams, the most penalized player in the NFL over the past five seasons. The Cowboys now employ Alex Barron, the second most penalized player in the NFL over the past five seasons. Hey…can’t say they’re not trying to improve! Barron killed ’em with his play at right tackle in the loss to the Redskins Sunday night. Killed ’em. Not just with his holding penalty that negated the potential game-winning touchdown on the final play, but with his repeated blown assignments and unsound play the entire evening. Is there a less skilled player in professional sports drawing a paycheck right now? Can’t be. Why is Dallas a magnet for morons of Barron’s magnitude? Why did Jerry & co. think Barron would play any better, based on his yellow laundry stained past?
Also…Barron’s incompetence notwithstanding, if Tashard Choice had actual brain matter between his ears rather than air and cobwebs on the final play of the first half, the Cowboys would be flying back to Dallas with a hard-fought, defensively dominated divison road win. Bad choice, Tashard. Pun intended.