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Friday Football Preview

Staff Writer
Runnels County Register
Runnels County Register

Last week Miles and Ballinger chalked up wins while Winters fell to Bangs.This week Ballinger will host Clyde, Winters will host Hawley, while the Miles Bulldogs will travel to Munday to take on the Moguls.

Ballinger Bearcats

Ballinger has proven that their #12 pre-season state ranking was justified by going 3-0, including a tough opening week win at Jim Ned. This week the Bearcats welcome the Clyde Bulldogs (1-2) to Bearcats Stadium.

Clyde opened the season with a 39-14 loss to Cisco (2-1), which was followed by a 49-14 loss to the Idalou Wildcats. Clyde’s first win game last week against the Riesel Indians, 52-14.

Ballinger has, once again, shown deep resolve and determination this season. The Bearcats are coming off of a 34-2 drubbing of the Colorado (City) Wolves. In their first 3 games this season, Ballinger has put up a combined 67 points, while only surrendering 16 points. The offense has been potent and the defense has been stifling. Ballinger is chock full of top-level players from Weston Rollwitz to Adam Winn, Garrett Dixon, Dylan Hostetter and more. Quarterback Carter Arrott was thrust into the starting job when starter Tyler Vaughn went down with an injury. Vaughn has returned to the field from the shoulder injury, playing various positions rather than quarterback.

Clyde must know that they’re coming into a meat grinder. The Bearcats can play a smothering defense, cutting off running lanes, passing lanes and getting into the offense’s backfield to break up plays and throw off timing. While Clyde did put up 52 points on Riesel, they scored only 14 points against Cisco and Idalou. This doesn’t bode well for them as they come in to face a Ballinger team that typically keeps offenses deep in their own territory.

Clyde will air the ball out at times, as they did against Cisco. In that game the Bulldogs threw 11 passes with 7 defended and 1 interception. Ballinger has a strong secondary that feasts on errant passes from opposing quarterbacks. The Bearcats hit hard and any receiver knows what he’s facing the moment he touches the ball. The entire defense is intimidating, from the line to the linebackers to the defensive backs. In the end, Ballinger should come away with a win, even though Clyde might show them some things that they haven’t seen before.

Winters Blizzards

Many are concerned with the three losses that the Blizzards have started the season with. Those losses, to be fair, should be taken in their proper context to get the full picture.

While there aren’t any excuses that you’ll hear a coach make, there is a perspective that should be understood. Winters started the season with a 34-22 loss to Anson. Last season, the Anson Tigers were 3A, in which they had 7 wins.

They fell to a vicious Eldorado passing attack in week 2, losing 51-19. They played this game without second-year starting quarterback Alex Salas.

The next game was a 42-19 loss to the 3A Bangs Dragons. The game was 14-6 at halftime. The Dragons have a roster of 57 players, compared to Winters’ roster of 20 or so players. The Dragons were able to rotate fresh players into the game. Again, this game was played without starter Alex Salas. Jon Kullen Busher started the Eldorado game and the Bangs game. His game has evolved as his level of play has improved with each game. Salas is expected back this week.

This week doesn’t get any easier for the Blizzards as they welcome the Hawley Bearcats (2-1). Hawley’s only loss came at the hands of the Hamlin Pied Pipers, 35-6. Against Merkel, the Hawley defense showed that there are some weaknesses that can be exploited. Merkel passed for 212 yards and ran for 194 yards in the 35-21 loss.

The Blizzards have a cadre’ of running backs who put up over 280 yards of rushing each game. The rosters are similar size and that could give the Blizzards’ punishing running game the avenue that it needs to put a win on the board. The Blizzards defense will have to step up and keep the Hawley offense playing from deep within their own territory to slow down their scoring opportunities.

One part of Winters’ game has played a roll in each of their losses is giving up the big play. They’ve given up a pass play over 50 yards that went to the endzone, as well as other long yardage plays against Eldorado. They’ve also given up some big runs. The good news is that all of that can be addressed. Winters is available to break some big plays of their own and if they can keep control of the game and not commit turnovers, they should come away with their first win of the season.

Miles Bulldogs

The Miles Bulldogs (1-2), got their first win of the season against the Roscoe Plowboys (0-3) last week, defeating them 29-7.

The Bulldogs have searched for their identity this season under new head coach Jayson Wilhelm and new quarterback Hayden Johnson. The Bulldogs’ first 2 losses were ugly. They fell 32-0 to Coleman and 49-0 to Coahoma. Against Coahoma they were without starting running back Brayden Dunlap.

Dunlap returned against the Plowboys and put up over 160 yards of rushing, giving a boost to the struggling offense that surely felt his absence the previous week. The Miles defense played strong and held the Plowboys to just the single touchdown.

This week the Bulldogs will travel to Munday to take on the Moguls (1-2). Last year the Bulldogs’ hosted the Moguls and mauled them, 53-41. This season the Moguls will be looking for some vengeance. The Moguls sole victory this season came against the winless Ranger Bulldogs, 31-20. The Moguls then fell 36-12 to the 3-0 Shamrock Irish. The next game was a loss to the 1-2 Crosbyton Chiefs, 52-22.

The Bulldogs have a better-than-average chance to go into Munday and pick up their second victory of the season. The Bulldogs have some hosses on the team in Christian Gutierrez, Brandon Rodriguez and Joel Garcia. Their play will be the key to winning. They’ll have to control the line of scrimmage to open running lanes for Dunlap and sophomore running back Carson Ellison.

Johnson, Dunlap and Ellison are all different style runners. Ellison, at 5’6“, 135 lbs is quick and fast. He can stop on a dime and turn an end-run into a cut between the tackles if the ends are contained.

Dunlap, at 5’9, 160 lbs is a punishing runner. He’s fast but he’s a beast when he’s running between the tackles. Dunlap isn’t afraid of contact and makes sure that any defender who puts a hand on him remembers it.

Johnson is 6’, 175 lbs with the ability to make long runs around the end or explode up the middle. He’s a dual threat quarterback. Johnson can run the RPO and isnt afraid to stop and throw a quick pass down the field or over the middle. Rodriguez also lines up in the backfield and he’s proven to be a superior blocker on rushing plays as well as an able runner on short yardage plays.

This game could easily be Miles’ second win in a row.

Runnels County Register