Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
The tide is turning for the Community Christian School Warriors.
The Warriors (3-3) are taking full advantage of the middle of their schedule, rattling off two straight wins on the road – a surprising 53-34 upset over St. Jo and a dominant 68-19 performance against an inferior Christian Life Prep squad.
Today, the purple and black will look earn a third-straight win and register their first winning record of the season against the struggling Fort Worth Hill School Hawks (0-5) at 7 p.m. in historic Miller Stadium.
Head coach Bryan Horton said team morale is at a high point.
“They’re upbeat, but at the same time, they understand that this is not the toughest part of our schedule,” he said. “This has been a nice stretch for us. Of course, Christian Life is an easier school to play. But St. Jo’s was a quality win for us. I think, for the most part, they understand that the big job’s in front of us.”
Fresh off the Christian Life victory, there is no doubt that since their schedule has softened the Warriors have been playing their best football of the season so far. Their 68 points on offense last week were the highest point total of the year.
Likewise, the 19 points the CCS defense allowed is also a season-best. The Warriors have also reaped the benefits of a breakout freshman star in running back Levi Knowles, who has nicely complimented senior star cousins, Isaiah and Sammy Brazeal and junior playmaker Joby Bradshaw.
But perhaps chief among CCS’ accomplishments lately is that they have established themselves as a tough running team capable of wearing opponents out on the ground with a capable stable of athletic backs.
Against Christian Life, five different backs touched the ball on offense to combine for 270 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Knowles led the way, yet again, with 11 carries for 120 yards and four scores. Conversely, the Warriors only needed four completions on seven combined attempts by virtue of their quarterback-by-committee formula, one of which resulted in a touchdown.
“We’re a running team,” Horton said with conviction. “That’s what we expected to be. Frankly, I’d like to be a little more balanced in the passing game, but the way things have gone this year ... If the game doesn’t call for you to pass the ball, then don’t.”
Now with two wins under their collective belt, CCS has a golden opportunity against Hill to take a 4-3 record into the gauntlet that is their TCAF District 3 schedule. The Hawks will bring a legitimate playmaker to Miller Stadium in Demetrion Amie, whom Horton said the Warriors will have to key in on to win the ball game.
“If he comes to play for four quarters, he’s tough to stop,” Horton said of Amie. “He’s a big kid, good speed for his size and he’s a bear. When he comes to play on either side of the ball, he’s going to give you problems. So we’re looking to really focus in on him and make the other kids beat us.”
Horton said the best aspect of playing Hill this week is they provide the perfect warm-up game for the Warriors’ first district opponent, the Azle Christian Fighting Crusaders. Horton said the game plan for both the Hawks and Crusaders will be essentially the same, especially the concept of having to key in on one or two top players.
Azle Christian is loaded with athletes, in Horton’s words, but they have two game-breakers that CCS will have to stop to have a chance. Having to double-team a player like Amie against Hill will ease the Warriors’ defense into that mindset.
“To be honest, we’re not looking past them in any way, but what it takes to beat Hill School is the same thing it’s going to take to beat Azle,” Horton explained. “Because of who Hill School is and the way they’re playing football right now, we’ve been able to put some things in place that we’re wanting to use next week that we haven’t necessarily been using this season. I think that’s going to make a difference. We’re actually getting to put it on the field and see if this is something that’s going to work for us next week.”
Not lost in their preparation for Azle Christian, is the opportunity the Hill game presents for CCS to get its first home win of the season. In front of their home crowd at Miller Stadium, the Warriors have played three of the toughest teams on their schedule, netting an 0-3 record. With the Hawks, CCS has a chance to carry over the great success they had on the road this year to their home field.
“In other news, we’re moving all our home games to away,” Horton joked referencing his team’s 3-0 road record. “It’s kind of been a joke amongst the team: we can’t protect our own house, but we’ll go rob somebody else. I like winning in front of the home crowd as much as anybody else, but I’ll take a ‘W’ where I can get them. We’re looking forward to getting a ‘W’ at home against a solid team this week.”