“I am just extremely proud to have them on my staff, and I promise we are working as hard as we can.”
Although Homecoming and its week of festivities is fun for the players and students, it also can create distractions. Lawrence feels the Rams will enjoy the festive week while also concentrating on the job ahead.
“Homecoming is always exciting, but we have told our players to put all the peripheral stuff – the parade, dance, Homecoming King and Queen and all the other activities – to the side and focus on winning the football game,” Lawrence said. “All of that is much better when you win the game.
“Our focus as a football team is winning the football game. And playing at home after two weeks on the road is also a plus.
“We like playing in front of the home crowd, and it is easier to relax between when school lets out and when they are required to be at the field house when you are at home.
“And winning a Homecoming game is extra special.”
Rams fans should not expect the same Hawks team that fell to the Rams last year.
Their quarterback, Derrick Ponder, son of IP head coach Scott Ponder, is a sophomore and has a year as starting signal caller under his belt.
Last year, Derrick Ponder passed for 1,848 yards and 18 touchdowns as a freshman.
This season he has guided the Hawks to wins over Pampa and Bridgeport. The Hawks’ lone loss was to Gainesville.
In the win over Bridgeport last week, IP demonstrated an ability to run the ball as senior running back Dakota Schweiger scored all three touchdowns in the 21-14 win.
The key to the Hawks’ rushing success is its huge offensive line – all seniors – anchored by 6-3, 320-pound Austin Gestes.
Other IP offensive linemen include Rowdy Harper (285 pounds), Jody Roberts (285 pounds), Carlos Caballero (280 pounds) and Jacobi Sidlauskas (270 pounds).