“We have been playing faster, harder and smarter during the playoffs. We have been able top execute our game plans on both offense and defense, and we have been limiting our mistakes.”
Gordon head coach Shane Mallory has seen his ‘Horns improve each week. He said his team will have to play hard from the first whistle to the final gun in order to beat a team of Abbott’s caliber.
“I think we are definitely peaking at the right time,” Mallory said. “In each quarter during the playoffs either our offensive or defensive unit has stepped up. Both the offense and defense have come together and compliment each other.”
Mallory said that after the Longhorns’ tough stretch in non-district play against Ira, No. 1 Richland Springs and Strawn that he knew the team had to improve in the passing game in order to make a deep playoff run.
“After Strawn, we knew we had to throw the ball more,” he said. “From then on we have turned it around. We are hard to defend in the passing game because we have had every starter on offense catch a touchdown pass, and we have had several throw for touchdowns. That makes us hard to defend.
“With multiple receivers and throwers, defenses are playing us a little soft. That works to our advantage, and it opens up our running game.”
Abbott has given up just 49 points in three playoff games, including a shutout. The Panthers gave up just eight points in three District 13 games.
“Abbott is very good on defense, to say the least,” Mallory said. “I honestly haven’t slept well this week.”
Abbott is led offensively by running back Tyler Russell, who gained almost 3,000 yards on the ground last year and has rushed for 2,239 yards on 163 carries with 46 touchdowns this season. Mallory said Abbott runs a simple offense, but runs it extremely well.