By TONY EIERDAM
Turn on the Friday night lights.
After a month of early-morning practices and two scrimmages, the Mineral Wells Rams are ready to open the 2013 high school football season when they host Graham today.
The Rams and the state-ranked No. 9 Steers will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Ram Stadium.
Graham defeated the Rams last year in the opener. Graham is also coming off a Class 3A seven-on-seven state championship won over the summer.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence, who is happy the team opens the season at home, is of course concerned about winning the contest, but early on in the season the focus will be to play hard for the entire game.
“No doubt about it, you always like to play at home in your season opener,” he said. “The first game of the year, and the fact that it is the first home game for the seniors, makes it all that more exciting.
“We are playing a very good team, and we want our kids to compete.
“We want them to step up to the challenge, and whether we win or lose I want to see that we played hard for four quarters.
“That has kind of our mantra since I have been here. We throw our fours up (fingers) when the fourth quarter begins to make sure we are competing hard in the fourth quarter.”
To beat a team as talented and experienced as the Steers, Mineral Wells will almost have to play error-free football.
The Rams will also employ a bend-but-don’t-break mentality on defense.
However, the Rams’ situation at running back is unclear as starter Josh Hardee and his backup, Devon Edmonds, each were forced to leave the Azle scrimmage due to injuries. Each will be a game-time decision.