By TONY EIERDAM
Seeking that first victory of 2013, the Mineral Wells Rams will conclude non-district play at 7 p.m. today at Burkburnett to face the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are 1-3 having lost games to Gainesville (45-23) , Wichita Falls High School (24-11) and Decatur (41-38) while defeating Bridgeport (40-35) last week.
The Bulldogs offense is “old school,” but with a new twist. Burkburnett runs a triple-option offense called the flex bone, which like the old and honored wishbone of yesteryear has three running backs in the backfield. However, two of the three backs set up in the slot, and the slot backs will go in motion as a third option on option plays.
This season while using the flex bone, Burkburnett has averaged an impressive 185 yards per game on the ground. The Bulldogs’ rushing attack has also had an impact on its passing game as BHS averages 143 yards per contest in the air.
The ‘Dogs average of 328 yards of total offense each game has also produced 107 points, but it has not translated into wins.
Mineral Wells head coach Chuck Lawrence said the Bulldogs switched to the offense after losing to the Rams last year.
“Coach (Scott Boswell) does a good job with them, and they have changed both offensively and defensively from last year,” Lawrence said. “After our game last year they went back to their flex bone, an option offense. The flex bone, run by Air force Academy, is like the wishbone except you take the two halfbacks and move them down as slot backs.
“They come in short motion and that allows them to run the triple option, and they have a pretty good passing attack off it which really enhances their option game.
“They had success with it and carried it over to this season. They have been scoring 30-40 points each game. It is extremely difficult to simulate this offense in practice. We don’t run it so it is tough for the scout team to pick up and give a good look.”
Although a running offense, it is an offense designed to break long runs on every play, especially if the defensive players don’t carry out their assignments.
“We are obviously going to have to play assignment defense,” Lawrence said. “We will have a player assigned to take the dive (back); another to take the quarterback; and another to take the pitch man.
“One mistake can lead to a touchdown or at the very least a big play.”
The Bulldogs’ base defense is an odd-man front, and they will also get into a 50 look.
“They don’t stunt or do a lot of the crazy things they did last year,” Lawrence said. “They stay pretty basic, and they will stunt at times out of the 50 package, but we have to continue to improve on our offensive attack.”
The Rams will still be without their top three running backs and will rely once again on sophomore running back Tristan Seargeant, who has rushed for 120 yards in the last two games, and wide receiver DaShawn Hicks, who has gained 159 yards on the ground in the last two contests.
Receiver Kelly Williams was used mainly at receiver last week but he also figures to get in some touches on the ground as well as the air.
“We feel we are another week better,” Lawrence said. “This is the third week in a row that we haven’t had our primary running backs, and we have looked better on offense every week.
“We seem to be a little more consistent, we are not turning the ball over, as much although we had a fumble and threw an interception (against Iowa Park), but we are moving the chains and the kids seem to be having fun with it.
“My offensive staff is continuing to put in a lot of time and doing a good job.”
The Rams found a new weapon on offense last week as junior Patrick Folkner kicked field goals of 30 and 35 yards, respectively.
“Patrick hit both of those balls pretty good,” Lawrence said. “He has improved on his consistency, and (Sept. 20) he nailed those two field goals.
“I could see the confidence coming out of him, and that’s a big plus and could end up winning a ball game for us down the road.”
The Rams will be off next week and will begin District 6-3A play at home on Friday, Oct. 11 against Castleberry.