By TONY EIERDAM
Coming off a competitive effort last week in a loss to Springtown, the Mineral Wells Rams will wrap up the 2013 football season when they travel to Kennedale for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in the District 6-3A finale.
The two combatants will come into the contest on almost opposite ends of the district scale. The Rams are 1-3 and in fifth place in 6-3A, while 4-0 Kennedale can wrap up its second straight District 6-3A title with a win.
Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence feels the team will continue to give supreme effort when they face the defending district champions.
“The fact that these kids continue to work hard and compete hard tells you what kind of character they have,” Lawrence said. “We will be ready to go (today) and we will give it our best shot.
“The kids will give us everything the have got, once again, and that is all you can ask of them.”
The Wildcats are known for their offense and rely mainly on the ball-carrying ability of junior running back Juwan Washington, who has gained 1,723 yards on 191 carries (9.02 yards per carry) in nine games. Washington, who lists TCU, Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Minnesota as his top five college choices, has been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.
The Wildcats fullback, senior Donny Darville, has nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in nine games as he has 968 yards on 129 totes (7.5 average). Kennedale rarely throws as they average less than four passes a game, but quarterback Bradon Hull has thrown four TD passes with three interceptions.
“If you don’t stop Washington ... he will rush for 218 yards like he did last week (against Lake Worth),” Lawrence said. “The guy can run and he is fast.
“They run a true Wing T, and Darville is a tough, tough fullback. They like to run the trap (misdirection) and belly (up the middle) with Darville.
“They don’t throw the ball very much, and they have five big offensive linemen and a big tight end that blocks well.”
Lawrence said the Rams have seen similar-style offenses this season, but none as explosive as the Wildcats.
“This another one of those offenses we have faced this year that runs the ball, runs the ball and runs the ball and then hits a big pass play on you,” Lawrence said. “They throw the ball just five or six times a game, but those five or six times could be five or six touchdowns if the defense doesn’t have it eyes right or cheats to close to the line of scrimmage.
“The defensive backs will have to watch the release of the wing backs, tight end and wide receiver. Kennedale’s offense is similar to what
Castleberry runs, but Kennedale, again, runs a true Wing T. It’s tough to defend, and the problem is getting a true picture of it in practice because of all the pulling guards and faking to the fullback.
“The mechanics of that offense makes it hard to simulate in practice with a scout team.”
Defensively, Kennedale’s primary look is a 4-3.
“They also like to jump into a 4-2,” Lawrence said. “They have big, physical kids on defense who are also fast.
“They are solid defensively. They can blitz or play you head up. Their speed and size make them a formidable defense.”
The Wildcats come into the contest with an overall mark of 5-4 as Kennedale went 1-4 in district. However, Lawrence said Kennedale’s record is deceiving.
“Kennedale played a monster non-district schedule,” Lawrence explained. “They are not afraid of anybody. Coach (Richard) Barrett and his staff do a real nice job.”