By CLINT FOSTER
The Community Christian School Warriors (0-1) are down, but not out after a 69-38 season-opening loss to the Johnson County Homeschool Lions (1-0) at Miller Stadium, last Friday. With another non-district home game looming against Dallas Tyler Street Christian Academy (1-0) this Friday, the Warriors have an opportunity to continue to improve before taking a bite out of the meat of their schedule.
In their game with Johnson County, the Warriors trailed just 24-22 after the first qaurter, but things unraveled when the Lions converted three CCS turnovers into touchdowns in the second quarter, putting the Warriors in a hole that proved too deep to climb out of.
“Johnson County is a good team, bottom-line,” CCS head coach Bryan Horton said. “[Our turnovers were] the difference in the ball game. We’ve just got to eliminate mistakes on our part. We gave them basically three touchdowns and you don’t win many ball games against good teams or even mediocre teams doing that.”
As a consolation, Horton said he was impressed with many of his younger players who stepped up in the Johnson County loss. He named junior wide receiver/defensive end Tye Gage and junior center/defensive tackle Daniel Timmons specifically. Of course, Horton said he was also pleased with junior and one of the Warriors top playmakers, Joby Bradshaw. Bradshaw accounted for three total touchdowns – two rushing and one passing – and was a perfect four-for-four on extra points.
Like Bradshaw, Isaiah Brazeal was also responsible for three touchdowns, rushing for two and receiving the 50-yard scoring pass from Bradshaw. Per usual, Horton was also pleased with the Brazeal cousins, Sammy and Isaiah, for both their leadership and playmaking ability.
“Sammy Brazeal had a masterful game on both sides of the ball,” Horton said. “In the second half, he really stepped up and led us. I give him a lot of credit for the way we played in the second half.
“Isaiah is just an absolute talent. I think out of everybody, he’s the most excited about this Tyler Street game. He likes going up against good players and seeing what he can do. I’m looking forward to seeing him lay it all out there on the football field.”
The Tyler Street Crusaders will visit historic Miller Stadium fresh off of a crushing 46-0 road win over Brownwood Victory Life Academy. Last year, CCS played to a tough 30-6 loss in the rain against the Crusaders.
This year, Tyler Street is led by a few top athletes including 6-foot-2, 225-pound power running back Blake Terry and sophomore quarterback Jordan Coleman who, according to Horton, is a “little bitty ol’ quarterback... who can just sling the ball.” Horton said the Warriors will look to run plays away from Tyler Street’s top players on offense and on the other side of the ball – as he has been saying since two-a-days – the Warriors will look to improve their struggling defense against the spread.
“One of our weaknesses is against the spread,” Horton reiterated. “When we go up in a zone or man against the spread we have to be nearly perfect. We’re just not fast enough, not quick enough, to make mistakes in assignments, make mistakes in coverage. We’ve got to be there. I don’t have enough kids to really run a true live offense against our defense. We kind of have to learn on the fly.”
In light of playing such strong non-district competition, Horton said the biggest lesson his team needs to learn from these measuring-stick games is how to win.
“What you see in Johnson County is a team that knows how to win,” he said. “They’ve got seniors that have been winning for three years now: state championship games, state semifinals. That’s not where we’ve been the last couple years. I think [my team] saw what it is they lack and have an idea of what they need to correct. We’ll go out against Tyler Street, another good team, and see if we can get that fixed this week.”
Still, Horton did not cheapen the challenge that awaits the Warriors in their second game. He tempered his expectations, saying he sees the Tyler Street game primarily as an opportunity to learn and grow before the must-win games of district play.
“I feel like we’ve got some advantages in some discipline areas as far as execution on any given play,” he said. “[Tyler Street] really rely on their athletic ability. We’ll go out there and see what we can do. I expect a real tough test. If our guys respond and play like they’re capable of playing, I feel real good about it. With that said, it’s early in the season, so my expectations aren’t necessarily that we’re going to do everything perfect.”
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