Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

September 6, 2013

Rams’ first road test today at Wichita Falls against Hirschi


Mineral Wells Index

— By TONY EIERDAM

Hopefully, history can repeat itself.

Last year – in only his second varsity start – Mineral Wells quarterback Caleb Acosta rallied the Rams’ offense late with a game-winning touchdown strike in the contest’s final minutes in what would turn out to be a 27-22 victory.

The win gave the Rams’ offense confidence it could come back to win a game late, and it gave credibility to a young signal caller who was then just a sophomore.

The difference this year is the game is in Wichita Falls and will be the Rams first road test of the year.

The Rams and Hirschi Huskies will kick off at 7 p.m. (note the early start time) at Wichita Falls ISD’s historic Memorial Stadium.

The Huskies, coming off a 31-21 win over Bowie last week, are known for team speed. The Huskies are led by quarterback Terrance Cooper, who led the Huskies with 191 total yards, including a team-leading 68 on the ground.

Hirschi junior Cedric Battle led all HHS running backs with 59 yards on 12 carries, also catching a touchdown pass.

Hirschi also demonstrated it can score on special teams as Battle ran a punt back almost 50 yards for a touchdown.

Lawrence said the Rams (0-1) will have to keep the Huskies’ team speed in check.

“Watching them on film, they are just scary,” Lawrence said. “They have mega speed, and they have three receivers who can catch the ball and run.

“Their quarterback, Cooper, also plays on defense a little.

“He is a tremendous athlete. He is fast and throws the ball well.

“Battle is a fast back and dangerous. They have mega speed, and the key to the game for us will be trying to control their speed.

“They run a spread offense. They will line up with trips (three receivers), twins (two receivers), twins open with two backs, sometimes they get into a pro set.

“They like to run the jet sweep, the motion jet sweep, and read option, and they like to throw a lot of slip and tunnel screens to the receivers.

“We have to be conscious of the outside and make sure our contain guy turns the play back inside. And we have to have a lot of pursuit. We will have to play disciplined defense, and we have to play solid techniques. Again, the key will be if our contain man can turn the play back in.”

The Rams’ defense is hoping to rebound from last week’s loss, and Lawrence said a step in the right direction will be to focus on fundamentals such as tackling and taking proper tackling angles. He also praised a pair of defenders for good efforts against Graham.

“I think (defensive end) Elijuan (Combs) played pretty good, and Colby Kissinger had a good game,” Lawrence said. “But we missed some tackles that we normally make.

“We took some bad angles that we normally don’t take, and there were a couple of times where we were half a step slow.

“But for some of those guys playing in their first varsity games on Friday night, hopefully that got the jitters out of them and (today) they can make up that half a step.”

Rams offensive coordinator David Tarver said Hirschi uses multiple fronts on defense. He also said junior running back Josh Hardee, who sat out last week’s game with a sore ankle, will be ready to play today.

“Hirschi runs a lot of 3-2, be we are working on variations of a 3-3 and 4-2 in case they slide their nose guard over into a 1 or 3 technique,” Rams offensive coordinator David Tarver said. “They are fast on defense, but they also have some bulk, some big guys on the line.

“Their speed will give us some problems, and we will have to execute our fundamentals, and as long as everyone handles their jobs we can counteract their speed. If not, they will be by us in a hurry.

“Hardee has practiced all week and he will play. Hopefully, we will see the Hardee from last year running up and down the field.”

Lawrence said the team will move on and forget about last week’s game.

“Whether we won or lost our last game, we have a new opponent and have to put last week’s game behind us,” Lawrence said. “We have a new game plan, and that’s the great thing about football – you get to play again the next Friday.

“But it will be a little different since we will play our first road game of the year. You have to do your routine a little earlier, and with a 7 p.m. start that will mean doing our game-day preparation 30 minutes earlier than usual.”