Heidi Dutcher/WD Sports

Millsap sophomore running back Waylan Dunn (8) and the Bulldogs return from their bye week for the team’s first District 6-3A, D-II matchup, a home bout with the Rio Vista Eagles at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Millsap Bulldogs return from their bye week with a 3-2 record and point differential of 112-66, a pair of marks the team will look to further build on when the District 6-3A, D-II opponent Rio Vista Eagles (2-3) come to town at 7 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

Millsap took advantage of the extra practice time to get healthy, while players worked extensively in their respective position groups over the break, Head Coach Jake Johnson said.

“During the bye week, we placed a major emphasis on recovery, regeneration and skill development,” Johnson said.

“Practices were dedicated to allowing our players plenty of time to work with their position coaches at honing their skills.”

The Bulldogs will get their first chance to put that extra practice to the test against the Eagles, whom the former defeated, 21-15 last season.

While Rio Vista sits below .500, the team has won two (Rosebud-Lott and Kerens) of its last three games.

Johnson said the Eagles’ offense possesses a good mix of size, strength and speed, adding that discipline on the defensive side will be key to negating those benefits.

“Rio Vista runs a system that gets the ball to multiple players,” Johnson said.

“They are big up front and have some good skill kids. 

“Defensively,  we must play disciplined assignment football and be solid tacklers.”

The Eagles’ defense has allowed an average 26 points per game this season, a number which matches up fairly evenly with the Bulldogs’ average point total of 22 per game.

Millsap’s ground attack has played heavily into that scoring average, with the team having put up 100-plus rushing yards in four of five contests this season (as well as a combined 433 over the team’s last two games).

Conversely, while Rio Vista heads into Friday owning a similar scoring average of 26 points per game, Millsap’s defense has restricted 2019 opponent’s to half of that (an average 13 points allowed per game).

Both teams enter Friday with a heavy veteran presence.

Like Millsap, which returned 16 lettermen and 12 starters from 2018, Rio Vista benefits from sizable player experience.

The Eagles returned 11 lettermen (compared to only five lost) as well as 16 starters from last year.

Granted, that experience has helped translate into only a 130-131 point differential through five games.

However, Millsap’s players are not overlooking Rio Vista and remain as focused as ever, Johnson stressed. 

“As always, we’re focused on us and doing what we do,” Johnson said.

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