By DON WALLACE
News-Telegram Sports Editor
While the outdoor summer football practices might have felt like a frying pan, the regular season could be a red-hot fire.
Sulphur Springs not only faces a tough district schedule, but their non-district slate is pretty wicked indeed.
The Wildcats open the year at Rockwall-Heath Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the gridiron debut for both clubs. The Hawks have been installed as a six-point favorite.
"We start with Heath, then play Sherman, have our regular battle with Whitehouse, get an open date and we play Texas High to start district," said Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach. "We have got to mature quickly. We still haven’t jelled as a team."
Owens then started to list all the names, positions of standout players for Heath.
"They have five or six division one players," Owens said. "Maybe more as the season goes on. When they step off the bus, they look really good. They are big, physical kids, they move extremely well. They're dropping down from 6A to 5A. They are used to played big teams."
Heath's coach also has a local connection. Mickey Moss, the head football coach, is a Sulphur Springs graduate.
"Heath runs the power down hill at you. They try to smash you," Owens said. "We're excited about the opportunity."
Owens said that the Wildcats and Hawks are both led by solid, experienced and talented offensive lines. The coach added that seeing a power team like Rockwall-Heath is good practice for the some of the juggernauts in 15-5A.
"Texas High, Longview do the same thing. So we can tell right away against Heath if we are doing what we need to work more on run defense," Owens said. "Our kids get to see early how a physical team plays."
Owens said, "On defense they run to the ball well. They play a 3-3 stack with an odd front. They don't gamble or blitz much. They are fundamentally sound. Probably the best part of their defense is their secondary. I expect an exciting and spirited game of both sides, both getting after it."
The Wildcats are still getting use to changes in positions and new players in different locations. Some are making the move from Thursday to Friday night football, which is a huge step.
"Our defensive ends are ahead of some areas, Carson Hicks is playing well," Owens said. "Our back end is kind of thin. We have two corners and five safeties who will have to rotate in."
Owens said overall team depth is also another big question with 32 players suiting up. Many of the players will be going both ways under steamy conditions.
"A key for us will be controlling the tempo," Owens said. "We can't afford many three and outs. We have to move the ball and score. We need to get them tired. Then that helps out our team. Our defense was not really built to line up and grind with a team. We have to fly around and make plays."
Follow I-30 W to I-30 Frontage Rd in Rockwall. Take exit 68 from I-30 W; Drive to T L Townsend Dr,; Merge onto I-30 Frontage Rd; Turn right onto T L Townsend Dr.; Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium is located at 1201 T.L. Townsend Dr.
|< Prev||Next >|