Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the best team of them all.
Sulphur Springs is known as a high-powered offensive machine which scored a lot of points and allowed a few points as well.
Wylie East is the same type of team.
Looking over their stats, it makes you glance at the pile of Sulphur Springs numbers and then flash over the Wylie East stack and say - ditto.
Sulphur Springs averages 48 points a game. Wylie East puts up 41 a game. The Raiders give up 32 points a game, the Wildcats surrender an average of 36 points per game.
The Wildcats finished district play with the No. 2 ranked offense and No. 2 defense.
Each team runs the spread attack and has a 1,000-yard running back and a quarterback with more than 2,000-yards passing.
Sulphur Springs is listed as a two-point favorite in the game.
The teams collide Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Ron Poe Stadium in McKinney.
"It's been a good week. The kids have gotten after it and worked hard. The excitement of the playoffs has us ready to go," Owens said. "We are even more focused to the varsity this week, since we are not preparing the freshmen and junior varsity teams for games. We have given several of the JV guys the chance to join the varsity. They are getting playoff experience as well. The focus is there. The preparation is not that different since Wylie East is similar to us. We are working on tendencies and getting players prepared. Both teams are alike and there are good players on both sides of the ball."
Owens continued, "Wylie East is well-coached, they do a good job. You get to this point, every team is like that. They are very consistent. They don't anything that flashy even though they have players who are going to Division I schools. They have some really good players. You see sound blockers, their line puts a hat on a hat, just like we do. We are mirror images of each other. Several teams you throw in one boat, use Ennis, Wylie East, Sherman and we are alike It comes down to little things and turnovers. None of the teams in our bracket dominate. Everyone is pretty dang good, they are consistent and they are winning games. The records reflect that, we are 8-2 playing a 7-3 team in Wylie East. The common opponent we had is Sherman. We lost to Sherman, but we are different ball team now. There's a lot of parity."
Describing the Wylie East offense, Owens made it simple - "they’re just like us."
"They are about 50-50 run and pass, they are balanced," Owens said. "They are consistent, they get big bodies on you. They had not really shown that they will go down the field a lot. But they have big kids, several who are 6-3, 6-4 guys. They are athletic and do a good job. They know what they are doing. It's a very consistent ball club."
The Wylie East defense could operate from a three or four man front.
"Their defense is good, they are very active. Jesse Brubaker is a player now, he is going to SMU," Owens said. "He will be on our right side, we hopefully have some answers. He brings a force and you better be ready to block him. We will double him, when we can double him. He tries to get into the backfield and create problems."
Sulphur Springs does have an edge of sorts on Wylie East. The Wildcats are riding a seven-game winning streak while the Raiders are trying to regroup for the playoffs after losing 58-32 to Lucas Lovejoy in their final district game.
"That does not matter, it all starts over. It still comes back to matchup," Owens said, "We can't turn the ball over. We got to do a better job of tackling. We have to match up and create plays. It's like the Mount Pleasant game. Make plays, do what we need to do to win the game. Nobody is going to be tricky in this game. We will run what we have been running. It's like Darrell Royal said, ‘We'll dance with the one who brung us.’ It's that kind of deal. We have to do what we do and do it well. It will come down to that. I ought to be a good matchup."
Owens said he hopes the game is not like the 71-65 game with Mount Pleasant.
"I hope not, I just don't know about that," Owens said. "Wylie East has good players and can score points too. It's a tough time in this day and age of trying to control a matchup on defense to get a stop against the spread offense. These days you don't judge how much yardage you gave up, but how many defensive stops you had. People are just that good offensively to put points on the board. We have to win on the scoreboard and in the number of stops."
Owens said he wants his team to get a quick start against Wylie East.
"You can't hit a knockout punch in the first quarter, but you can set the tone," Owens said. "We want to set the tone and get the lead early if we can. It's better to be ahead, but you have to be able to come back and match scores."
In a strange twist of circumstances, Owens will be coaching the Wildcats in the same stadium where he coached his first game as head coach of Sulphur Springs.
"That game did not come out well, I remember that," Owens said of the 32-7 loss in the 2006 opener against McKinney.
"The stadium really does not matter, some people are superstitious about that. I have places I had rather play than others. This field is turf and we both will be playing on turf and that's fine with me. I don't think either team has an edge. It should be a great high school game," Owens added.
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