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Home News-Telegram Sports Open Week Used Wisely; Wildcats prepare for final stretch run in District 13-4A race

Open Week Used Wisely; Wildcats prepare for final stretch run in District 13-4A race

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Being a veteran coach has changed the way Greg Owens approaches an open week.

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats came into the open week after suffering back-to-back District 13-4A losses.

But Owens was anything but harsh to his team. He knows the players are in it for the long run. This time off can be good for them. Even if they have a bad taste in their mouths over the last two defeats.

“I used to think that an open week was a chance to get an extra week of practice. That we could go full speed for five days. It doesn’t work like that,” Owens said with a chuckle.

“The players get tired, they know they are practicing this week without and opponent,” Owens said. “They know we need work on some plays, but they also need rest.”

Owens said he gave the varsity players Saturday, Tuesday and Friday off. Other days they lifted weights or studied video.

“We want to be strong for the stretch run,” Owens said. “We have three big games left and we need to win them all. If we do that then we will be the No. 1 small school in district.”

The wet weather has also hampered practicing. The regular football practice areas were saturated with water. So Wednesday’s practice was moved the track field which has better drainage and is used less than the practice fields which are used by the varsity, JV and freshmen.

“Our practices we all right, but they haven’t had an edge to them,” Owens admitted. “We were polishing a few things and working on fundamentals. They don’t have anything to play for this week. They go home early after school.”

Owens said it was a good time for players to rehab and work out the bumps, bruises and soreness for seven weeks of the season.

“You can also work on another part of your game. Work on the things you are good at and get even better. Then practice the areas you need improvement,” Owens said.

In a perfect world with a schedule set to your strong points, the bye or open week would fall the week before district begins.

The coach said, “It did not work out like that for us, we’re in the middle of district. We have three crucial games left. We have to take care of business in our final three district games.”

Owens said the 2008 team was in the same exact position last year. They won the non-district games, then lost to Longview and Texas High.

That team won the next nine games and a state Class 4A, Division II title.

“Last year at this same time, I did not even know if we were very good. We really didn’t start playing well until later in the year. We were really clicking in the playoffs,” Owens said. “This year, I still don’t know about this team. We are playing defense pretty well. Our offense is starting to do some things well. We just need more consistency. We have not reached our full potential. I think we can be better and we are working toward being better with each practice and in every game.”

Owens said the players and coaches have already discussed their next opponent.

The Wildcats return to district play Oct. 23 in Mount Pleasant.

“It’s Mount Pleasant and we know what they will do,” Owens said. “One good thing about playing the same people and coaches each year, you know what they will do. Of course, they know us too. But Mount Pleasant is not thinking about us. They have a game Friday with the Lobos.”

Sulphur Springs have been  successful in recent years against Mount Pleasant. Last year the Wildcats took a 48-21 win.

“Kids are resilient, we are working on what is really important,” Owens said. “We want to be healthy and in good shape for another run. We have several games to go before we start thinking about the playoffs.”

 

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