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Home News-Telegram Sports C-P Eagles want to seal season with win

C-P Eagles want to seal season with win

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COMO — It will be the final night of high school football for the nine Como-Pickton Eagle seniors. Their goal is to walk away from Ron Heflin Field on Friday with a sweet Senior Night victory, as they are favored against the visiting Alba-Golden Panthers.

“These kids were the first group I coached here at Como-Pickton as an assistant,” recalled Como-Pickton Eagles head football coach Paul Tullis. “They have always been a spirited and hard working bunch that likes to play the game. They have competed hard and accomplished some good things that have set a solid foundation for the future here at Como-Pickton.” Senior football players include: Brandt Steele, Joseph Thornhill, Jeff Hendricks, Corey Gibson, James Carter, Hunter Cooksey, Matthew Ford, Robert Carden, and Merced Ramirez.

This year’s team is still seeking a district win with the Panthers in their sights. The Eagles have shown improvement on the field despite the unusually muddy season, in the polls—rising to new levels (currently 157 on Harris Ratings Poll), but not always on the scoreboard with the only win against Cumby, 22-14, kicking off the 2009 season.

Driving the Eagles’ ground force has been senior James Carter as the lead rusher with 169 carries for 1,023 yards for the season with eight touchdowns. He wasn’t the lone rusher at the top as classmate Brandt Steele chalked up triple-digit yardage with 28 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

“James (Carter) has matured and is a great runner. He is a four-year letterman that will be missed on the field and in the locker room,” said Tullis on the rushing duo. “Brandt (Steele) has been a three-year starter on the varsity and has done a great job this year.”

Making the connection through the air this year has been primarily senior Jeff Hendricks and junior Zach Carpenter from the quarterback position. Leading the Eagles’ receiving game has been sophomore Trevor Cagle with 13 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns and senior Hunter Cooksey with 11 receptions for a gain of 121 yards over the past nine games.

“Trevor (Cagle) is definitely a weapon. He needs to get a little thicker in the weight room to improve his durability, but we expect big things from him the next two years. Hunter (Cooksey) is probably the most improved player on the team. We really needed his leadership this year, and he has done an excellent job at receiver. Hunter is a very coachable kid who will do anything to help the team,” added Tullis.

It would be hard to guess it was the first week of November judging by the current weather at practice. Tullis was excited about the current forecast.

“Great weather and great practices. The last week is always good because you have cooler weather, and the kids know it as the last few practices for a while or the last ones for good. When things are so wet and muddy, it is counter-productive to try to practice much in it. It ruins the equipment, and makes it hard for the kids to focus when they are covered in mud. The risk of injury is also significantly increased in poor conditions. The sun and dry ground is a welcomed blessing,” said the coach.

On the other side of the ball is the Eagles’ opponent—the Panthers. This team has really struggled the past two seasons with coaching changes and losses. New at the helm is coach Gary Schultz, but is still without a win for this season.

“He is working hard to instill hard work and dedication from his players,” commented Tullis on the progress Schultz has made mustering 29 points for to their opponents’ 365 points.

“I think it is still a holdover from the past when they were not playing kids at all levels. Two years ago, they had one junior high team so the seventh graders didn’t get to play and learn because the eighth graders were playing, and they did not have a JV team either so those kids were not playing and learning. The senior classes then were pretty much all three-year starters so the kids playing last year were like a JV team just learning how to play the game. They definitely needed to build some consistency in the program, and I think Coach Schultz is a good choice,” said Tullis.

The most impressive outcome on their schedule was four weeks ago with the 57-13 final against Lone Oak.

“(Cody) Floyd broke three long runs, two of which made it to the end zone,” mentioned Tullis on their 6-2, 165-pound senior tailback that sports the number two jersey. “He is a fast kid who has broke long runs in all of the games we have seen.”

Adding to the Panthers’ rushing is 6-1, 200-pound senior Juan Rendon (number three jersey).

Tullis said, “Their fullback, Juan Rendon, is a big kid who can pound it straight ahead so our front has to be solid to stop him.”

Rounding out the top spots on the Panther roster sporting jersey number four is short but potent 5-3, 120-pound sophomore quarterback Colton Lennon making the plays to Floyd and Rendon.

Tullis had this to say about him,         “Seems like a tough kid, I’ve seen him get smashed a few times and he just keeps playing. I’m sure he has the confidence of the players and coaches or he wouldn’t be playing that position.”

It will be Como-Pickton’s plan to have football smarts and react to anything that Alba-Golden can throw at them.

“They run mostly double tights with three backs in the backfield. They did run an unbalanced wing in one of the games, but it was in just one game. We’ll prepare for it and the three back attack. They are desperate for a win and will probably try anything to get it,” said Tullis.

The Panthers have a solid defensive wall with more than six players over the 200-pound range and mainly seniors.

“They try to bunch as many in the box as possible to gang tackle. Spreading them out kind of takes them out of their comfort zone. They play a basic split 6 defense so as you spread them out and go unbalanced you force them to make adjustments,” Tullis said as he prepares his final adjustments to the Eagle game plan.

Regardless of the fact that the Eagles are the 35-point favorite in the Harris Ratings poll. “We have to remember to show up and play hard,” said Tullis. “They (Alba-Golden) are pretty simple but try to do what they do well. They come off the ball hard and run hard so we have to be ready to play. We have to cover everyone because they won’t be holding anything back for this game”

Senior Night activities at Como-Pickton this Friday will commence at 7 p.m. with the Football Sweetheart Ceremony prior to kickoff at 7:30 between the Eagles and the Panthers. At halftime, the Como-Pickton Band Beau and Sweetheart will be announced with Senior Recognition immediately following the game.

In conclusion, Tullis had these final words for his departing seniors.

“I will miss all of them and wish them the best of luck in the future. Go salmon heads!”

NOTE- The Como-Pickton Eagles will travel to Alba-Golden tonight the JH game begins at 5 p.m. followed by JV.

Cumby JH Trojans will host the Celeste Blue Devils tonight at 5 p.m. (There will not be any JV games.)

District 13-2A Standings

OVERALL               DISTRICT

Team                          W-L        PF-PA           W-L

Lone Oak                    8-1        364-156         6-0

Caddo Mills                 7-2        317-128         5-1

Winnsboro                   5-4        256-208         5-1

Quitman                       4-5        133-191         4-2

Cooper                          4-5        209-176         2-4

Grand Saline                2-7        150-300         2-4

Como-Pickton                1-8        129-327         0-6

Alba-Golden                 0-9          29-365         0-6




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