|Cumby, A-G looking to start season off right|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
August 27, 2004 - CUMBY - After months of preparation for the start of Zero Week action, the time, date, and location has been set for the Cumby Trojans and the Alba-Golden Panthers.
After combining for a 2-18 record last season, each team looks to pick up its first win of the season tonight at Panther Stadium in Alba. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Second-year coach Kent Hawthorne's Trojans ended the 2003 season with a record of 2-8, while Alba-Golden went 0-10 under head coach Alan Phillips.
"Coach Phillips does a great job with those kids. Watching those kids on film they look motivated, they are flying to the ball and doing what they are supposed to do," Hawthorne said. "They will be fired up because they believe this is a game they could win, and they will play their best. We believe this is a game we could win, and we want to start the season off right."
Hawthorne said Alba-Golden looks better than they did last year but believes they are beatable coming into the game.
After losing to the Como-Pickton Eagles in their final scrimmage of the preseason 22-0 last week, Hawthorne said the team got back to the basics this week in preparation for the Panthers.
"We got back to the basics. We felt like we had too much on them trying to run too many formations, and we had players confused because they were playing out of position due to injuries and other situations," Hawthorne said.
The loss of lineman Chris Steward (6-3, 270), who tore his ACL on the first play of their scrimmage against Karnack two weeks ago, was a tough one for the team, Hawthorne said.
"We are as healthy as we can be right now expect for the loss of Chris. He is probably out for three to four weeks because we don't want to rush him in getting back on the field," he explained. "That is a hard hole to fill right now, and I know it is eating him up."
Cumby has 14 starters returning for the 2004 season and will be looking for quarterback Matt Steward, Nick Dyer, Charle Chavez, Rusty Vaughan and Trent McGraw to have a breakout year for the team.
The Panthers look to end a two-year winless streak and bring back 14 starters, including quarterback Rob Thomas and running backs Corey Hobbs and Stefan Posey.
Alba-Golden is picked to finish in last place in district 17-2A according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine this year. The Harris Rating System, though, has made the Panthers a six-point favorite.
Hawthorne believes this will be a great game to watch and a great game to coach in because these are two teams that are evenly matched and the team that makes the least amount of mistakes will come out with the win.
The Trojans are on the road next week against Rockwall Christian before returning home against Maud Sept. 3. Kickoff for both games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
"That is definitely our goal because we scheduled four non-district games that we believe we can win. We need to get every win we can get because it will add to our confidence," Hawthorne said. "We have got to win these games because they are must-wins for us."