|Wildcats want to extend Lions' streak|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Oct. 21, 2004 - Sulphur Springs and Greenville seem to be streaking in opposite directions going into their District 12-4A meeting on Friday night, but SSHS head coach Brad Turner knows what to expect from the Lions.
"You would really think they'd pull out on all stops. Onside kicks and tricks, and we've got to prepare that way and expect that. We expect a good effort from them," Turner said.
"Their backs are to the wall. If they lose, they're out of the playoff picture. We fully expect them to have some fight left in them. You have to prepare for them just like they're undefeated because they're playing for their lives."
The Wildcats (2-0 in 12-4A, 6-1 overall) host the Lions (0-2, 1-6) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gerald Prim Stadium, with SSHS Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for four former Wildcats to start 30 minutes before kick off. Being inducted are Jerry Dabbs and Keith Gray, both from the Class of '76, Gary Franklin, Class of '78, and Cody Vanderford, Class of '83.
Greenville comes into the game on a five-game losing streak with its lone win coming against Carrollton Newman Smith, 37-33, while Sulphur Springs has won six in a row after losing its season opener. The Lions are averaging under 17 points per game, while Sulphur Springs is putting up 40.5.
Still, it is Greenville that the Wildcats are playing, so Turner expects to face an all-out effort.
The Wildcats, though, have their own motivation. Not only did Greenville come back to steal a 35-30 victory last year at Prim Stadium to extend their mastery over SSHS to five years, but a win over the Lions would almost virtually secure a playoff spot for the Wildcats (see accompanying story for details).
"I've never beaten Greenville on the varsity level," Turner said. "We felt like we had them beat last year and let them come back. It's just one of those deals that's important to me personally to get a win against that bunch because they're always good. You always want to do well against Greenville.
"But, above all, we need to win this game because it solidifies a playoff spot for us. That's important, plus it eliminates the only school that could allow Texas High to be small school (in the playoffs)."
To beat Greenville, Turner said the offense needs to play the way it did against Mount Pleasant, when they put up nine touchdowns and didn't have a turnover.
Greenville is allowing 33 points per game, though they held North Lamar to just 269 yards of total offense last week. Five turnovers were the Lions' undoing in that contest.
"Defensively, they have speed, but we feel like there are areas we can attack," Turner said. "We finally played a full four quarters last week and look what we did. We certainly don't want to go back making mistakes. It's going to take that kind of effort these last two weeks to have a chance at a district championship."
On defense, the Wildcats will key on D.Q. Rhoden, who is their leading ballcarrier with 262 yards and five touchdowns on 77 carries. Fullback Don Hune and quarterback Colton Cummings both have right at 200 yards rushing.
Cummings has also thrown for 794 yards and three touchdowns on 69-of-155 passing with six interceptions.
Perhaps their top playmaker is speedy wide slot receiver Justin Lockridge.
"They've got talent and speed as always. They're not as good up front as they have been in the past, but their quarterback's good," Turner said. "Their running back, Rhoden, is fast and quick enough to hurt you if you don't tackle him.
"We need to same type of effort from our defense that they've given us all year."
The Wildcats counter with a balanced offense of 1,279 yards rushing and 1,039 yards passing. Junior Chris Person leads the ground attack with 724 yards and seven TDs on 88 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Logan Turner had his best game of the season last week in throwing for 269 yards to up his season total to 950 yards and eight TDs on 81-of-150 passing.
Defensively middle linebacker David Barnes continues to lead the team in tackles with 70. Free safety Keenan Clayton is second in tackles with 66, plus he has four returns (punt, kick off, interception and fumble) for touchdowns and leads the team in scoring with 56 points.