SSHS coaches hope to see Forney's struggles continue
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 2, 2004 - SSHS head coach Brad Turner spent five seasons coaching at Forney, and assistant coaches Kyle Abshire and Josh Ragsdale graduated from there, but the SSHS coaching staff would like to see the Jackrabbits struggle for one more week.

Forney, coming off a 37-21 loss to Aledo, hosts Sulphur Springs (0-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Jackrabbits went three rounds deep in the Class 3A playoffs last season while compiling an 11-2 record, but were moved up to Class 4A this year and lost some key personnel to graduation.

"They struggled some offensively against Aledo," Coach Turner said. "They're like us - they're young. They graduated some good players. So, they're searching for the right combination as well."

Forney did score three touchdowns, but they all came in the fourth quarter after Aledo had taken a big lead. In the opening three quarters, the Jackrabbits punted six times and lost two interceptions.

A traditional wing-T offense, Forney has diversified some in the early going this year as they have lined up in an I and off-set I formations as well as some shotgun.

"I think they're searching for their way," Turner said.

The Wildcat defense will try to keep them from finding it. Sulphur Springs gave up just two touchdowns in regulation play last week, and one of those resulted from a blocked punt. Jacksonville had just one lengthy drive.

"We need to basically play like we did against Jacksonville defensively," Turner said. "We can't give up the big play. If we make them drive, I think we'll be in good shape."

Offensively, though, the Wildcats will be looking for more punch after accumulating less than 200 yards of total offense against the fast, aggressive Jacksonville defense.

Sophomore Logan Turner will start at quarterback for the Wildcats after junior Josh Riley got last week's starting nod. Coach Turner said the QB rotation will change some this week after they rotated series in the season opener. If a quarterback leads a scoring drive, he will stay in the game for the next series.

"We're going to do more of a progressive rotation," he explained. "It'll be a make-it, take-it situation that will give them a little better opportunity to lead the team down the field."

The offense will also get returning starter Rolaundo Wright (6-4, 195) back at wide receiver. Wright missed the Whitehouse scrimmage and the season opener because of an abdominal injury, but will be in the starting lineup. Last season, he caught 33 passes for 550 yards and three touchdowns.

That, combined with the coaching staff's knowledge of the Forney scheme prompts Turner to believe the offense will execute better.

"I coached on the defensive side over there for a few years, so I know what they're doing. The secondary has changed a little bit, kind of with the evolution of the passing game, but as far as the front, it's the same," he said.

"I kind of know what they're seeing and what to expect. We've just got to find a way to attack it. We've got to block better and execute better. We've got to get all of our guys on the same page offensively at the same time."

The Jackrabbits should not be as athletic or as fast as Jacksonville, but the team has gone as least two rounds deep in the playoffs each of the last four years.

They return All-State kicker Collin Knowles, who made 45-of-47 extra points and 6-of-8 field goals including a long of 50 yards. Casey Wilson will start at quarterback after going 8-of-15 for 61 yards against Aledo. Tailback Terrance Ross rushed for 64 yards on 11 carries, and is complimented by 210-pound fullback Mekelle Webb.

Other than right tackle Chance Adams (6-0, 275), the rest of the Forney offensive line averages 210 pounds.

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