SSHS opponent looks familiar
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 9, 2004 - When the Sulphur Springs Wildcats look at their opponent Friday night, they will see a team that more closely resembles Jacksonville than Forney.

The Wildcats will kickoff Friday's game at 7:30 p.m. at T.A. "Cotton" Ford Stadium in Greenville against the Mesquite Poteet Pirates, a team that will look familiar to the Wildcats (1-1).

The Pirates closely resemble Jacksonville, the Wildcats' first opponent of the season, in scheme and athletic ability.

"They're pretty good, and it'll be a good test," said SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "I think they're better offensively than Jacksonville and probably just as good defensively."

The Pirates' 2-0 record bears out their ability. They have beaten Denton, 14-7, and McKinney North, 26-23 in overtime, to open the season.

They have done it by running the ball out of the I-formation with a 1-2 punch of tailback Taylor Dupree, who has carried the ball 39 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns, and fullback James Bester (24-180-1), behind a big offensive line that averages 240 pounds, anchored by the right guard Tim Roundtree (6-1, 265).

The Pirates use two quarterbacks in sophomore Seth Sartain (6-2, 175) and senior Calvin Smith (5-10, 170). Sartain has completed 13-of-22 passes for 154 yards, while Smith has thrown just three times, completing two. Neither quarterback has thrown a TD pass or interception in two games.

Turner, though, pointed out that the Poteet passing attack is designed to loosen up the defense, as Jansen Hyde, the Class 4A reigning champ in the 300-meter hurdles, is one of their top receivers with four receptions for 69 yards. The other is Patrick Henry with 10 catches for 95 yards.

"They've got good enough skill guys to throw it deep every now and then to keep you honest. Their passing game isn't very complicated, but they'll raise up and throw it deep to those good athletes. You've got to have a plan for that," Turner said.

"They'll roll two or three different tailbacks in the game. They like to run the ball with their power game and trap being their two best plays. They're big up front, so it'll be a test for our defense to see if we can sustain against some of that power running game."

Defensively, the Pirates will put two-way starters Jansen and Henry man-to-man on the outside receivers, much like Jacksonville did, and commit to stopping the run with a three-down linemen, three-linebacker set.

"Their speed concerns me. They're going to play man-to-man, so our receivers have to do a better job of separating and we're going to have to take advantage of some of that," the coach said. "If we run the ball as well as we did last week, that'll take care of some of that because they'll have to commit more guys to the run. But, it'll be a challenge.

"Their line is big, linebackers are active, and secondary is fast."

Their best defensive player is middle linebacker Brock Hess (5-11, 205), the son of Poteet head coach Charles Hesse.

The Wildcats will have to counter that with the same offensive punch they showed in the second half of last week's 42-0 win at Forney. They rushed for more than 300 yards in the game behind a 188-yard effort by junior Chris Person.

If Sulphur Springs continues to play special teams like they did against Forney, it will be a bonus as well. Keelan Green returned one punt for a 90-yard touchdown, and Spenser Daniel booted two field goals.

Poteet, conversely, has kicked just two extra points and no field goals this season.

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