C-P continuing Cinderella season
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 24, 2004 - COMO - The Cinderella season for the Como-Pickton Eagles continues tonight with a District 17-2A showdown against the Grand Saline Indians at Indians Stadium for their second straight homecoming contest.

Coach Joe Ryzman's Eagles went through the non-district schedule unscathed at 4-0, outscoring their opponents 178-52 in the process.

"There is nothing good about a first-half team or a second-half team. What you are looking for as a coach is a team that comes out and plays four solid quarters," Ryzman said. "I want to start off controlling the game from the first quarter, the first series and continue to control it through the whole game."

Como-Pickton defeated the Rivercrest Rebels 60-0, the Celeste Blue Devils 43-7, came-from-behind against the Harmony Eagles 33-25, and out-dueled the Collinsville Pirates 35-20 last week.

Coach Davy Dubose's Indians (1-3) experienced losses against the Van Vandals 41-8, the Canton Eagles 47-13 and the New Diana Eagles last week 29-12. The team's only win came against the Mineola Yellowjackets 35-33 during Week Two.

Grand Saline is coming off of a 5-6 record and a playoff appearance last year in Dubose's first season with the program.

CPHS is favored by 10 points by the Harris Ratings system.

Last year, the Indians pulled out a 7-6 victory at Como-Pickton and this year Ryzman hopes the team is motivated to begin district play with the rematch in Grand Saline.

"I expect my team will be excited and motivated to go out and play," Ryzman said. "They not only remember the loss that we had last year, but they are also fired up about starting district."

Quarterback Clay Hamessley (5-10, 170) returns for Grand Saline this season after completing 78-of-196 passes for 1,024 yards last year. He also had four touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Ryzman said from what he has seen on film in preparation for the game, Grand Saline runs a wing-T offense and has some kids that have great size on the offensive line.

Offensive lineman T.J. Calvert (260 pounds), a player to watch according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine, Clay Barnett (265) and Chase Sanchez (250) give Hamessley protection this season on the line, but Ryzman believes the Eagles will be able to handle them.

"Our defensive line are returning starters from last year so I have confidence in their ability to handle any offensive lineman. So we will have to utilize our quickness and our strength to overcome their size," Ryzman said.

The Eagles will look toward J.J. Robinson, Nathan Boatman, Jonathan and Justin Cameron, Alex Mowat and Kaleb Mosley to control the Grand Saline lineman.

Ryzman believes staying healthy and playing smart for four quarters of football will guide the Eagles along through the district season.

"We are going to be playing teams with a lot more depth than what we have and we will be seeing teams like, for instance this week, Grand Saline will be having 30 kids on their roster and we will be having 17 kids," Ryzman said. "It is not a question of our best 11 kids against their best 11 kids, but if we will be able to play four quarters of football with a team that has a lot more depth and stay healthy."

Ryzman said for the Eagles to get back into the playoffs after a 5-6 playoff season in 2002, the team has three goals in mind for the remainder of the year.

"Three things come to mind. The first one is we have got to play four quarters of football like we did in the past two games in the second half," Ryzman said. "Next thing is we have got to stay healthy as a team, and the final thing is we have got to stay eligible."

Other district 17-2A contest tonight will have the Alba-Golden Panthers (0-4) traveling to Quitman (4-0), while Lone Oak receives the bye week, and Caddo Mills (1-3) travels to Edgewood (3-1). Kickoff for these games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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