CPHS and Harmony looking for second win of season
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 9, 2005 - COMO - Como-Pickton head coach Joe Ryzman knows tonight's contest against the Harmony Eagles will be one of the toughest test they will face this season as they are two touchdowns underdogs by the Harris Ratings Poll.

"The size and the caliber of their athletes are better than what we have seen so far, so this is going to be a true test," the coach said. 

"If our kids go out and perform the way they can, then we should be able to compete with anyone that we play. I am not paying any attention to the polls and all that. I am paying attention to what I need to do to help my team be successful, and with that being said, this is going to be our biggest test of the year and this is the best team that we have played up to this time."

Both teams come into tonight's contest with identical 1-1 records, just like last year when both teams entered the contest with 2-0 records and CPHS left with a 33-25 come-from-behind win as quarterback Josh Biggerstaff sealed the win for C-P on an 83-yard dash down the sideline.

But this season is a whole new ballgame, and Ryzman said controlling the football with quarterback Trent Vail and running back Ray Hayden will be a major key in pulling out the win.

"We have got to control the ball on offense and we have got to play better defense as far as controlling the line of scrimmage and making better tackles," he said. "We need to offensively control the football and not have any turnovers, and then while we are controlling the ball we need to put it in the endzone."

Hayden is averaging 281 yards a game this season and is on pace to set the single season rushing record that Larrin Porter set  during the 2001 season with 2,053 yards. Hayden has 562 yards and nine touchdowns in two games this season.

Hayden set the single game rushing record with 348 yards on 21 carries and six touchdowns last week against Celeste in the Eagles' home opener.

�"That was the key as far as what we did during the offseason was getting him stronger in our powerlifting program and getting him faster during the track season," Ryzman said. "He has been working hard all year in terms of making himself a better back and with the progress he made, I felt like he was going to be better than he was last year."

In their first two games, the Eagles are averaging 38 points and scored their season-high in points last week against Celeste with a 56-28 home opening win and the defensive unit has not allowed a point in the third quarter this season. The defense has given up 28 points per game.

Ryzman said after watching the film from Harmony head coach Stony Coffman, who replaced Jerry Blankenship this season, he has a good idea of what his game plan will be.

"Offensively, he runs some I-formation and then gets into some wing-T stuff," the coach said. "Defensively, they run some split defense with some different looks with their middle linebackers coming up on the line of scrimmage."

Dave Campbell's magazine has recognized Harmony wide receiver and free safety Tyler Parsons as a player to watch and last year Parsons had two catches for 16 yards against CPHS in Como. He finished last season with 53 catches for 795 yards and seven touchdowns and on defense had 81 tackles and two interceptions as a key two-way starter.

"We watched the game film of Celeste on Saturday from Friday night's game and we always evaluate our weaknesses and work on those during the week in order to correct those for the upcoming game," the coach said. "We have been working on the tunnel pass which hurt us last week and we also worked on some other things that we felt needed work on."

In other pre-district 17-2A matchups, Alba-Golden travels to Overton, Caddo Mills travels to Princeton, Edgewood will host Eustace, Grand Saline hosts Mineola, Lone Oak hosts Tom Bean, and Quitman looks for its first win hosting Frankston.

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