Eagles look to be mentally prepared for Rebels in season opener
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 1, 2006 - COMO - It's football time in Texas as the Como-Pickton Eagles open the� season against the Rivercrest Rebels tonight at Ron Heflin Field.

"I have been really impressed with the offensive workouts this week, and overall I feel like we have had some good workouts and I think the kids are ready," said CPHS head coach Joe Ryzman.�

The Eagles come into the contest, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., with 23 players on the varsity roster and Ryzman hopes the kids will be focused for the first game of the year.

"Our big thing is to be mentally prepared this time, not like Sabine where we were shell-shocked after the first couple of scores," he said. "We need to be prepared like we where against Cumby and Harmony and if we do that then we will be fine."

C-P will open the season with junior Noe Tellez under center and sophomore Austin Darby as the backup. Ryzman said both quarterbacks have looked good this week.

"Our passing game right now is where I want to see it, but we need to continue to get better at it," the coach said.

One area that Ryzman is concerned about heading into tonight's game is with the kicking game as they have not been able to work against another team since both scrimmages were offensive workouts.

"I am nervous about the special teams just because we haven't had an opportunity in a live quarter to see where our special teams is right now," Ryzman said. "That is always to be expected in Game 1 because you never had had much practice on special teams.

"James Carter and Alex Williams will be running back our kickoffs and we will have Justin Payton punting and Noe will be the kicker this year."

Ryzman said his skill position players are looking good as the starters will be Alex Mowat at fullback, Williams at wingback and Carter at slotback, while Phillip Cox and Juan Batista will be the starting wide receivers.

"We are going to run a formation with a wingback and a slotback with one back in the backfield and put those guys into motion. It is a Wing T type of blocking up front," the coach said. "As far as our basic running plays you will see a lot of what we did last year, but out of a different formation and a lot more motion."

Rivercrest comes into the season with a jump in classification into District 15-2A for the next two years and will rely on the arm of quarterback Destry Nolen and the running of Robert Rhodes - the team's leading returning rusher with 50 carries for 400 yards and six touchdowns as a junior.

"They have some big kids and they are a physical ball club," he said. "I expect to see a Rivercrest offense who maintains ball control and tries to establish a ground attack against us throughout the game."

Ryzman said after the Eagles' performances against Harmony, Cumby and Sabine in scrimmage action during the past two weeks, one key area keeps coming up.

"Consistency is a big question mark in my mind right now. Our offense didn't shine as much against Harmony and Cumby as they did against Sabine. Our defense didn't shine as much as they did against Sabine as they did against Harmony and Cumby," Ryzman said. "I want to see more consistency with the defensive line because they haven't impressed me during practice this week."

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