Wildcats preparing for Dension team facing some adversity
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 14, 2006 - Greg Owens saw how his team responded after a loss. Now, he will see how they respond after a victory.

Owens, head football coach at SSHS, is preparing his young team to face the explosive Denison Yellowjackets (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Munson Stadium in Denison.

After their opening loss to McKinney, the Wildcats responded in a positive fashion last week by beating Whitehouse 42-36. Now, the they must fight overconfidence as they get ready for a Denison team that is coming off a 56-31 loss to Waxahachie and may be without its star player.

Yellowjacket quarterback Stanley Morrison, the District 5-4A MVP as a junior, apparently suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half of Friday's game and did not play in the second half. His status for Friday night is undetermined.

If healthy, Morrison is the best athlete on the field. If not, Owens said Denison may react like a cornered animal.

"Sometimes you've got to be cautious to not let down a little bit knowing that their stud player is out, if he is out," Owens said. "On the other side of the ball, they've got to rally to get things done.

"I'm pretty apprehensive about going into this ball game with us having our mental focus right. This is a young team, and the maturation process is to go through all of this. Right now, it's been a couple of rough days, to be honest. We haven't had the focus we needed Monday and Tuesday."

In Denison's season-opening win over Greenville, Morrison ran for 257 yards and three TDs, including two of more than 70 yards each. If he's not healthy, Eric Chavez will play quarterback.

The Yellowjackets run a 1-back, shotgun formation. If Morrison is not in the game, the other skill players for the Yellowjackets get more involved.

"When he's in the game, it's one setting and it's all about him. When he's not in there, they get more kids involved because the other kid can't quite do what No. 11 can," Owens explained. "I don't know what's worse. I think we match up better with the other kids they have when he's not in there, but then they're more diverse on offense out of necessity."

With Morrison out, Chavez directed three touchdown drives of his own, so the Yellowjackets aren't without other weapons.

The Wildcats will have a chance to spoil Denison's homecoming, and if they play offensively like they did last week - when they scored six touchdowns - they'll have a good chance.

Quarterbacks Brittan Diamond and Tyrick Rollison rushed for a combined 167 yards and threw for 209 yards. Jeff Beck went over the 100-yard mark receiving.

Defensively, the Wildcats came up with three turnovers: interceptions by Ryan Gibson and Tanner Higgins, and a fumble recovery by Rashad Hall, but they also allowed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Denison, meanwhile, is also young on defense. The Yellowjackets do not have a returning defensive starter from last year, and four of their players start on both sides of the ball.

They gave up over 500 yards of total offense to Waxahachie.

"Watching them on film, they're going through some of the same things we're going through - missed tackles, missed assignments," Owens said. "We're starting to fix some things over here, and I know they're going through some of the same things over there. Plus, they're going to be a little more focused because their best player may be out.

"It's a challenge for us. This is Week 3, and they're a little beat up, but everybody in the state is going through the same thing. We're kind of in the mental grind of the season, but I'm excited about where we're at and what we've got."

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