Trojans back in familiar territory: Cumby can clinch playoff berth with win over Wolfe City

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Nov. 1, 2007 - CUMBY - It's deja' vu all over again for the Cumby Trojans.

After a 3-0 start last year in District 16-A and a 3-0 start this district season, the Trojans (6-2 overall) face their toughest test of the district campaign against the Wolfe City Wolves (3-5, 2-1) Friday night in Wolfe City. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"It is very similar to the way that it was done last year," Cumby head coach Kent Hawthorne said. "At this time, we were 3-0 in district and we had two let downs back-to-back. That is what we are trying to avoid this year and we are preaching that we are a different football team than we were last year.

"We are doing some things better than we were last year and hopefully our kids will rise up and defeat Wolfe City. That is the main thing that we are preaching is defeating Wolfe City because the last four years they have been pretty loaded. They are still loaded and they have a lot of weapons, but they are beatable now."

Cumby can clinch a playoff berth by beating Wolfe City or if Celeste loses to A+ Academy on Friday.

The Trojans are currently on a three-game winning streak with victories over Dallas A+ (40-0), Celeste (56-20) and Fruitvale (49-6) and have outscored opponents 149-26 in those three games.

Hawthorne said those scores could play a factor in the way the team comes out to play against Wolfe City.

"The only thing that worries me coming into this game is that we have had three blowouts in a row," he said. "In two of those blowouts, the whole second half has been running the clock so we have come in playing only two full games."

First-year coach Todd Palmer's Wolves come into this week's game in unfamiliar territory after an 11-1 regional finalist season last year. The Wolves lost 15 seniors to graduation and are currently in third place in the 16-A standings.

"They are one of the best 3-5 football teams that I have ever seen in the state of Texas. They have played a tough schedule and they have a lot of speed," Hawthorne said. "They run some things that scare us, and we have to make sure that our guys are doing what we coach them to do. We need to play as hard as we have been playing, and our defense has been playing really well."

Hawthorne said after watching the film, the Wolves run out of the spread formation with quarterback Emmanuel Akers - who made the switch from wide receiver during the offseason.

"They are running the spread now and they have a quarterback that is a threat running and throwing," Hawthorne said. "They have a freshman fullback that runs hard and they have a couple of other kids that are good athletes. James King is their tailback and Cory Peel is their best receiver, and they play hard."

For only the third time this season, the Cumby offense will see the 4-3 defensive package and Hawthorne said seeing a familiar package has helped the team during practices this week.

"I like our chances and the kids are playing hard and playing good. We are preparing them for this week and to beat Wolfe City," he said. "I don't foresee this game as being a blowout but a dogfight. Hopefully, the team that plays the best and makes the least amount of mistakes will win the game."

Notes: Players of the Week were Brixx Hawthorne and Kris Stanford for Offensive Players of the Week, Defensive Player of the Week were C.J. Ringenberg, Special Teams Player of the Week was Dustin Clem, Big Hit was Rodney Hobbs, the Milk Players of the Week were Jason Wallace, who graded out at 98 percent, and Bobby Anderson, and the Headhunter was B.T. Brown.

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