STORY BY: BOB WRIGHT
The Temple Wildcats visit Tigerland Friday night for a 7:30 kickoff which will usher in “play for keeps” as the A&M Consolidated Tigers begin 12-5A district play.
Neither Tigers nor Wildcats have found easy going during the non-district schedule which has seen the Tigers drop all three of their outings while Temple comes into district with a 1-2 mark.
The Tigers, who have suffered costly interceptions over the course of the season, keep believing their wide-open style of attack brought in by new coach David Raffield, will take flight any time. For Consol and their loyal fans, that “any time” cannot come too soon, as the Tigers adjust to the new offensive style. They have come so close to winning all three, and despite the trio of disappointments, the Tigers continue their great work ethic and believing in each other as they get down to the nitty gritty of the district race.
Could be that Jacob Bronouski, Consol’s senior quarterback, will return to the lineup Friday evening on home turf after sitting out a couple of games to make sure an injury is properly healed. Weston Gardner, filling in for Barnouski, has completed 36 of 65 passes, but has fallen victim to four picks in the young season.
Consolidated has had to depend heavily on its big, quick, hard-hitting defense to keep the Tigers close in their first three games. That defense has shown signs of greatness, and the coaching staff hopes that trend will continue. The defense is anchored by linemen J.J. Bynum, Jimmie Gilbert and Fredrick Goodman. Each has flashed signs of brilliance in their containment of opposing runners, and with pass rushes, picks and fumble recoveries.
Linebacker Marshall Strain, and defensive backs Brett Mahnke and Josue Ordonez have been pretty consistent in making big plays.
Once that defense and the offense jell and erase some costly turnovers, the Consol Tigers could turn in one lethal unit, while living up to pre-season predictions, which placed them second in the district race.
The problems posed by the visiting Wildcats, coached by another first-year head coach Mike Spradlin, could come from junior QB Zach Allen, who has led the 12-5A pack in non-conference action with 40 completions on 73 attempts, producing three touchdowns. What really stands out is that he has not been intercepted. However, it should be an interesting matchup since Consol has some DBs who are pretty adept at picking off opposing passers. Junior Keith Buhl has 332 yards in receptions, while for the Wildcats, junior running back Gaylon Sanders is credited with gobbling up 378 yards of real estate enroute to scoring five touchdowns.
Should be an entertaining evening at Tigerland with Consol to observe its Homecoming. Should be an enjoyable time for exes if the Tigers can “put it all together” when it counts the most for the district opener.