STORY BY: CHACE MURPHY
For the second week in a row, the Bryan Vikings face a team that shares a nickname with a NBA franchise.
After last week’s 35-28 win over the Round Rock McNeil Mavericks (please refer to the reigning NBA champs), the Vikings (2-0) hit the road for a Thursday tilt with the College Park Cavaliers (think: Cleveland). One thing The Woodlands-based high school team has in common with their pro basketball counterparts is that neither has LeBron James, but I digress.
Bryan dodged a serious bullet in their last game as McNeil scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to close a 35-7 third quarter deficit. Vikings head coach Bob Bellard opted to put in second-string players in the third, but he says defensive play overall took a step backward in the second half.
“We put a number of kids in the ballgame,” Bellard said. “In the second half, I didn’t think we executed ones or twos, defensively, very well.”
The Vikings hope to shore up their play on both sides of the ball against the Cavaliers (2-1).
College Park’s two wins are over 4A programs: Lamar Consolidated and Huntsville. They lost their first 5A game of the year last week to Spring DeKaney, 41-14.
Ball control will likely play a large part in the game. The Cavaliers run-based I-formation offense likes to keep opposing defenses on the field, something Bellard saw firsthand in last year’s 10-3 Viking win.
“I think we had three possessions in the first half,” Bellard said.
Thursday’s game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Woodforest National Bank Stadium in Shenandoah. The pregame starts at 6:30 on KZNE, Sports Radio 1150, The Zone.