STORY BY: CHACE MURPHY
– BRYAN – The Bryan Vikings will wrap up the 2011 season on the road at Temple Friday night.
Bryan (4-5, 2-4) looks to snap a four-game losing streak as they take on the playoff-bound Wildcats.
Temple (5-4, 4-2) is coming off a 20-12 win last week over Killeen Ellison. Bryan lost 39-17 to Belton in a game that knocked the Vikings from playoff contention.
“We’re very disappointed as a football team,” Vikings head coach Bob Bellard said. Bryan is missing the playoffs for only the second time in Bellard’s five-year tenure.
The hangover from missing the postseason carried over into the week of practice, Bellard said. But the Vikings eventually began to bounce back.
“It’s always the coach’s responsibility to get our kids up and get them ready for the next week,” Bellard said. “But’s it’s been tougher this week.”
The Vikings face a winnable game in Temple, which has struggled at times in the 2011 season. The Wildcats have lost to A&M Consolidated and Copperas Cove in district play, as have the Vikings.
The onetime historic rivalry between the Wildcats and Vikings has lost some of its luster over the years. Bellard chalks that up to the changing face of the surrounding communities.
“The younger generations have probably moved on to other rivalries,” Bellard said. “I think Temple-Belton has become the bigger rivalry in Temple.”
Bellard believes A&M Consolidated has become the bigger rivalry for younger Bryan residents, although he says some Vikings fans still hold the Temple game high on the list.
“I think there’s some of that in the old community, in the older part of Bryan, right now,” Bellard said.
The Vikings defense will have to stop a potent Temple offense that leads the district with more than 452 yards a game.
The Wildcats are bolstered by running back Gaylon Sanders, the leading rusher in 12-AAAAA with 1,385 yards on the ground. Quarterback Zach Allen is a comparable offensive weapon with more than 1,500 yards passing and more than 600 yards rushing.