Rudder Faces Challenge in Leander Matchup

 Rudder Faces Challenge in Leander Matchup


A little confidence can go a long way.

The Rudder Rangers will have a tough test on Friday at Merrill Green Stadium, as they welcome the Leander Rouse Raiders to Bryan.

Looking at last year’s match up wouldn’t indicate something for the Rangers to be worried about – they trounced the Raiders by a five touchdown victory.

However, that was Leander’s first official varsity season, a season in which they went winless and were defeated by more than 21 points five different times.

Last Friday night, Leander racked up its first official victory, shutting out Liberty Hill 21-0. And if Rudder’s memory isn’t too faded already, they might recall the confidence and momentum that carried them forward after their first official victory only two seasons ago. In a 2009 game against Hearne, the Rangers came out more visibly energized than many had seen them before after getting their first win the week prior, and easily cruised to a 49-14 victory to notch their second win.

Regardless of how energized Leander Rouse may be coming into the 2011 Friday night matchup with Rudder, the Raiders will still have to square off against a Rudder defense that racked up a total of 41 tackles between four players in last week’s game against Taylor,and effectively shut down Taylor’s offensive drives in the fourth quarter. Rudder senior Kody Burton led the way with 16 tackles, and fellow senior A’Shanian Smith added another 12 on the night.

Rudder will have a challenge of shutting down Leander Rouse senior quarterback Michael Botello, who connected on two huge passing scoring plays of 75 and 55 yards last week.

Equally, the Raiders will have their hands full trying to stifle a Ranger offense that led them on a second-half come-from-behind victory last week, and featured a balanced pass and run attack. Ranger senior quarterback Jamarcus Davenport rushed for 86 yards, and also added an 88-yard touchdown pass to tie the game up. Rudder junior Tre Guyton also stood out with 123 yards and two touchdowns.

After starting the season out with a victory, both teams will obviously hit the field under the lights at Merrill Green stadium with an extra boost of confidence.

The question will be whose confidence will carry them further, and keep them in the win column.