STORY BY: KEITH KANE
– BRYAN – The Bryan Vikings are looking to turn around a 4-6 season from last year with a “new” head coach. Ross Rogers has come out of his coaching retirement to take over the reins of the football program at Bryan High School. Local football fans are familiar with Rogers from his long stint and state championship while the head coach at crosstown rival A&M Consolidated.
Rogers says of the Vikings during the summer drills that “we’re not up to the speed I want us to be. I want us to play fast. I want us to play with a purpose. And, certainly we’re getting there every day. I think we’re getting better, but we’re not where we need to be. And, the kids understand that. I’ve got everybody coaching up to a little bit faster gear. The game is played in a hurry. And if you don’t practice in a hurry you’re not going to be ready for the games. That’s the negative. The positive is they’re giving us good attitude. We’ve got good talent in a lot of places. We’re not the biggest team. We’re not the fastest team. But, we do have enough football talent. And, we just got to get all the pieces of the puzzle in the right spots.”
Rogers says the offense will be very multiple with many plays being run from the shotgun formation. But, the Vikings will also get under center and run the ball off of some zones and leads some power plays and some bootleg passes. The offense will be led by quarterback Chris Johnson, who has already committed to Baylor. Coach Rogers says Johnson has some talented receivers to catch the passes in the form of junior V-J Banks and junior Bobby Johnson, who will carry the load at the running back position, coming out of the backfield to catch passes.
Defensively, the Vikings will work out of the 50 defense, the Oklahoma defense as it’s called, with cover two in the secondary and zone blitzes up front bringing five to seven man pressure on each play. Coach Rogers expects the defense to be led by Sophomores Darius Ross and KeeKee Johnson who are inexperienced but, according to Rogers, very talented. Juniors Derrick Smith and Josh Gibbs are expected to anchor the secondary.
The Vikings are playing the Waco Midway Panthers this week (8/31), a team that’s making the jump from Class 4A to Class 5A. According to Coach Rogers, even though Midway is coming from a lower classification, they are one of the two best teams Bryan will face this season. The Panthers last year made it all the way to the 4A State Championship game before losing to Lake Travis. Midway is coming into 5A already ranked in the Top 20 in the state. Rogers says the Panthers have outstanding speed and have loads of returning talent from last year including the quarterback who is the son of Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey. Midway will run the spread offense from the shotgun formation. Defensively, the Panthers will line up in a basic 50 defense with lots of man to man coverage in the secondary.
Friday’s game kicks off at Merrill Green Stadium at 7:30 pm with the game to be broadcast on The Zone beginning at 7:00 pm with Keith Kane on the play-by-play and Travis Bryan III on the color commentary.