STORY BY: JORDAN MESEROLE
With only two defined district 18-4A leaders just five games into the 2012 season and with five remaining, many teams are eyeing every matchup and victory as the one that could squeeze them into the playoffs.
That is especially true for Friday’s matchup between the Rudder Rangers (2-1, 2-3) and the Magnolia West Mustangs (1-2, 2-4) in Magnolia.
“This game goes a long way in the district race. It’s going to be a big ball game,” said Rudder head coach C.M. Pier. “[Magnolia West] will come out and throw everything they’ve got at us. And that’s fine. We invite that. That’s what this is about.”
Rudder is coming off a 65-35 win over Caney Creek, in which the Rangers’ offense clicked on all cylinders, churning out 432 yards of total offense, a season high for the team. Leading the way once again for Rudder was senior running back Tre Guyton who had 229 rushing yards with two touchdowns, and also who leads the district with 826 rushing yards, almost double the next closest running back in the 18-4A.
And though Pier has been using Guyton a lot in recent games, Pier says there is no plan to pull up, or to ask Guyton to avoid some hits.
“The mark of a good running back is he goes north and south,” Pier said. “You’ve got to be smart enough when to get your yardage and when to get down or get out of bounds, but he’s doing a good job. In our type of offense, it really doesn’t afford him an opportunity to go down.“
The Mustangs are coming off a tough 29-7 loss to district leader Brenham, and is trying to get back on track after losing four of its last five games. Magnolia West will be led by quarterback Brandon O’Neil, along with wide receivers backs Zeke Bronson and Jeremy Jordan.
“From what I’ve seen in our district, they have the broadest playbook,” Pier said. “They’re going to hit you with every formation there is. They’ve got a good team. They’ve got a tailback that’s a real warrior. And they’ve got two wideouts that can really go. Defensively, they’re very imaginative. They use a lot of fronts, a lot of movement and try to get you confused and off-base.”
One thing will be sure on the football field on Friday night – both teams will be hitting it hard in hopes of securing a victory and a potential path to the playoffs.
Rudder kicks off against Magnolia West in Magnolia at 7:30.