STORY BY: JORDAN MESEROLE
For many high school football coaches, they see the season as starting over once district play begins. There have been many stories of teams losing early in the season, only to make magical runs in district play to end up going deep into the playoffs.
For the Rudder Rangers, they’re hoping that holds true as they begin District 18-4A play on Friday at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan, facing off against Magnolia.
“Very excited about starting district and getting on into this thing,” said Rudder head coach C.M. Pier. “A lot of people don’t like nine team districts because it doesn’t give you a lot of prep time before that district, but it is what it is so we’ve got to play it. So this is our first step towards our goal of making the playoffs.”
Rudder (0-2) is coming off a tough loss to El Campo last week, in which the Ricebirds posted 55 points on seven rushing touchdowns. However, some bright spots shone through in the defeat, as the Rangers held El Campo to no touchdowns in the final 16 minutes of the game, and scored 26 points on offense led by a balanced run-pass attack through senior quarterback Luke Piper and senior running back Tre Guyton.
Pier said in-game adjustments will be made on what Magnolia shows defensively, but the Rangers will stick with the one constant in the offense so far this season: getting Guyton the ball.
“The bottom line is Tre Guyton has to have some touches period. That’s it. We’ve got to get Tre the ball,” Pier said. “As far as scheme wise, there are some things in what [Magnolia] does that we feel we can take advantage of. Against Galena Park, their safeties played up in the box a lot, and so if they want to come down in the box we’ll have to go up top.”
Magnolia (1-1) is coming off a close loss to the Bryan Vikings last week, and will feature a strong running game that tallied up 247 rushing yards in the loss. Senior Shyerome Harris led the charge, posting up 118 rushing yards on 20 carries.
But for Pier, focusing on containing the Magnolia running game is only a small part of the equation – he wants his Rangers to click on all cylinders on Friday night.
“We’ve got to go out there Friday night and put a full game on in all phases, and if we do that we can win,” Pier said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Green Stadium.