Looking ahead to district play, Brenham head football coach Danny Youngs put it best.
“I think our district and the district next to us are two of the top districts in the region,” Youngs said. “I think it’s going to be a wild and fun ride through district.”
And while Brenham is one of the few Brazos Valley teams not starting district play this week, the rest of District 10-5A Division II gets things rolling in the highly competitive league.
Rudder will open against Lamar Consolidated at 6 p.m. Saturday in Rosenberg to cap 10-5A-II’s first week of action. Montgomery Lake Creek will begin the league’s slate at Richmond Randle at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with Huntsville at Montgomery at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Lake Creek may seem like the favorite with the Lions currently sitting at 4-0 after nondistrict play, but Youngs and Rudder head coach Eric Ezar say the league is pretty even from top to bottom.
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“Right now it looks like Lake Creek is playing really, really well,” Youngs said. “I haven’t seen them on film, but just from what I’ve seen a little bit on highlights and looking at scores and who’s played who, our district has played a really tough schedule for everybody. I think if you go out and take anybody lightly, you’re going to get beat. So I think it’s going to be a battle week in and week out.”
Every team in the district has won at least one nondistrict game with the exception of Montgomery, which is 0-4. Huntsville is 1-3 with a win over Class 6A Bryan. Brenham is 1-2 with its final nondistrict game against New Braunfels on Thursday. Lamar Consolidated, Rudder and Randle are all 2-2.
“We’re all in kind of the same position,” Ezar said. “We’re all trying to figure out who you have and all that stuff.”
Ezar said he has seen a lot of growth from his team during the first month of the season. The Rangers came into the year a young team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The last two weeks, though, Ezar said his defense’s tackling and overall fundamentals have been much better. It’s been reflected on the field as the Rangers are riding a two-game win streak going into Saturday.
So far, Rudder has wins over Elgin and Killeen Chaparral with losses to Willis and Salado.
While the last two weeks have produced wins, Ezar would like to see his offense sustain longer drives, which in turn helps the defense out by giving it a breather.
“It’s kind of crazy, but we’re like a home run hitter in baseball,” Ezar said. “We may strike out a few times, and then boom. We’ve shown a lot of big-strike capability, but I want to mix that with being able to run the ball a little more consistently, run it well, control the ball a little bit more. It’s great to have home runs, but we need to hit some singles too. I think that will help our defense by keeping our defense off the field as much as possible.”
The Rangers made the playoffs for the first time last season and are hoping to get back. Ezar’s message to the team has been simple with Rudder’s focus not too far off in the future.
“Every game you win is very critical in district, so that’s kind of been the mantra,” Ezar said. “Just take one at a time and try to win every district game you can and let the chips fall where they may and hopefully we get in.”