After what arguably was the best Yoemen performance of the year in the “Battle of the Bell,” the team remains focused on the big picture.
Head Coach Rick Rhoades say the recipe for consistency is taking one game at a time. Coach Rhoades praised both his team and coaches in the Rockdale game, noting the defense was “very impressive” and the game plan was developed and executed to a tee.
Rhoades was also quick to point out that preseason and non-district games mean nothing at this point, as everyone enters play Friday night with a 0-0 record as district play begins.
On paper, tomorrow’s match-up with the Salado Eagles appears to be a tale of two different teams. The Yoemen are undefeated and Salado has been winless in non-district action, suffering defeats from China Spring, Lorena and Rockdale.
However, if you dig a little deeper, Salado looks poised to challenge in 13-2A DI after dropping from 3A to 2A this season. The Eagles are returning 14 starters, seven on each side of the ball, which posted an average of 38.5 points per game last year.
Salado has a very experienced offense and will operate out of the familiar spread formation with about a 60/40 split in running and passing. Their offense is lead by QB Ryan Simmons who is very athletic and runs the offense well. The Eagles offense likes to use a lot of misdirection in the backfield and utilize play action. The receiving corps is lead by two retuning all-districts WR’s in Davis Little and Marshall Mann who both have “playmaker” abilities.
On the defensive side of the ball, Salado has used both the 3-4 and 4-2 sets. The defensive line and linebackers are very aggressive and fill running lanes quickly and “fly” to the ball.
Rhoades says the Yoemen will have to play with great technique and play fundamentally sound ball. “The kids understand the task and challenge in front of them,” Rhoades said, and have had a great week of practice.
The Yoemen will enter the contest relatively healthy and could receive a boost in their kicking game with the return of kicker Michael Evan who has been sidelined this season with an injury. The hunt for a district championship begins tomorrow night at Yoe Field. The district opener for both teams kicks off at 7:30 p.m.