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Ennis preps for 15-4A opener against 4-0 Tigers

When 2-2 Ennis and 4-0 Lancaster met up in 2006, the Tiger’s breeze through non-district play was a distant memory at game’s end.
The two squads lock up with the same records this season to open 15-4A play, but this time around the action takes place on the Lions’ home turf.
“Lancaster was a good 4-0 team last year and I expect to see another good undefeated team on Friday,” said coach Sam Harrell.
“They’re probably excited and upbeat, so we’ve got to come in and answer the bell. The good thing about district starting is that it really doesn’t matter what you’ve done before this week.”
In week one, the Tigers notched a 48-21 victory over W.T. White as they took a 28-7 lead into the half. Jason Callahan (9-96), Corey Pegeus (5-73-1) and Josh Hunt (9-69-1) led a ground attack that finished with 283 yards. Receiver Daniel Skinner caught three touchdown passes (48 yards) from quarterback Thedford Rhodes.
Week two saw Lancaster outscore South Oak Cliff 16-0 in the fourth quarter on the way to a 38-18 win. While the Tigers lost the turnover battle 3-2, passed for 23 yards and produced just 11 first downs, SOC only mustered eight first downs.
Rhodes rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns, but the Tigers also scored on a kick return, a fumble return and a safety. As far as Harrell is concerned, SOC was definitely Lancaster’s best opponent thus far.
“SOC is pretty good, so that was certainly a good win for Lancaster and they have been doing a lot of things right so far this year,” he said.
“SOC really helped them out by turning the ball over right on their own goal line a couple of times for easy [Lancaster] touchdowns. You can’t do things like that to give a good team a shot in the arm.”
In week three, the Tigers pulled out to a 22-0 halftime lead on the way to a 28-8 win over Ft. Worth Wyatt. Chris Russell (12-71-1), Callahan (8-60), Pegeus (8-55-1) and Hunt (7-53-1) all played major parts in the Tigers’ 267 rushing yards while the defense came up with four interceptions. On the other hand, the Tigers had 13 penalties for 104 yards, 36 passing yards and just three first downs in the second half.
Last week, Lancaster jumped out to a 26-0 first-quarter lead en route to a 48-18 win over Ft. Worth Dunbar despite losing four fumbles. While Rhodes sat out with an injury, quarterback Pegeus threw three touchdown passes – including two to Skinner. Once again, Russell (11-66-1), Callahan (5-58) and Hunt (11-47-1) each did their part on the ground.
“They run a lot of option and [Pegeus] does a good job of reading defenses on the move,” Harrell said.
“An option team is a changeup these days and an advantage for Lancaster because they’re different than most now. We’ll probably see Rhodes start with Pegeus also playing a good bit.”
He expects sophomore Rhodes to have made some strides with a varsity season under his belt and said the smaller Pegeus is quick and difficult to corral in the open field. It’s no surprise considering Lancaster’s previous games Harrell expects to see plenty of Russell, Callahan and Hunt.
“They’ll come out with three-back sets, or two or just one of them,” Harrell said.
“They just want to keep giving you different looks. I think Russell is the key, but the others will get their chances.”
When the Tigers do throw the ball, it’s usually a big play to Skinner – a big receiver with good downfield speed. Travon Carter (6-0, 300) is the largest Tiger on the offensive line and considering the unit knows how to block in the run game, Harrell said it’s crucial for Lion defenders to put themselves in the right position.
The Tiger defense normally plays a four front with some Cover 4 in the back. Harrell also expects to see Man coverage while the Tigers stunt and blitz up front.
“They’ve got a quick, active defense as usual and they’ll stunt a lot,” Harrell said.
The coach considers the two key defenders to be defensive end Anthony Gilbert and middle linebacker Jeremy Thomas. While none of the defensive backs stand out to Harrell, he did say they’ve got the speed to get the job done in coverage.
“Turnovers are always big, but I think they’re especially important this week,” the coach said.
“We’ve got to protect the ball and hopefully get our defensive turnover numbers back up from last week.
“Winning the big play battle is also key against an athletic team.”

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Posted by on Sep 27 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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