GARLAND – The Waxahachie football team finally got a taste of real football action Friday.
The Indians travelled to Garland to take on the 5A Rowlett Eagles. These two teams squared off last year as well and once again it proved to be a good test for Waxahachie.
The teams started by running a set amount of plays, about 30, on offense before switching to defense. After the teams each got a shot at running their offense and defense, they then played a regulation, 12-minute quarter.
While the scoreboard at the end of the day had more points on the Rowlett side, at this stage in the game, it’s not about the score.
“We got out of it without any bumps and bruises and we got to learn a little bit, and got used to the speed of the game” Waxahachie coach David Ream said. “This was our time on the field with some guys that are just as fast as we are. We scrimmaged with our JV team, then our own varsity team and now it was time to go against someone else’s varsity and see their speed.”
Early on, the speed on both teams was about equal. Rowlett broke off a 20-yard run early, but that was it for the Eagles’ offense. Waxahachie’s defensive front did a really good job of containing the Eagle backs and pressure forced bad passes that led to interceptions by Quinn Sargent, Avery Jackson, Kendrevous Bass and Rashawn Moser.
“I think defensively we did really well against their starters in the first few drives,” Ream siad. “They are coming along, we only spent one day in practice working on Rowlett, we spent the other days working on other teams.”
Once Waxahachie’s offense came onto the field, it turned into the Trevon Smith show. The sophomore’s first touch of the game turned into a 40-yard run, but he was dragged down at the 10-yard line. If the Indians are going to be successful this season, they need a lot of long runs from Smith.
“Trevon is tough to bring down because he has great balance,” Ream said. “He doesn’t quite have the break away speed to turn some long runs into touchdowns, but he did a better job of protecting the ball.”
While he did a better job protecting the ball, several of his teammates didn’t. Waxahachie had three chances to score inside the Rowlett five-yard line and each time they fumbled the ball and the Eagles recovered.
“We moved the ball alright at the beginning, but execution and ball security would have gotten us beat if we were keeping score,” Ream said. “We had some quarterbacks try to force some things. We need them to just slow down and take their time.”
Another thing that could have killed the Indians in a real game was the number of penalties. Waxahachie had at least 10 called, most on the offensive line.
“Getting the penalties called out here is actually good because it is all part of the learning process,” Ream said. “It’s hard for us to see during practice what would have been a penalty and keep an eye on everybody on both sides of the ball. That will give us an opportunity to correct those mistakes.”
Ream pointed out a handful of individual young players that stood out really well on each side of the ball.
“A lot of the young kids played pretty well. I thought Greg Anderson had a good scrimmage on offense with some big runs,” Ream said. “Defensively, I thought Bass made some plays. We really had good play out of the young guys, but we just expect some more out of the older guys.”
Anderson probably had the best run of the day when he turned what should have been a four-yard loss on an option against the Rowlett sideline, into a 50-yard gain as he broke a tackle in the backfield, reversed field and found some open room.
The team didn’t rest long as they got back to work outs Saturday and got back in the film room as well.
“We want them to watch film to get them over some of the mental mistakes,” Ream said. “Monday we get back on the field and get over the physical mistakes. I think we’re in a good spot though. It’s just about getting experience right now.
The season opens at home Friday night versus Midlothian at 7:30 p.m.