The Waxahachie Indians will look to end a three-game skid and pick up their first win in District 7-6A against the Cedar Hill Longhorns at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lumpkins Stadium, located at 600 Indian Drive in Waxahachie.
Waxahachie fans now have an FM option on the radio dial to listen to Indian athletics, as KBEC 1390 has added 99.1 FM. Join the "Voice of the Indians," Ken Roberts, and coach Mike Turner for pregame programming at 7 p.m. on either 1390 AM, 99.1 FM or by searching for "KBEC" on the TuneIn app on Apple and Android devices.
Per UIL regulations, all early ticket sales end at 11:30 a.m. Friday. Adult tickets are $6 and students are $3 (cash only) and can be purchased at the Waxahachie Daily Light.
General admission tickets are $7 at the gate.
ABOUT THE INDIANS
The Waxahachie offense found a groove last week in a 59-47 loss against state-ranked DeSoto and will look to pick right back up from where they left off after combining with the Eagles for over 1,100 yards.
The Indians enter the game averaging 367.0 yards and 28.8 points per game, while the defense has surrendered 439.5 yards and 40.0 points per contest.
Three different signal callers have taken snaps under center for the Tribe so far this season.
DJ Hollywood leads the team with 357 yards and four touchdowns (four INTs) on 16-of-32 passing, while Jordan Fay has completed 16-of-30 through the air for 264 yards and one touchdown (one INT). Campbell Sullivan returned from a leg injury last week to complete his only two passes of the season for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He was initially injured in week one against Ennis.
On the ground, the Indians are led by Jaden Watson (No. 21). The senior running back, who did not play last season, has carried the football 64 times for 293 yards and four touchdowns. He scored three total touchdowns last week against DeSoto (two rushing).
With Demani Richardson lost for the season, Sullivan and Fay are the next two leading rushers for the Tribe with 70 and 61 yards, respectively.
Keshawn Anderson remains the top target regardless of who is throwing the football. The senior has 274 receiving yards on 12 catches and two touchdowns. Austin Mick, fresh off of a highlight-reel hurdle of a DeSoto defender, has three grabs for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Jaden Watson has three catches for 103 yards and a score. Jabo Sargent has two receiving touchdowns to go with his four catches for 43 yards.
The Indians defense will be without Richardson — a four-star recruit committed to Texas A&M University — after he suffered a leg injury against DeSoto.
Head coach Todd Alexander said sophomore Jamarcus Head will replace Richardson as the starting linebacker. With the addition of Head, the Indians now have six sophomores starting on defense.
“He has already been playing a good bit but he is going to slide into that role," Alexander said. "We also played another sophomore last night, James Wilson, and he is going to contribute, as well.”
Alexander also noted that he had a good discussion with Richardson after the finality of the injury assessment and told him "that now is a good time to hone his leadership skills and that can be his focus right now. He is going to accept that challenge and he is going to do a good job playing that role.”
ABOUT THE MARAUDERS
The Longhorns will enter Lumpkins Stadium on Friday having already shutout two quality football teams this season — Denton Guy (28-0) in week two and Grand Prairie (45-0) last week. They also defeated Tyler John Tyler 57-7 in week one and Mesquite Horn (42-25) in week three.
On the season, the Longhorns are averaging 43.0 points and 405.0 yards per game, while the defense has surrendered just 8.0 points and 162.2 yards per contest.
Shayne Lawrence leads the offense from under center, tossing for 515 yards and five touchdowns (one interception) on 31-of-46 passing.
His favorite target is Quin Bright, who has hauled in 14 passes — twice as many as the second-leading receiver Kamdyn Benjamin (7-104) — for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Zakhari Franklin is a down-the-field threat with three catches for 92 yards and two scores.
The Longhorns also have four ball carries with over 150 yards rushing on the season, led by the 309 yards and seven touchdowns on 47 carries by Daryon Triche and Christian Hallmon's 27 rushes for 247 yards and four touchdowns. Corie Allen has 26 carries for 244 yards and three scores.
The Indians lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1986, 11-1 and won the last meeting 40-27 in 1999.
Waxahachie is on its bye next week and returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 against Mansfield Lake Ridge. Cedar Hill does the same, returning to the gridiron on the same day and time against Mansfield Summit.
LAST TIME OUT
The Waxahachie Indians found themselves in a heavyweight-boxing match on the gridiron Thursday night in a road tilt against Associated Press No. 12 DeSoto.
They also nearly delivered the knockout punch — a few times.
DeSoto opened the game with a pair of touchdowns over the first five minutes and change but soon found itself in quite the slugfest, with upward of 12 players exiting the field due to injury, before edging the visiting Indians, 59-47.
Waxahachie fell to 1-3 on the season, while state-ranked DeSoto improved to 4-0 after the victory in the District 7-6A opener.
The two teams combined for over 1,100 yards of total offense.
“Our kids played hard,” said Waxahachie head football coach Todd Alexander. “We are proud of them. Obviously, we have a lot of things we have to fix, but we are proud of their effort.”
He added that — though the Indians technically played their first all-6A football game last week at home against Flower Mound Marcus — Thursday against DeSoto gave the Tribe their first real taste of what it’ll take to be one of the top teams in their new classification.
“Marcus is a good team and they are disciplined and well coached, but [Thursday] was the first real experience of what 6A is like and what our district is like,” Alexander explained. “I think what we got from it the most is that it doesn’t matter if it is DeSoto or Cedar Hill or whoever, it gave our kids the confidence that we can play with these guys.”
The Eagles were led on offense by quarterback Shun’Darion Ward. The 6-foot-1-signal-caller completed 33-of-his-36 passes for 451 yards and five touchdowns. Though, the passing line could be a little misleading, as a vast majority of his completions came at or near the line of scrimmage.
Nonetheless, Ward got the Eagles on the board first with an 8-yard completion to Lawrence Arnold with 10:08 to play in the first quarter. Ward then used his legs for a five-yard touchdown less than five minutes later. He finished the game as the Eagles leading rusher with 100 yards on 13 carries, while Bryon Hanspard added 92 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Waxahachie added its first score of the game when Jordan Fay completed an 88-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Watson on the ensuing drive.
DeSoto struck again with 11:16 to play in the third quarter when Ward found Vontae Shenault for a four-yard touchdown, but the Indians again responded on offense with a 14-yard touchdown pass from DJ Hollywood to Campbell Sullivan.
It was then after the ballgame had already twice teetered on the edge of a blowout that Alexander said he “could just feel the vibe change” on the sideline after the Waxahachie defense recovered a Ward fumble on their 31-yard line.
“At that point, we knew that we could play with those guys. […] That was the whole halftime speech, ‘We are right here where we need to be and we have a chance to win this football game.’ Then we go back out and score to go up, and I think at that point in time that everybody wearing green and white knew that we could win that football game.”
Nine plays later, Watson scored his second touchdown — and first of two total rushing scores — to pull within two points, 21-19.
DeSoto later added a 37-yard field goal just before the half to carry a 24-19 lead into the locker room. At that point, Ward had only one incompletion on his 22 passing attempts for 251 yards, while the Indians were already lost quarterback Jordan Fay (2-5, 40 yards) to injury, starting linebacker Demani Richardson and big-play receiver Keshawn Anderson to injury.
They would also eventually lose quarterback DJ Hollywood (9-14, 159 yards), too, but not until after he led the Indians on an eight-play, 67-yard drive to start the second half that Watson capped with a one-yard touchdown run for a 26-24 Waxahachie lead.
After the game, Alexander said the mojo the Tribe offense was working with “is something we have been waiting on.
“We keep telling the kids that, ‘Hey, if we trust in it and believe in it that it is going to happen.’ We just have to quit shooting ourselves in the foot and minimize all of these little mistakes that we are making, kind of like in the Ennis game — you just get rolling, get into that groove, and once you get into that groove, you just stay in it. That is kind of what it felt like. Everybody was pretty much on the same page last night, and as a result, the offense was clicking.”
He also added that there is “no doubt” that the offensive line “is rolling right now. They are solid across the entire front, and that was a huge factor last night, especially the way they just controlled and battled at the line of scrimmage.”
DeSoto went on to score twice in the third quarter — a pair of six-yard passes from Ward to Lawrence Arnold Jr. and Kenneth Salter — to build a still-uncomfortable 38-26 lead.
Waxahachie matched the three DeSoto scores in the fourth quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Hollywood to Jabo Sargent and then a pair of touchdown passes from Campbell Sullivan to Austin Mick (60 yards) and Sargent (16 yards) for the 59-47 final.