Despite last week’s season-opening 35-13 loss to Highland Park, there is no panic among Waxahachie’s players and coaching staff.
After last year’s 36-point defeat in the season opener, the Indians won seven of their next eight and shared a district title. That eight-game run started with a 56-31 win over Denison, the Indians opponent Friday.
“We have a history of playing good after an opening loss,” head coach David Ream said. “We’ll try and learn from Saturday and move on just like we do every week. We had a good video session and practice Monday and we’ll bounce back this week.”
Denison opened its season with a 35-9 win over Greenville and enters the game 1-0, just as they did a year ago.
Even though Highland Park built a 19-0 lead by the end of the first quarter Saturday, Ream was encouraged when he watched the film on Sunday.
“When you lose it’s not as it looks on field when you look at the film,” he said. “Some parts looked really well, but they didn’t on the field last week.”
Waxahachie’s offensive line was a question mark entering last week’s scrimmage against West Mesquite, but on Saturday it was the igniter for a pair of drives that took up over 17 minutes of the first half.
The Indians got six points out of the two drives, both of which were at least 10 plays long.
“As a group the offensive line was our most pleasant surprise — they were instrumental on our long drives in the first half,” Ream said. “We had an idea at West Mesquite that they would be better than anticipated this early in the season.”
The offensive line’s work in getting the Indians field position was wasted in the first half when Highland Park returned a punt for a touchdown and the Indians failed on a fake punt attempt.
Special teams play is something Ream said he plans to address before Denison arrives Friday.
“We need a big improvement from our special teams,” he said. “We had the return for a touchdown, a snap go over the punter’s head, we missed an extra point — we just didn’t perform well as a special teams unit.
“A lot of things we’re seeking improvement on we’ve already worked on with personnel changes. With some of the things, it’s just a matter of working harder.”
Denison is coming in off a 35-9 win over Greenville, in which the Yellowjackets took advantage of a timely passing game and opportunistic defense.
The Yellowjackets have a new coach this season and the biggest indication of a change was the fact that Denison passed the ball 13 times. Quarterback Eric Chavez completed 11 of 13 passes for 123 yards and tied a school record with three touchdown passes.
“They have a young, but very talented group,” Ream said. “They try to do a lot of the same things Highland Park did and they do a lot of it well.”
Even though the Yellowjackets ran away with a 26-point win, Greenville did manage to out-gain Denison, 318-302 in total yards.
Last year’s game in Denison was the Indians’ second of four straight away games to start the season. This year, the Indians have a pair of early-season games at home.
“We have a tough opponent coming in and we’re coming off a big loss,” Ream said. “It will definitely be good to see some friendly faces.”
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