Midterm break’s over for the Waxahachie Indians, and they’ll find out soon if cramming for their second semester has paid off.
Head tutor Todd Alexander has had his charges in study hall for the last week and a half with no major exam on the schedule. But that changes in a big way on Friday night with a major pop quiz at Mansfield Lake Ridge as District 7-6A play resumes.
“Everybody’s going to compete for those spots in the playoffs,” Alexander said. “It’s not going to be easy by any means.”
The Indians did put the open week to good use, resting players who were running on fumes and adrenaline by the end of their last game at Cedar Hill. Alexander said the team concentrated on fundamentals and techniques, honing in on the proverbial “little things.”
“We got a couple of kids back and they’ve been practicing with us,” Alexander said. “We’ve still got a few out but we should get a few more back for the Mansfield game next week … We got our legs fresh again, and that’s a good thing. We’ve got to get healthy and stay healthy, no doubt.”
The Indians (1-4, 0-2) have both a challenge and an opportunity ahead. With their two toughest district opponents out of the way in DeSoto and Cedar Hill, the Indians can now concentrate on a drive to surprise their critics and sneak into the playoffs.
However, that’s easier said than done. At a minimum, Waxahachie will have to win three of its last five games and hope to beat the right people to win a points tiebreaker. Four of five is more likely what it’ll take, and even then there’s no guarantee.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Step one toward shocking the North Texas football intelligentsia begins Friday night with a trip to Newsom Stadium to take on Mansfield Lake Ridge, which like the Indians is also looking to slip into the top four.
The Eagles (2-3, 0-2) primarily throw the football, with quarterback Adrian Hawkins completing 79 of 128 attempts for 1,096 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions in four of five games played. Hawkins’ top targets are Tameron Derrough (411 yards, 3 TDs) and Keylan Johnson (356 yards, 4 TDs).
“I think we match up pretty good with them,” Alexander said. “It should be a good game. They’re going to throw it around a little bit, and they got a quarterback who’s going to escape the pocket, pretty similar to what we’ve seen.”
Lake Ridge plays an odd-man front, which is a little different from what the Indians have faced. Alexander said that’s been the Eagles’ defensive identity for the past several years.
On the home front, the continued production between quarterback Campbell Sullivan and wide receiver Brandon Hawkins Jr. is a big reason why the Indians have kept their games as close as they have.
Hawkins, a junior, has already caught 54 passes for 745 yards and 10 TDs. Along with a 58-yard punt return for a TD at Flower Mound Marcus and a 2-point conversion catch at Cedar Hill, Hawkins has accounted for 65 of Waxahachie’s 150 points scored so far this year.
Hawkins has scored at least a TD in all five games and has four straight games of 10 or more pass catches for 100 or more yards, hitting 210 in his last outing.
But getting others involved in the offense is going to be crucial for the Indians as they strive for the postseason in their final five games.
“We want to spread the ball out and give as many people touching it as we can,” Alexander said. “That is definitely the goal.”