With two very difficult non-district games ahead of them — not to mention the District 7-6A schedule just down the road — the Waxahachie Indians don’t have any time to regret the loss of the U.S. Highway 287 sign to arch-rival Ennis after four years in the Indians’ possession.

“We’re going to stay positive and keep working,” Indians head coach Todd Alexander said. “We’re going to keep getting better. The kids are positive, and the coaches are positive, so it’s good.”

And indeed, there were positives to be found from watching the film of last week’s game.

The Indians (0-1) took care of the football and committed no turnovers, and did put themselves in position to score. Capitalizing on those chances, however, was a hurdle that gives the Indians something to work on in practice this week.

“We’re going to take those positives and build on them, and correct the mistakes as fast as we can,” Alexander said.

Alexander lauded the Indian defense for its play against Ennis, keeping the game within reach throughout, and singled out senior middle linebacker Joe Chavez especially for praise. Junior safety Quincy Johnson led the way with 11 combined tackles, nine of which were solo.

“Hats off to those guys, because they played hard to the end, and they were on the field a good bit,” Alexander said.

The flip side to a defense playing a lot of downs is an offense that doesn’t play many, and that was the case last Friday, although the disparity wasn’t glaring. Ennis snapped the ball a total of 58 times from scrimmage, while Waxahachie ran 51.

But still, sustaining possessions is a huge key to success on the gridiron, and that is the Indians’ task this Friday night when Mesquite Poteet and blue-chip running back Seth McGowan come calling at 7:30 p.m. in the friendly confines of Lumpkins Stadium.

The Pirates (0-1) sat out McGowan last week for unknown reasons and were drilled by Denton Ryan, 52-6, in the season opener. McGowan, who has verbally committed to Oklahoma, rushed for 25 touchdowns and more than 1,600 yards as a junior.

Without McGowan, Poteet had negative yardage in the first half and just 118 total yards on the night against Ryan. But Alexander fully expects to see No. 7 lining up in the Pirates’ backfield.

Slowing down McGowan is obviously one key for Waxahachie to be successful Friday night. But taking the next step from Game 1 to Game 2 may be just as crucial.

“The main thing is, we need to execute offensively,” Alexander said. “We had some execution breakdowns and (we have) to fix those penalties we had that were untimely. But those two things in particular, (and) we’ve got to execute every dadgum stinking play on offense. Other than that, there were a lot of positives that we got from film that we’re going to build on.”