Bangs hopes to end 13-game skid with upset

BANGS — A short-handed Bangs Dragons squad is coming off a 63-6 loss to Tolar, and even more players will likely be out when the Cisco Loboes visit Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday in District 4-3A Division II action.

“We’ve got a lot of injuries,” said Bangs third-year head coach Jim Bird. “We’re missing six and that could go up to eight, so we’re bringing the JV up. They’re going to suit out to make sure we have a full two-deep, and some of those JV guys are going to get some playing time.

“I just want to see our kids compete because I didn’t feel like we competed all night against Tolar. There were some guys that played hard all night, but we had a lot of missed tackles from some guys there were unblocked. I want our guys to stand in front of them and if they get knocked out of the way that’s fine, but make them beat you. Make it hard for them.”

There were some bright spots in the Dragons’ loss to Tolar, however, namely the play of backup quarterback Seth Anderson, who rushed for 145 yards with a 57-yard touchdown and passed for another 44 yards.

“Seth played a heck of a game,” Bird said. “I told him before the game he was going to have the opportunity to touch the ball every play and it was going to be a big night for him. Normally he touches the ball eight to 10 games and I was excited that he got to touch it every play. He answered the call really well for a guy that was taking every snap in a game for the first time. He only threw one pick, completed a few passes, and did an outstanding job considering the situation.”

Defensively, however, the Dragons’ woes continued with 637 yards surrendered — including 500 rushing on 38 carries, an average of 13.2 yards per tote.

“We’ve struggled all year trying to stop the run game and we’re still trying to find the answer for that,” Bird said. “We’re going to have to fight, stand in front of a great team and not just give it to them.”

Anderson could again be behind center as Bangs’ normal quarterback, Colton Brewer, is still recovering from a bone bruise on his left knee suffered in the Coleman loss.

“Brewer’s still day by day, but he’s moving better,” Bird said. “He’s been really sore on his knee where he took the shot. If he can move and protect himself he’ll be playing. If can’t he move well enough to protect himself and be his normal self, he isn’t going to play. But we probably won’t know until Friday night.”

Cisco comes to town on the heels of last week’s 47-0 district win over Coleman, which followed a 43-21 triumph over Dublin in the league opener.

Against Coleman, the Loboes generated 443 yards — 327 rushing and 116 passing — while giving up 181 yards, with 129 coming on the ground.

Stanley Callahan rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns, Isaac Acosta chipped in a 60-yard scoring sprint, Dillon McCoy rushed for a 5-yard touchdown and caught two passes for 48 yards and another score, and Cooper Witt completed 5 of 6 passes for 116 yards with a scoring toss.

“You know exactly what you’re going to get with Cisco,” Bird said. “When you’re on defense it’s going to be power toss, counter and mid-line veer coming at you over and over. They’re not tricky or fancy, they don’t care if you know what they’re doing.

“On defense, they’re 4-3 cover 2 almost all the time. We’ll probably see that all night. They have great offensive and defensive fronts and their skill kids are really good. They’re a well-oiled machine. That system has been in place almost 20 years so we’re going to have to have our heads screwed on right to make a game out of it.”

Bangs enters the game averaging 17 points and 301 yards — 166 passing and 135 rushing — per game, with 16 turnovers. Defensively, the Dragons are giving up 49 points and 483 yards — 357 on the ground and 126 through the air — with 10 takeaways.

Offensively, Brewer has completed 86 of 165 passes for 1,118 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, while Anderson is 4 of 21 for 44 yards with two picks. Brewer (382 yards, 7 TDs) and Anderson (253 yards, 2 TDs) also lead the rushing attack, followed by Terick Flores (169 yards, 2 TDs), Ethan Sanchez (98 yards) and Zach Zink (61 yards). Top receivers include Justin Wilson (33-477, 5 TDs), George Nicholas (15-223, TD), Anderson (14-122, TD), Steven Montgomery (14-118) and Tyler Williford (10-144).

As for what Bird wants to see most from his team Friday night, he said, “I want us to be tougher football players. When we get the opportunity to be physical we need to be physical, and wrap up and tackle better.”

Last season, Cisco defeated Bangs, 69-0.

According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Bangs — which is attempting to end a 13-game drought that extends to last season — is a 53-point underdog.