BANGS — The deck will be stacked against the Bangs Dragons Friday night. Then again, the Dragons have been defying the odds for the last month of the season.
After dropping their first three district games, the Dragons have rallied with three straight wins to keep their playoff hopes alive. Now they need an unlikely — but entirely possible — scenario to occur to reach the postseason.
First, Bangs (4-5, 3-3) must defeat the Wall Hawks (4-5, 3-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium. Next, Jim Ned (6-3, 3-3) must not only knock off Coleman (7-2, 4-2), but defeat the Bluecats by 15 points. Only then would the Dragons be eligible to compete in a three-way coin toss with Jim Ned and Coleman for the district’s final playoff seed.
A Jim Ned victory of 15 points or more would mean Bangs would have beaten Jim Ned, Jim Ned would have beaten Coleman and Coleman would have beaten Bangs all by the maximum number of points credited for a win in District 6-2A. A coin toss is then the district’s second tiebreaker.
Bangs head coach Eddie Pettit stated his team and coaching staff won’t be following the Jim Ned-Coleman game over the radio as the Dragons have plenty to deal with on the field.
“We have to focus on what we have to do,” Pettit said. “The Jim Ned-Coleman score is going to be irrelevant if we don’t take care of business here. If we take care of our business on the field and if things go the way we want, then we’ll check out things with Jim Ned and Coleman.”
The Dragons are heading into Friday’s regular season finale on an offensive roll. During its three-game win streak, Bangs has averaged 43.3 points per game. The Dragons scored 38 — 19 in each half — in last week’s 26-point win over Grape Creek.
Bangs scored in all three phases of the game last week as not only did it have four offensive touchdowns, but Bradley Lee returned a punt 85 yards and Adrian Brown scooped up a fumble and brought it back 55 yards for touchdowns.
Lee finished with 183 yards rushing, quarterback Justin Greenhaw chipped in TD runs of 1 and 12 yards and DeShawn Johnson added a 5-yard touchdown. Bangs finished with 416 yards of total offense— all on the ground — despite playing without its biggest weapon during the last month — tailback Joey Lewis.
“Offensively, the line has been doing a great job the last three or four weeks,” Pettit said. “They’ve been coming off the ball well, and our backs have done a good job taking care of the ball and hitting the holes hard. That’s been a combination that’s led to some success for us.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Dragons have surrendered more than two touchdowns just once and Bangs is giving up only 15.7 points per game during its win streak.
In last week’s win at Grape Creek, the Dragons did not allow a point after halftime and forced numerous turnovers, which negated the Eagles’ 335 yards of total offense.
If Bangs is able to shut down Wall’s rushing attack Friday night, odds are high the Dragons will win a fourth straight game. With the Hawks still running the wishbone as their base attack, they are possibly the most one dimensional offense in all of District 6-2A.
In their 28-27 overtime win over Jim Ned last week, the Hawks rushed for 342 yards, but did complete 4-of-10 passes for 61 yards. Four different Hawks scored rushing touchdowns — Colton Chandler, Colin Powell, Jensen Nevins and Denver Lewallen. Chandler finished with 203 yards rushing on 32 carries, while Lewallen added 59 yards on 22 attempts.
“If we’re going to stop them, we have to stop the run first and make them beat us throwing the ball,” Pettit said. “Their offense is pretty potent. They’re big and physical and run a lot out of the wishbone, and they run it well. We need to keep their offense off the field as much as we can, and try and force some turnovers.”
Whether the Dragons are playing football next week or not, Pettit is proud of his team for keeping its season alive until Week 10 when they’ve had numerous opportunities to fold along the way.
“This says a whole lot about their character,” Pettit said. “They continued to fight even when the chips were down. Not everything is going to be easy. They’ve done a great job hanging in there, keeping their heads up and winning each game they needed to win to have a chance to reach the playoffs.”