BANGS - Alone atop the District 8-2A standings, the Bangs Dragons are eyeing their third straight league win as they head to Comanche at 7:30 p.m. Friday, where the Indians are coming off their first victory in over two years.
Bangs (4-2, 2-0) is the only 2-0 team in 8-2A, and one of three league unbeatens along with Coleman (5-0, 1-0) and Brady (5-0, 1-0). Comanche (1-5, 0-1), meanwhile, knocked off Dublin, 46-7, last week to snap a 22-game losing streak that dated to Sept. 15, 2006.
Despite Comanche’s struggles, Bangs first-year head coach Chuck Lipsey has the Dragons concentrating on the Indians’ performance from last week and the potential they possess.
“We definitely have respect for them and know they can play,” Lipsey said. “Last week was a big win for them, and watching them on film, they dominated Dublin. They’re going to be on a high and fired up after their first win. Against Coleman, they were up and down the field, they just couldn’t score. They remind me a lot of San Saba in that they are good enough that if you don’t play well, they can make a game of it or slip up and get you.”
Bangs, meanwhile, is playing its best football of the season since the start of district. To go along with their two victories, the Dragons are averaging 28 points, 345 total yards and 272 yards on the ground in league play. Defensively, Bangs has forced eight turnovers in the last two games, while holding its foes to 212.5 total yards and just 96.5 rushing yards per outing.
“We’re happy with the wins we’ve gotten, we just don’t want them to get satisfied,” Lipsey said. “We need to keep improving, keep doing what we’re coached to do and keep playing hard for four quarters. If we do that, good things will happen.”
The Dragons are coming off their first shutout of the season in last week’s 27-0 home win over San Saba. Bangs’ victory snapped the Armadillos’ two-game win streak as the Dragon defense was able to stifle a San Saba offense that had averaged 29.5 points and 330 total yards in its previous two outings.
Bangs limited San Saba to 183 total yards, just 93 yards rushing on 39 carries and allowed the Armadillos just three pass completions in 15 attempts. The Dragons also recovered three fumbles and picked off a pass.
“I thought it was a great defensive effort,” Lipsey said. “It was a bend but don’t break night for us on defense. We let them have a couple of big plays, like right before the half they had a long screen they broke, but we were able to get them stopped. That was a big momentum swing for us going into halftime because it was just 14-0.”
Offensively, the Dragons tallied two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the second straight game as Bangs has slowly worn down opposing district defenses.
“It may look that way, and I think our kids have shown they’re in good shape in the fourth quarter,” Lipsey said. “We’ve had two big touchdowns in the fourth quarter last week and the week before, but we want to score every time we have the ball. That’s just the way it’s worked out. We had some good drives in the third quarter against San Saba, we just self-destructed and we have to eliminate that.”
The Dragon offense continues to be led by quarterback Bradley Lee and tailback DeShawn Johnson. Lee has completed 29-of-63 passes for 355 yards with four touchdowns, while rushing for 510 yards and six touchdowns. Against San Saba, he piled up 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, while completing a season-best 8-of-11 pass attempts for 74 yards.
Johnson, meanwhile, is the top ground gainer with 590 yards and eight touchdowns. He led all Dragons with 122 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries last week.
Also contributing to the Dragons’ 265-yard rushing effort against San Saba were Corey Sanchez, Michael Peters and Allen Almgren, who ran for a combined 51 yards on nine carries
The passing game is also starting to come around in district play as Cody Cross has grabbed nine receptions for 80 yards with a touchdown, while James Churchill has chipped in four receptions totaling 64 yards in the last two games.
“We haven’t had one rusher run for 200 or 300 yards, but we’ve got three or four that are doing a good job carrying the ball,” Lipsey said. “Our line is doing a good job blocking and our pass completions were better. We’re still mixing the pass and the run and that’s helped us, but we still have to improve.”
In Comanche’s win over Dublin last week, the Indians finished with 453 total yards - 247 rushing and 206 passing. The Indians also compiled 295 total yards in a 62-19 district loss to Coleman two weeks ago.
In 8-2A action, quarterback Jerick Roberts has completed 19-of-32 passes for 335 yards with four touchdowns.
Cody Biggs leads all Indian receivers with eight catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while Felix Martinez has added seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Jaron Hohertz chipped in a 40-yard scoring reception against Dublin.
Roberts led the Comanche rushing attack with 113 yards against Dublin, while Josh Feaster finished with 103 yards and an 84-yard kick return against Coleman.
Defensively, the Indians gave up just 151 yards of total offense to Dublin after being shredded for 685 - including 456 rushing - by Coleman.
“Offensively, their quarterback does a good job running the football and throwing play action passes,” Lipsey said. “They have a couple of receivers that can catch it and two hard-nosed running backs. They’re an I-team, but they run some one-back stuff. They do a pretty good job spreading the ball around to their kids.
“Defensively, they run the same defense we’ve seen for six weeks now. It’s a 3-4, a 50 front, and we’ve blocked it every since two-a-days. It’s what we run, so we’re pretty familiar with it. We just have to make sure we stay with our blocks up front.”