BANGS — There were plenty of positives, as well as negatives, to take away from the Bangs Dragons’ 40-37 loss to Breckenridge last week. Head coach Eddie Pettit and company are hoping for a more consistent effort against the 3A Clyde Bulldogs in Friday’s final tune-up prior to the start of District 6-2A action.
“Last week, it was just one of those games where both offenses were clicking pretty good and our defense struggled a little,” Pettit said. “We told the guys that half the teams in Texas got beat, and we just happened to be one of them. There’s no time to mourn this loss. Clyde is coming to town and they’re pretty good, then we go into district. There’s no time to hang our heads. We just have to get back to work and try and get better.”
The Dragons (1-1) are playing their first home contest — and homecoming game — against a much-improved Clyde (2-1) squad that has already defeated 6-2A programs Ballinger and Early by a combined score of 67-24.
The Bulldogs are led by running back Curtis Kevil — who rushed for a season-high 183 yards during last week’s 35-17 win over Early, and has 454 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the year.
Clyde quarterback Jacob Gonzales completed 10-of-18 passes for 157 yards and four touchdowns — to four different receivers — against the Longhorns. Catching TD passes were Wes Liles (15 yards), Derrek Mar (5 yards), Nathan Rose (5 yards) and Jeremy Gordon (5 yards).
“We expect Clyde to be one of the better teams we’ll face all year,” Pettit said. “They’re big, fast, strong and well-coached. They have a great back in Kevil and their quarterback can throw pretty good.”
Clyde should provide a significant challenge for a Bangs defense that gave up just 145 total yards in an opening 20-9 win over Comanche, but surrendered 399 yards at Breckenridge — including 243 yards on the ground. On the plus side, the Dragons did force four turnovers last week — giving them seven for the year — including a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Joey Lewis.
“Defensively, we need to work on a lot of things, including tackling,” Pettit said. “We had trouble with that last week. It seemed like we got a little tired and their numbers finally got to us. We had several kids going both ways and they got pretty gassed and winded. They wore us down. They had a big offensive line and some good backs.”
Offensively, the Dragons are averaging 28.5 points per contest through two games. Last year, Bangs had tallied a total of seven points in its first two outings.
Quarterback Justin Greenhaw threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Adrian Brown, 66 yards to Bradley Lee and 13 yards to Joey Brooke against Breckenridge. Greenhaw also rushed for a 15-yard TD, and the Dragons scored 23 points in the second period alone.
“Our offense was able to do some things and execute in key situations,” Pettit said. “We were also able to cut down on some penalties, which helped a lot. From an offensive standpoint, we were pleased with the numbers, but we still needed about four more points.”
Though the offense is worlds ahead of where it was at this time last year, Pettit pointed to a couple of areas where improvement still needed to be made.
“We have to get where we can execute in all areas,” Pettit said. “Our running game didn’t produce as much as I had hoped last week, but we were able to pass for some yards and it’s good to be able to do that. But we still need to be more consistent running the ball so we can control the clock.”
The Dragons will have their work cut out for them offensively, however, as the 17 points scored by Early last week was the most given up by the Clyde defense in 2007. Through three games, the Bulldogs are yielding an average of 12 points per contest.
Clyde gave up 308 yards of total offense to the Longhorns, but allowed just 87 yards rushing on 31 carries.
“Defensively, they’re very aggressive and run a 3-3 stack,” Pettit said. “They like to send their linebackers a lot, so we’re going to have our hands full again this week.”
Though a victory would be welcomed, the Dragons’ main objective this week is to remain injury-free. With Bangs playing with a thin roster as it is, the Dragons can’t afford to pile up injuries before next week’s district opener at No. 5 Coleman.
“We need to come out and have a good showing, but more importantly, we need to come out of the game healthy,” Pettit said. “We know this is the last tune-up before district, but we also know we don’t have a whole lot of bodies. We have to have them healthy when the games start counting next week.”
DRAGON FOOTBALL, Clyde (2-1) at Bangs (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday — Memorial Stadium, 2006 Result: Clyde 34, Bangs 20