BANGS — The Bangs Dragons have had almost two weeks to relish their season-opening 20-9 win over Comanche. The Dragons will now shoot for a 2-0 start Friday as they venture to Class 3A Breckenridge to face an 0-2 Buckaroos squad playing in its home opener.
“It’s their first game at home under a new coach and a new system,” said Bangs head coach Eddie Pettit. “We’ve heard they might have some changes going on, and sometimes change is good. But it’s dangerous any time you go on the road to play an opponent like Breckenridge. They’re going to present some problems for us.”
The Buckaroos are coming off losses of 36-19 to Bridgeport and 28-14 to Jim Ned, a District 6-2A rival of the Dragons. But it’s not head coach Jeff Berry’s new spread offense that has caused the Buckaroos as much problems as their defense. Still, the possibility of a change at quarterback for Breckenridge is the greatest unknown Bangs faces.
Travis Wallis completed 13-of-25 passes for 108 yards with one interception in the Buckaroos’ loss to Jim Ned. Blaine Vick added 95 yards rushing on 12 carries, but 76 of those yards came on a first-quarter touchdown gallop.
“They are where we were last year in that they’ve gone from a wing-T offense to a spread offense,” Pettit said. “We’ve been told they might change quarterbacks, and if they do they’ll probably put someone back there that can run the ball a little better.”
The Dragons defense held Breckenridge to just seven points in a loss last season, and Bangs is expecting another solid effort based on the way the unit performed against Comanche.
Bangs forced three turnovers — including a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bradley Lee — and yielded just 145 yards of total offense to the Indians, including 95 yards rushing on 23 carries.
“Coach (Ronnie) Fowlkes and the rest of the defensive coaches have done a great job,” Pettit said. “They’re working on different game plans, trying to be aggressive and against Comanche that worked. We’ll try the same thing this week, but we know Breckenridge is very talented and has lots of speed. We have to be prepared for anything they throw at us.”
On offense, the Dragons picked up where they left off from the end of 2006 by spreading the wealth offensively. Bangs racked up 311 total yards, including 206 rushing on 40 carries and 105 passing on 4-of-9 attempts.
Lee ran for a 21-yard touchdown while Jeremiah Johnson contributed a 15-yard scoring scamper.
“Offensively, we spread the ball around and had several people touch the ball,” Pettit said. “We tried to mix up the run and the pass and balance it out as equally as we could based on what Comanche was giving us.”
Breckenridge will counter with a five-man defensive front that has allowed an average of 32 points per game thus far. But a year ago, the Buckaroos managed to keep Bangs off the scoreboard in its only shutout loss of the season.
“They run a five-man front and play a lot of man and man-free in the secondary,” Pettit said. “They like to send their linebackers from time to time and are aggressive on defense like we are. We do ours out of a four-man front, and they do theirs out of a five-man front.”
The Dragons’ oddly placed bye — which occurred last week — might prove to be more of an advantage this year with Bangs coming off a victory.
“Having the off week was probably good for us at this point in the season in that we had a few injuries we were able to nurse and we’ll hopefully have those guys Friday night,” Pettit said. “From a momentum standpoint, we’d probably rather have played coming off a win. But the kids are excited and upbeat and that’s a good feeling around here for us.”
In order to duplicate their opening win, the Dragons will have to correct their most glaring deficiency from the Comanche game, according to Pettit.
“If there was a down side, we had way too many penalties in Week 0,” Pettit said. “The No. 1 thing we have to do is cut down on the penalties. I don’t remember how many it was, 12 or 13 for over 100 yards, but that’s an area of concern that we’ve worked on and will hopefully get better at.
“If we can do that and take care of the ball, that will help us a great deal. It’s also still early in the season for us, so special teams is still going to play a role.”
DRAGON FOOTBALL — Bangs (1-0) at Breckenridge (0-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday — Buckaroo Stadium.
2006 Result: Breckenridge 7, Bangs 0