BANGS — Fresh off a fourth-quarter comeback and a 14-13 victory over the Winters Blizzards, the Bangs Dragons are targeting their first win streak since the middle of the 2014 campaign as the Coahoma Bulldogs visit for homecoming.
Kickoff between the Dragons (2-1) and Bulldogs (0-3) is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Bangs rolled past Early, 34-8, in the season opener, took one on the chin with a 56-7 loss to Hawley in Week 2 and scored and converted a two-point conversation with 4:49 left to upend Winters a week ago.
“We got into a dogfight and found a way to win it, so we felt like they grew up a little bit because of that,” said Bangs head coach Jim Bird. “The first two games either we won big or the other team won big.”
Trailing 13-6, quarterback Colton Brewer scored on a 1-yard carry with just under five minutes left and Zach Allen converted the two-point conversion to complete Bangs’ comeback.
“We didn’t play exceptionally clean early but the kids rose to the occasion when they needed to win the game, and went and did it,” Bird said. “We got in our own way offensively in the first half. We didn’t turn the ball over at all, we just had penalties at the wrong time and busted assignments here and there.
“In the second half we had one little drive and didn’t make much of it, then Winters took the football and had it for a long time and ate all the time off the clock the rest of the third quarter. Our second drive of the second half didn’t start until the fourth quarter. We told them when they went out on the field with 9½ minutes left that if we give up the football, we might not get it back. They may eat the entire clock up so we need to go score right now and they turned it on and went and did it. It was nice to see.”
The Dragons finished with 254 yards, including 237 on the ground, with no turnovers. Allen rushed for 98 yards, Brian Sterling added 88, Seth Anderson finished with 33 and Brewer chipped in 15 and both touchdowns.
Defensively, Bangs surrendered 321 total yards, including 294 rushing, but forced the only turnover and gave up just two touchdowns — one on a 75-yard sprint just 57 seconds into the contest.
“We gave up a big play right off the bat, just a technique deal, but the defense tightened up the rest of the game and played pretty well all night,” Bird said. “We were glad that we were able to end the game with a defensive stop because in that situation it only goes one of two ways, and too many times it goes the wrong way. We were glad to see our defense step up at the end. They played well all night and continued that and got a stop when we needed them to and preserved the win.”
Bangs enters Friday’s homecoming contest averaging 18 points and 257 yards — 200 rushing and 57 passing — per outing.
Allen (211 yards, TD), Sterling (207 yards, 2 TDs) and Brewer (140 yards, 3 TDs) have anchored the ground game while Brewer has connected on 15 of 36 passes for 170 yards and a score. Leading receivers include Kevin Blayne (7-50), Zach Allen (4-65, TD), Kaden Allen (2-11), Tanner James (1-33) and Sterling (1-13).
“We want to control the game offensively, be in control of the clock and not be scrambling. That’s what we would prefer to do,” Bird said. “We did a better job of protecting the quarterback last week and we need to continue to improve upon that, and just get a little better each day at what we do, no matter what position it is or who we’re talking about.”
The Dragons defense yields 26 points and 361 yards — 229 rushing and 132 passing — per game.
“Defensively, we need to keep playing with great effort,” Bird said. “It’s all about effort, heart and want to — not wanting people to score on you. Scheme means less defensively sometimes than offense because great effort overcomes a lot of problems.”
Coahoma comes to town having dropped its first three contests while allowing at least 40 points in each. The Bulldogs started the season with a 42-19 loss to Forsan, fell to McCamey, 40-26, and suffered its most lopsided defeat, 47-14, at the hands of Reagan County last week.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by quarterback Mason Moore (49 of 102 for 613 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs), running backs Braden Pearson (325 yards, 2 TDs) and Joe Isaack Escobedo-Gonzales (127 yards) and receivers Adam Clark (15-152, 3 TDs), Gage Clark Burdell (8-89, TD), Fletcher Mashburn (8-176, 2 TDs) and Zach Holmes (4-78).
Defensively, standouts include Mashburn (36 tackles, two for loss), Escobedo-Gonzales (35 tackles, three for loss), Clark (28 tackles, three for loss, one sack) and Caimon Billingsley (22 tackles, one sack). The Bulldogs have notched four sacks as a team, picked off two passes and recovered a pair of fumbles.
“Coahoma’s a spread offense and pretty multiple on defense,” Bird said. “They’re 0-3 but they have a few kids on their team that can play a little bit. If we go be us and play with great effort and enthusiasm we’ll be 3-1 when it’s over. But there’s no gimme games on our schedule, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing or where we’re at, we have to be ready to play. If we play without emotion and intensity, we’re subpar instantly. But when we play like we’re capable of playing we’re a pretty good football team. Our kids have embraced that, it’s who we are.”
According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Bangs is an 11-point favorite.