BANGS — The Bangs Dragons took their second District 4-3A Division II loss on the chin last week, suffering a 60-18 home loss to the Tolar Rattlers. The schedule gets no easier this week as the Dragons hit the road for the first time in district action to visit the Cisco Loboes.
Kickoff between the Dragons (2-4, 0-2) and Loboes (5-1, 2-0) — who are ranked No. 2 in Class 3A Division II by Harris Ratings Weekly — is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Cisco is coming off a 42-21 victory over Coleman, which knocked off Bangs, 22-6, in the 4-3A Division II opener for both squads.
“What we talk to our kids about is having the opportunity to go over there and get after a team that’s one of the Top 5 in the state,” said Bangs second-year head coach Jim Bird. “We’ve talked about going over there and giving them our best. We played with Coleman, it was a tight game for a long time, and we want to continue to raise our level to the teams that are considered top tier teams in the district. We want to get to the point where we’re in that mix. The only way you can do that is by raising your level, and that’s hard to do if you’re never confronted with that level.”
Looking back on the loss to Tolar last week, the game started on a positive note for the Dragons — who tallied the first touchdown — but the rest of the contest was dominated by the Rattlers.
“The game started off in the right way. We put a drive together and scored on a big play, but Tolar did a good job of coming back and answering pretty quick,” Bird said. “On that drive their starting quarterback got hurt. The kid they brought in did a tremendous job and made them tougher to defend than the kid that started. He added the running element in there a little bit.
“Shortly thereafter our quarterback got hurt. Colton (Brewer) hurt his leg and played the rest of the way, but he really had no mobility. He’s real big part of our running and passing attack. A lot of sprint out, play action stuff we had in the game plan we weren’t able to get done because he didn’t have the mobility, so we were pretty much limited to keeping him in the pocket, and all of our option game was gone out the window. We lost a good half or better of our playbook. We slowed down offensively for a little bit, but were able to put another drive together and scored on a touchdown pass before the half. But they got some momentum going on the offensive side of the ball and put some points up in a hurry. We turned the ball over a little bit, which is something we haven’t done and that didn’t help our cause any.”
Bird stated Brewer was day-to-day and his availability against Cisco may not be determined until right before kickoff.
“Colton is going to be fine, but we want to make sure we take care of him first and foremost,” Bird said. “If he’s able to play he will and if not we’ll get him ready for the next week. We’ll have to make a few adjustments on our end personnel wise, but we’re still going to go over there and see our kids play hard and get after it and do the best they can to win each and every football game we play.”
Cisco — whose only lost this season was a 19-18 affair at Wall — averages 41 points and 389 yards — 297 rushing and 92 passing — per contest. Quarterback Kase Gayle is the driving force behind the Loboes offense, rushing for a team-high 755 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 30 of 48 passes for 550 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Other contributors on the ground include Dalton Cozart (184 yards, 2 TDs), Dathan Harding (145 yards, 4 TDs), Cecil Beasley (143 yards, TD), Dylan Brunson (131 yards, 3 TDs), Sean McAllister (109 yards, 2 TDs) and Seth Allen (88 yards, 6 TDs). Leading receivers include Korey Kelley (12-158) and Brunson (8-179, 3 TDs).
“Cisco’s a tremendous football team,” Bird said. “They came off a victory over Coleman in pretty good fashion and we all know how good of a football team Coleman is. Their offensive and defensive fronts are really impressive. They’ve got good sized backs, receivers and linebackers, real physical kids and they just know how to win. It’s a unique opportunity and a neat opportunity to go and be exposed to that.”
Bangs comes into the game averaging 16 points and 240 yards — 158 rushing and 82 passing — per outing while allowing 32 points and 385 yards — 248 on the ground and 137 through the air.
Brewer has completed 41 of 90 passes for 467 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for 218 yard and three scores. Brian Sterling (341 yards, 3 TDs) is the top rusher followed by Zach Allen (282 yards, 3 TDs). Primary receiving threats include Kevin Blaine (17-193), Sterling (9-114, 2 TDs), Allen (5-71, TD), Justin Wilson (5-57) and Tanner James (4-52, TD).
As for the keys to Friday night’s contest, Bird said, “ Offensively, we can’t turn the ball over. We have to keep the ball, use the clock, move the chains and try and finish some drives and slow the game down.
“Defensively, we have to stand in front of them and be physical like we were a couple of weeks ago when we played Coleman and make them have to earn it. Limit the big plays, which is something we didn’t do real well against Tolar. They didn’t have too many huge plays, they put some drives together, but at the same time they were getting it in bigger chunks than we could avoid to give up.”
According to Harris Ratings Weekly, there is no line.