BANGS — The final outcome may not have gone in the favor of the Bangs Dragons in the opener, but first-year head coach Kyle Maxfield found positives to build on heading into Friday’s Week 2 encounter.
The Dragons, fresh off a 60-20 loss at the hands of archrival Early, take to the road for the first time at 7:30 p.m. Friday to visit the Hawley Bearcats, who are coming off a season-opening 49-21 triumph over Roscoe.
“I don’t think the score ended up being indicative of how we played,” Maxfield said. “We were going toe to toe with them but two turnovers, counting the fumbled punt, changed the momentum. The second turnover when we fumbled on the jet sweep right before half, the wheels came off a little bit. We just couldn’t recover from that.”
The Dragons finished with 351 yards of total offense, including 269 on the ground, but four turnovers deflated an other wise solid performance. Seth Anderson, with 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Ethan Sanchez, with 122 yards, led the charge on the ground. Through air, however, quarterback Justin Wilson was 4 of 11 for 82 yards with a touchdown and an interception, as Anderson hauled in three passes for 54 yards and a score. Riley Taylor also pulled down a 28-yard reception.
“Both those guys are hopefully going to continue to be a big part of our offense,” Maxfield said of the two running backs. “Seth is so explosive so we try to move him around and get him the ball different ways. Sanchez, he gets sneaky yards. It doesn’t look like he’s picking up that many yards but he’s a great running back. That was the bright spot of the night on offense.
“Hopefully we can get our passing game going a little bit more. We’ve been working on it daily to get better. Up front, we’re still trying to find the right mix, but we’ve had a good couple of days of practice, so hopefully we can build on the positives.”
Where Bangs struggled from start to finish was on defense, as Early generated 716 yards — 419 passing and 297 rushing — to go along with its 60 points.
“Early, that big No. 81 (Ty Schafer) is a pretty good player and we just had trouble tackling him and some other guys in open space, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort” Maxfield said of the Longhorn receiver that grabbed eight receptions for 185 yards. “We’re young and inexperienced and that showed up in the back end probably more than anywhere. We’re really young at linebacker even though we have some older kids playing there, that was their first Friday night. Just the inexperience showed up. The bright spot is they’ve been working to get better this week, their heads are up, so we just keep on fighting.”
In Hawley’s win over Roscoe last week, the Bearcats scored the first 21 points en route to a 28-7 halftime lead, and carried a 49-7 advantage into the fourth period.
The Bearcats finished with 299 yards, with 218 coming on the ground, while the defense caused four turnovers.
Quarterback Dylan Frazier completed 8 of 16 passes for 81 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Colton Marshall sparked the rushing attack with 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Tanner Schnoor added 36 yards on the ground and scored twice. Robert Ybarra caught three passes for 29 yards, Garrett Hewitt grabbed three receptions for 27 yards and Ethan Davis caught a 25-yard touchdown.
Hawley also scored on a 46-yard interception return, and Hewitt returned a kick 80 yards for six points.
“They’re big guys, even their quarterback is big,” Maxfield said of Hawley. “I don’t think they have as much speed as Early, at least on film it doesn’t look like it. They had a successful year last year and still have some residue left from that. They look well-coached, nothing fancy on offense or defense, but their size might give us some problems.
“Defensively, their secondary, I don’t know how many interceptions they had against Roscoe but it seemed like they had several, so they have some guys that can make plays on the back end. They look like they know what they’re doing. I don’t know if you can false key those guys, they look like they’re well-coached.”
According to Harris Ratings Weekly, Bangs is a 35-point underdog.