BANGS — The Bangs Dragons lived to play another day with last week’s 32-14 win over Jim Ned. Now the Dragons face the easiest two-game stretch of their District 6-2A schedule, but with the season on the line from here on out, Bangs can’t afford to take any opponent for granted.
The Dragons’ chase for the postseason takes them to Rogan Field Friday where they will face the San Saba Armadillos at 7:30 p.m. Bangs (2-5, 1-3) still needs to win out and get help to reach the playoffs, while the Armadillos (1-6, 0-4) are looking to snap a six-game slide.
“Things are just like they were last week for us,” said Bangs head coach Eddie Pettit. “We’re still in a must-win situation and hoping things fall into place to give us a tiebreaker advantage over some folks. Coming off a win, the kids definitely have a refreshed attitude and that should help us.”
Despite the troubles San Saba has experienced, the Dragons aren’t underestimating their opponent after suffering five straight losses themselves. The Armadillos lost each of their first three district games by 17 points or less, and San Saba is the only team thus far in 6-2A to have scored on No. 5 Coleman.
“There’s nothing we can look ahead to,” Pettit said. “We have to take one game at a time. San Saba’s record might not be real good, but they’re still a very scrappy team. We’re going to have our hands full. We can’t be overlooking anybody.”
The key to stopping San Saba’s offense will be shutting down quarterback John Henry, who Pettit said, “may be the best athlete in the district.”
Henry enters the game with 1,244 yards and 16 touchdowns passing, to go along with 393 yards and seven touchdowns rushing, unofficially.
“Their quarterback is a very talented kid and he’ll present a major challenge for us,” Pettit said. “He can run or throw and is equally good at both. There’s no weak spot on him that we’ve found, but he has been a little banged up most of year. But he’s tough and keeps on coming. We’re going to have to contain him.”
The best way to keep the ball away from Henry and company would be with the same type of ball control offense the Dragons displayed last week. Bangs rushed the ball 37 times for 305 yards, led by Joey Lewis’ 124 yards. In the last two games, Lewis has piled up 290 yards and three touchdowns.
Jeremiah Johnson also ran for a 9-yard touchdown and finished with 79 yards, while Justin Greenhaw scored on a 4-yard run and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Joey Brooke, who caught three passes for 65 yards.
“Offensively, I was pleased with us being able to put some points on the board,” Pettit said. “It was a pretty balanced attack, although we did run a lot more than we threw.”
Defensively, the Dragons surrendered just 236 total yards — including 135 rushing on 41 carries — and created five turnovers.
“Our defense again stepped forward and bailed us out of some jams,” Pettit said.
While Jim Ned has relied more on its ground game this season, San Saba will attempt to mix it up against Bangs.
“We feel like they’re going to spread us out and attack some spots where they think they’ll have us outmanned,” Pettit said.
The Dragons are also expecting the Armadillos defense to come right at them.
“They run a split or a 4-3 and their kids are very aggressive,” Pettit said. “They like to stunt a lot with their linebackers, so our linemen have to be ready to pick that up.”
Bangs should also benefit from good health across the board Friday night.
“This is probably the healthiest we’ve been all year,” Pettit said. “We don’t have any injuries that will keep anybody out.”
The Dragons’ key to coming away with another victory will be winning the turnover battle again. Bangs was plus three in that department last week.
“We have to take care of ball and we say that every week, but each week it becomes more important,” Pettit said. “We have to dot our i’s and cross our t’s.”