The days when teams beat up on each other all week during game week practices are mostly gone. It used to be common to hold live, full-contact scrimmages once a week. Some programs are more physical than others, but it’s generally accepted that cutting your own players and tackling to the ground are too risky and draining to be done during the week. How teams practice means that despite watching a team all week, I’m often surprised by what I see Friday night. Last week in Port Lavaca I wasn’t prepared for the physicality of the Calhoun team and this week at Stamford, I again saw things that didn’t show up in practice.
Stamford was coming off a very convincing win vs. Merkel in week two. This is always a dangerous situation for a good team early in the season. Kids sometimes figure they can just show up and win based on the colors they wear and past success, forgetting the opponent has something to say about this. For a team that I thought was very sharp at practice during the week, the Bulldogs came out kind of flat during the first half last night vs. Colorado City. They made some mistakes I hadn’t seen during the week, running poor routes, misaligning and putting the ball on the ground when on offense.
On the plus side, the Bulldogs showed more raw football talent than practice had made me expect. Quarterback Hagen Hutchinson was picked as Texas Football Magazines 1A coverboy and preseason all-state quarterback for a reason. He makes good decisions and throws a great ball, but what was most impressive last night was how well he runs. He has the ability to create a great play out of nothing with his moves and speed. The Stamford receivers are better than I’d expected, they have good hands and run well. The Stamford offense relies on screen passes out of a single back set. A quarterback who can throw or run and receivers who get yards after the catch makes this team very hard to defend when they’re executing.
After leading only 13-6 at the half, the Bulldogs pulled away and put away the game in the 4th quarter beating the C-City Wolves 34-14. The Stamford coaches seemed a bit down about the performance. This is a team that has very high expectations and to reach them they’ll have to clean some things up. That said, Colorado City is a good 2A school and winning by 20 points while not playing your best football is not a bad place to be. I expect Stamford will continue to improve and I hope to see them again in December.
I want to thank all the coaches and everyone else that was so helpful during my week in Stamford. From what I saw, this is a great school and a town that supports and takes a lot of pride in ALL the schools activities. Locals wanted to talk to me about the nationally renowned ag. program as much as the football team.
I’m in Fort Worth tonight getting ready for my week with the Aledo Bearcats. Check in next week.