Back on the gridiron

Tigers start season with tough test against hawks


Photo by Kaitlyn Rogers

The football team huddles around one of their coaches as they take direction for the next drive. The Tigers will play Pflugerville Hendrickson in Waxahacie at 7 pm.

Story by John Morgan, sports editor

The Tigers begin their 2018 season in Waxahachie against the Pflugerville Hendrickson Hawks at 7 p.m. Both teams come into the game with new districts and huge expectations on their shoulders.

The Tigers aim to build off of a 7-4 campaign last year that saw them end the season with a hard-fought loss to eventual 5A state champion Highland Park. While they lose some key components on both sides of the ball, they hope to use their youthful talent to lead them to success this year.

“We cleaned up things that needed to be cleaned up from last week’s scrimmage,” senior Kendall Reid said. “We’ve moved on and have been working hard this week.”

For the Tigers, this game is the first of four in which they must travel at least two and a half hours. New district geography has given the Tigers a schedule that will challenge them before the playoffs begin.  

“The mood of the team has been energetic and eager to start the new season with this new schedule,” Reid said. “We’ll have to wait until game time tonight.”

The Hawks enter the season ranked twentieth in 6A, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, and look to make their way to AT&T Stadium in December. Their goal, however, is not to let expectation and preseason hype get the best of them.

“Rankings are a media anchor,” Hawks coach Chip Killian said. “Every year is a new team. I wish we could trade rankings for wins, but it doesn’t work that way.”

A stout defense including several NCAA Division 1 recruits is expected to make waves when the playoffs roll around. Led by University of California commit Curley Young Jr. and linebacker Cliffton Styles, they hope to ride this unit all the way to a state championship.

“Our mindset is set on a state ring and nothing else,” Styles said. “We want this week to be a statement game to show that we are not to be messed with.”

Each team has been watching game film of the other and are prepared to face off under the lights. They look to take into account both their strengths and weaknesses.

“We’re excited about getting to play a team from a part of the state we never get to see,” Killian said. “It will be a challenge for us. Coach Stanford and his staff do an excellent job of getting them to get after it.”

“Tonight, both teams look to start off their seasons on a positive note, hoping that a win can point them in the right direction for the rest of the season.”

— John Morgan

“[It should be] a blowout,” Young Jr. said. “I think our defense will play a huge part in our success, but I think our offense should rack up some points, too.”

The Tigers look to use the experience of playing a bigger opponent early on to their advantage later on in the season. Energy and effort are two traits they hope to utilize in tonight’s contest.

“It should be a good matchup,” senior Chris Lyles said. “They’re a bigger school than we are, but we just need to do our jobs and finish as a team.”