It’s not often you get two teams scoring 70 or more points in one week. It’s even more rare when those same two teams end up meeting each other in the next round of the playoffs. That’s what we have Friday night when Cuero and Navarro travel to Heroes stadium.
The Cuero Gobblers are coming off a 70-7 win over Crystal City, in which it was never really a question who would win. The Panthers did much of the same, beating Rio Hondo 71-44.
“Both teams are very explosive I would say Cuero with the kind of tradition they have, just have those kind of skill players that are just really dangerous,” Navarro coach Les Goad said. “It’s hard not to give up the big play.”
Both teams are hot, and Cuero coach Travis Reeve says this is the time to do that.
“We’re playing well at the right time,” Reeve said. “Our kids have a lot of confidence, we know we’re playing a really good football team this week. We’re going to need to play well and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Gobblers offense can be a lot of fun for fans, but not for the Panthers. Led by quarterback Drew Riemenschneider. The senior has found success thanks to two future Divison I athletes and a sound running back.
The first, junior Jordan Whittington, has over 1,200 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns on the year. On the other side is Bralen Taylor, who has six touchdowns himself. Last week, Taylor had the outstanding game while Whittington was mostly silenced for a majority of the game. Coach Reeve says it’s obviously a part of the game plan to get him the ball, but if it doesn’t happen, they have plenty of options.
“What we talked to our guys about was go play the game and the ball will come to you at some point in the game,” Reeve said. “We’re going to take what the defense gives us, obviously Jordan is a big part of that. Not only Jordan but all of our guys will be key for them to play well and what we do, I know that they will when the time comes.”
Navarro has had its hands full all week preparing for this offense. Goad said there’s not really a way to prepare for an offense like this one, though. As almost anyone can break a big play, but thankful familiarity is there.
The Panthers and Gobblers have met for what will be the fifth year in a row, the Gobblers have a 3-1 lead in that time. However, Navarro won last year, and keeping the ball away from those playmakers is literally the key.
“We’re very familiar with each other, they’re a very physical and talented group,” Goad said. “Our best hope in a lot of cases is grinding it out, keeping the ball away from them and having long, sustained drive. Although we do hope to get a big play or two in there, we hope to move the chains.”
No matter how much Cuero does score, it’s going to have to find a way to stop the Slot-T offense. The Panthers will mainly stick to the run, but when it passes, can be scary efficient. Senior Will Eveld has been taking snaps and though he has very little attempts on the year, has only thrown one interception.
“That’s one of the things that they’ve done well over the years,” Reeve said. “Not only do they do a good job of running the ball, they’re probably one of the best at throwing it out of the Slot-T of any team that we’ve played. You got to be ready at any time for a lot of different things and they’re passing game is one of them.”
The Gobblers had nine penalties called on last week, something they will need to lower if they wish to get away this time. Navarro can cause frustrations for opposing offenses, as its allowed less than 21 seven times in 2017.
“You never know those things are going to happen or not, I’m not sure if they have a history of that or not,” Goad said of the Gobblers issue last week. “Certainly I hope the bounces go our way in that department but it’s not something you can really count on.”
This game could go either way, as both have complete squads who will take advantage of any mistakes. You can catch it at Heroes stadium at 7:30 Friday night in San Antonio.
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