KELLER, Texas — Keller Central and Fossil Ridge, two teams with so much familiarity, going at it again.
Friday night will be yet another matchup between the Chargers (5-2, 3-0) and Panthers (7-0, 4-0). This time, though, it’s possibly for a district title. The Chargers won’t say it’s the biggest game on their schedule but admit playing the crosstown rivals always gets the blood pumping.
“As the games go by, as you look at this one, this is a big game,” Charger Coach Bart Helsley said. “Both of us are undefeated right now in the district. But I think our kids always get up for Fossil Ridge anyway, so I think it’s just adding to it a little bit.”
Keller Central has spent most of the year frustrating opposing offenses. Having only allowed more than 16 points twice, the Chargers will look to rely on their defense Friday night.
It may be easier said than done, though, partly because of who is taking the snaps for the Panthers. Fossil Ridge senior Cobe Craft has thrown only two interceptions on the year. Pair his nearly mistake-free game play with sophomore Colione Evans’ more than 700 rushing yards, this Panther team is scary.
“Their quarterback [Craft] and their No. 1 receiver, Stephan Cobbs, have had tremendous seasons so far and they really are a big connection for them,” Helsley said of the Panther attack. “Then their quarterback and running back have done some things in the running games. They have big-play capabilities and they can move the ball in the air and on the ground.”
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The plan to stop them? Defensive Coordinator Mike Sports and his 3-3 stack are hoping pressure will be enough.
Experience on that side of the ball will and has been paramount. Keller Central had two all-state kids on defense return as well as having a couple of younger players stepped into starting roles.
This alone, though, won’t be enough. As you don’t get through seven weeks of football unscathed without a defense. Fossil Ridge has it’s own set of defenders that will look to stop the Chargers run-by-committee offense.
The Chargers will look to continue to limit mistakes in the redzone, take advantage of pressure on Cobe Craft to force mistakes and use Isaiah Ganaway as much as possible. If they can do all of this, controlling the pace of the game should come next.
A win over Ridge would possibly mean playoffs yet again for Keller Central, but its not looking that far ahead.
“Until we get to that point, it’s hard to predict that,” coach Helsley said. “We’ve got this game this week, tough game against Timber Creek next week and then Haltom. So it’s really hard to tell.”
The Chargers will be the away team at KISD Stadium in Keller, as Fossil Ridge will look to keep its record unblemished. Kickoff is at 7:30 Friday night.
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