It’s the playoffs and anything can happen. Teams who are still playing in week two, aren’t there by accident, they’re there because of the talent, coaching and ability to keep up with anyone. That’s the mindset Reagan is taking into this Fridays game against O’Connor.
O’Connor (11-0) has been the best in the city, if not the area, this year. Quarterback Roel Sanchez can extend plays with his feet, pass to one of his many receivers or even take it himself for a long gain.
They have a defense too, led by Zaire Taylor. The Houston-committ can move around on the field and follow just about any teams best player.
The thing is, the Reagan Rattlers (9-2) are pretty good themselves. Both teams average more than 30 points a game. The Panthers definitely have the edge on that front, but throughout the course of the season have truly only played two or three close games.
Reagan, though, has all the experience in the world when it comes to nail biters. It has played in six games decided by seven or less and won four of them. Last weeks comeback win against Hays was the latest. If it happens again, Rattler coach Lyndon Hamilton has full confidence.
“Maybe it’ll come down to that at the end of this game,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know what the turnout will be but if we’re there in the fourth quarter, I really like our chances.”
To do so, they’ll have to contain Sanchez. If that happens, they won’t have to worry about receivers Jalen Hughes or Greyson Lee.
“O’Connor is so good, they have so many weapons, he [Lee] isn’t the only kid we focus on,” Hughes said of Lee, who has three touchdowns in the last two games. “We have to contain [Sanchez], he’s finishing up the year really strong for those guys. We need to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
If it comes down to it, there could be more than 70 points scored in this game. Both offenses have a combined 97 touchdowns this year, so it’ll be the team who can make less mistakes. In the turnover margin, that win goes to the Rattlers who have five interceptions and six picks this year. O’Connor has the same amount of interceptions but has fumbled the ball away six times.
This is one of the many reasons coach Hamilton believes his Rattlers can outlast anyone if it comes to it. Because he likes it when his team is the underdog.
If it does, it does. Our offense has the ability, we’re very balanced,” Hamilton said. “We take a lot of pride in being able to run the ball to set up the pass. If it turns into a track meet, it is the Texas High School Playoffs in 2017.
“If you look at some of these 6A scores, it’s about getting a stop. If you can get a stop when you need a stop, you can get a score, you’ll give yourself a chance to be there in the fourth quarter.”
Kickoff is at 2 p.m. in Farris Stadium.
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