Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge Buckaroos wrap up second week of football practice with inter-squad scrimmage this evening

Breckenridge Buckaroos wrap up second week of football practice with inter-squad scrimmage this evening
August 14
10:08 2020

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

Fall football fever is back in Breckenridge and across Texas. For how long? That remains the million-dollar question due to COVID-19, but for the Breckenridge High School Buckaroo football team, it’s been business as usual for the past two weeks as the players and coaches started two-day practices on Aug. 3.

The Buckaroos capped off their first week of the 2020 season under first year head coach Casey Pearce with their Watermelon Inter-Squad Scrimmage on Saturday at Buckaroo Stadium; it was the first Watermelon Scrimmage in 20 years, Pearce said. And, they’ll wrap up Week Two with another inter-squad scrimmage at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, Aug. 14, in Buckaroo Stadium.

Tonight’s scrimmage will follow an afternoon of photos of the players and coaches during Buckaroo Media Day. The scrimmage was originally planned against Vernon, but the recently released UIL guidelines required that be canceled.

A new system

During the first week back, the Buckaroos were able to get a feel for how practice will be conducted and also had a chance to install portions of the new system that brings with it a different approach in offensive and defensive schemes, compared to the last several years under former head coach Casey Hubble.

Ashley Escalon with Mothers of Bucks hands out slices of watermelon following the Watermelon Scrimmage game on Saturday, Aug. 8. Her son is freshman Camden Escalon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Offensively, the Bucks will use a multiple set type of approach with a run first mentality to move the ball, while going with a 3-4 defense on the opposite of the ball.

Pearce said he was pleased with the first week of practice and how fast the players were able to catch on.

“I thought for the first week of installation the kids were very receptive and very intent on trying to learn new verbiage and did a really, really good job of falling in and finding a way to get into a new system and do the things it takes to accumulate into a different mentality of we are going to run the ball and throw the ball second type thought,” Pearce said. “I was very impressed because we got everything installed in a week. Are we playing it all against our offense? No, but every kid has heard every call that we will install until the open date.”

He said it is unbelievable they put so much in that first week of practice and the students were able to execute the new system so quickly.

“Our basic offense is installed, and as far as defensively, we got every piece of it in that I planned to have installed through the first couple weeks of non-district,” Pearce said at the end of the first week. “I thought it was fairly efficient. We got to practice faster and more efficiently. But for the first week and never having any days within the system, I think it went pretty good. I thought they did a good job of learning how to practice this week. We are going full pads every day now and we are going to the ground every day in tackling. I have yet had to raise my voice about a kid hitting somebody below the waist, and that is nice.”

There is still room for improvement for the Buckaroos moving forward, the coach said.

“Everybody is battling, and the kids playing on the offensive and defensive side are playing at high pad level. We got to get to where they are playing at rib pad level to where they have leverage,” Pearce said. “Just basic execution to when it comes down to 11 on 11 games. They got to be able to get in and out of an offensive huddle and know assignments and know how to get lined up. If they can’t line up effectively, they are already in a bad position.

“As we go along this week, we got to execute better on offense, and on defense, I think we know what to do, but we got to get that done effectively with pad level,” he continued. “Come next week, it’s on. We got to fight someone we do not know. We got to get after them.”

Breckenridge will host Mineral Wells in a scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20.

2020 Season

The Buckaroos return a fair share of talent from last year’s team but will lean on a new quarterback in Henry Johnson, who will fill Owen Woodward’s spot, following Woodward graduating last spring.

Due to injuries, a few freshmen saw playing time at the varsity level in 2019. Pearce said he sees that as a huge positive heading into the season.

The Buckaroos played an inter-squad scrimmage on Aug. 8, and will play another one beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, Aug. 14. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

“What I see is we got a sophomore class that learned a bunch last year,” Pearce said. “It is almost a blessing to walk into this job that has three or four sophomores that have playing time. Those sophomores that played up last year are in the top 10 percent of their class, and it shows in how they practice and how they lead.”

Among the top returners, Pearce said, the Buckaroos will lean on Johathan Trejo, Jonas Arellano, Isaak and Julian Eutimio, Logan King and Landon Riddle to help lead the charge for the Bucks in 2020.

“The senior class doesn’t have a bunch of talking and mouthing going on,” Pearce said of the senior class.“They aren’t trying to lead because they are seniors. They are trying to lead because they are hungry and want to execute. It is different than what I have been around in several years.”

The Bucks will have Jerry Lawson and Anson Rodgers back in the backfield; both were among those seeing playing time as freshmen in 2019.

Pearce said Rodgers and Arrellano will see most of the carries, but Lawson will play some tailback and get some carries as well.

At the receiver positions, look for Tyler Valdez, Colby Stober, J. Eutimio, King and Zeke Castillo to be the go to group in catching the ball.

King was an offensive lineman starter a year ago, while Castillo played primarily running back.

The Buckaroos will play Mineral Wells in a scrimmage on Thursday, Aug. 20, in Buckaroo Stadium. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

“Zeke played running back last year, but I think he will be a factor as a receiver for us,” Pearce said. “Logan can run and can stretch out for a ball. He’s one of our fastest kids. He’s kind of an ol’ country kid that catches the football. If you throw it around him, he will battle for it. He will absolutely block his butt off and go get a ball, too.”

The road to District 3-3A Div.1 play will be tough in every sense following a brutal non-district schedule.

The Bucks start the season with back-to-back road trips to Jacksboro (Aug. 28) and Ballinger (Sept. 4) before hosting Cisco on Sept. 11 for the first of three straight home games. They close out non-district with Eastland (Sept. 18) and Holliday (Sept. 25).

“I think we got to win some games that we are not supposed to, so that these kids will trust and believe in the system,” Pearce said regarding the tough non-district schedule. “You do not get to where you can play good people if you do not play good people.”

One thing is for certain, the Buckaroos’ run defense will be battled tested by the start of district play as all of their non-district opponents with the exception of Eastland are primarily run first offenses.

“We better get good at it (run defense). We are going get punched in the mouth,” Pearce said. “The old adage is everybody is confident until they get punched in the mouth. How will we respond to getting punched in the mouth by those teams? We better have a response, and it better be we are going to punch back. We got to play in the line of scrimmage. We got to find six to eight linemen that will kick your tail and play blocks. If we can do that, we will be all right because I think we got some linebackers that are going to come hit you.

“We are going to compete. That is what I want to see,” he continued. “We are going to line up and we are going to give you 48 minutes of effort. If we get out-played, we get out-played. I do not want to be out executed or out schemed. If we get out-athleted, then that is fine.

The road to the 2020 Class 3A playoffs will be another tough slate as the Bucks will be up against the likes of Clyde, Early, Wall, Jim Ned and San Angelo-TLC.

“We are going to figure out where we stand in this district, and I like our chances,” Pearce said. “If we come out of the non-district schedule with a couple wins and we go into that district schedule, we got a chance. That’s all I can say. I know this, we better be striving to be something else besides the fourth-place team. We better be playing for something else besides a playoff t-shirt.”

The Buckaroos are scheduled to open District 3-3A play on Oct. 9, at Clyde, then are home to host Early (Oct. 16) for homecoming, travel to Wall on Oct. 23 and host Jim Ned on Oct. 30. The district slate wraps up with a road trip to San Angelo-TLC on Nov. 6.

The 2020 Breckenridge Buckaroos Football Team picked up their new system quickly and efficiently, Head Coach Casey Pearce said. They played the Watermelon Scrimmage on Aug. 8 and will play another inter-squad scrimmage at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: The Breckenridge Buckaroos played an inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 8, after their first week of practice. They will play a second inter-quad scrimmage tonight, Friday, Aug. 14. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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