Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge Buckaroos prepare to start district play on Friday in Clyde

Breckenridge Buckaroos prepare to start district play on Friday in Clyde
October 04
09:41 2020

By Brant Thurmond/Breckenridge Texan

The first five weeks of the 2020 football season have come and gone for the Breckenridge Buckaroos, and now it is time to for the games that count toward a potential playoff berth.

Despite an 0-4 start for the Buckaroos, the team has made significant progress from week to week and could very well be on the brink of something special when it comes to the District 3-3A Division I portion of the schedule.

If there is one thing first-year head coach Casey Pearce knows how to do, it is win. Pearce brought with him an abundance of knowledge and success when he returned to Breckenridge High School to be the head coach of his alma mater in March. One can bet that he will have his Buckaroos ready to play for a playoff spot starting this Friday, Oct. 9, in Clyde.

Pearce noted the progress the Buckaroos have made, but said that, in his mind, there will always be something to work on and improve on.

“I don’t know that we have taken any steps backwards, so that’s always a good feeling to know,” Pearce said. “There’s just a long way to go. I don’t know if anyone around here has figured it out, but it’s not ever going to be good enough for me. These kids need to understand that. There’s always going to be something we can control and get better at. We are just going to keep taking shots at it.”

Pearce said one of the biggest things that can be improved is the ability to make adjustments on the field.

“We (coaches) got to get these kids to where they can make adjustments on the field without having to be coached through the adjustment,” Pearce said. “They (the players) got to know enough about the system and how to fix a problem that we are facing when we get it.

“When we get to that point where they can make that decision on their own without having to be told to make that decision, we are going to be OK,” he continued. “We are getting closer. There are some things starting to click.”

One thing is for sure, the Buckaroo offense has continued to improve from week to week. The Bucks were shut out in their first three games but did manage to put points on the board in their 35-12 loss to Holliday.

Although the scoreboard didn’t reflect the progress, Pearce said the steps and knowledge of the offensive scheme have improved each week, but more progress in key aspects of it still need improvement.

“I think we have the framework the offensive system installed, but there are some intricacies to blocking things that we haven’t learned,” he said. “It comes down to very fundamental footwork and communication skills between the offensive front and the quarterback and running back group to be able to function at a high level, and we just aren’t there yet. We are at about 69 percent. We are close to being a group that is average, but we aren’t there yet.”

Defensively, the Bucks held three teams to under 14 points, however Holliday put up 35 points against the defense.

“I think we got exposed a little bit this last week (versus Holliday) with some fatigue and some fundamental play,” Pearce said. “We got to finish plays and finish people off by getting stops.”

DISTRICT 3-3A OUTLOOK

In a very competitive district, the road to the playoffs is a tough one, and the goal of Pearce and the Buckaroos is to have a winning record in 2020 district play.

“We want to try to be at least 3-2 in district,” Pearce said. “If we can win three district ballgames, it gives you a little bit more different mentality going into an opportunity for a possible playoff.”

“Everyone on our schedule with the exception of maybe TLC thinks that they can beat us,” Pearce said. “We are going to have to prove to people that we can win to change their thought about the Buckaroos. We are the homecoming game on the three road trips. When people view you as their homecoming game, you better have a different thought process and want to go fight and make them take you off their schedule as the homecoming game. I don’t know if anybody sees it that way, but I don’t want to be somebody’s homecoming game.”

With the different offensive variations in offensive schemes that come with the district, the Bucks’ non-district schedule has helped them prepare for it.

“We are fixing to see every variation of offensive that we have just played or prepared for in the last five weeks,” Pearce said. “The question is, ‘Are you going to remember and be able to fall back on game planning on those previous five games and be better in those district games than you were in weeks 1-5?’ Because if you can be, because it’s on video, those coaches watch video, too, we got to be able to fix those problems.

“We are going to get ready to play a variety of offensives and be ready to have a solution for a variety of defenses,” he said. “We got to go execute and correct those mistakes that we made in weeks 1-5.”

District opener vs Clyde Preview

The Clyde Bulldogs head into Friday’s district opener with an overall record of 1-4 with their only win coming against Riesel High School on Sept. 12.

The Bulldogs had losses against Cisco, Idalou, Ballinger, and Sweetwater.

Clyde returns six offensive and two defensive starters from last year’s team that went 3-2 in district and got knocked out of the playoffs in the Bi-District round.

One of the top returners is quarterback Dylan Neuman, who has passed for 530 yards and three touchdowns in five games. Neuman has also rushed for 301 yards and six touchdowns this season.

The Bulldogs’ leading rusher in so far in 2020 is Austin Hastings who has 407 yards on 63 attempts and two touchdowns.

Jacob Roberts has been Neuman’s go-to target so far this season with 23 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns.

“They have some very talented skill position players and have some long-range receivers that can go get the football,” Pearce said. “The 50/50 balls are going to be huge for us. Can we defend the 50/50 balls? The running back skill set is really good and probably the fastest back we have played against this far.

“Their (Clyde) offensive line is huge,” he continued. “They are 260 across their front if not bigger. We got our work cut out for us there.”

Pearce said the Bulldogs will be in an odd man front and do not blitz or bring pressure very often; however, when they do, they are successful with it.

“They aren’t as pressure happy as Holliday, but they are very efficient when they do bring pressure,” Pearce said. “Obviously, we weren’t really successful with a lot of pressure on us in the Holliday game. They (Clyde) are going to bring it, and we must be ready for it. We are fixing to catch a bunch of pressure from people and we better have a solution.”

Other District Opponents

Early Longhorns (Oct. 16) in Breckenridge

The Early Longhorns are 3-2 so far in 2020 with wins over Tolar (41-25), Merkel (31-20) and San Angelo Grape Creek (36-0). Their two losses came from Bangs (28-0) and Comanche (35-7).

The Longhorns average 23 points per game on offense and 21.6 points per game on defense.

Early is led by running back Alex Jacobs, who has 498 yards rushing on 79 attempts and five touchdowns, and quarterback Jaxyn Price, who has thrown for 434 yards and three touchdowns. Price has also rushed for 192 yards on 54 carries and one touchdown.

Wall Hawks (Oct. 23) at Wall

The Wall Hawks start the district portion of the season with a 3-2 record with wins over Eastland (38-3), Cisco (35-14), and Mason (42-7). Their two losses came to two non-UIL teams in San Antonio Cornerstone (24-6) and Midland Christian (41-7).

The Hawks average 25.6 points per game on offense and 17.8 points per game on defense.

Wall, a predominantly run-first offense, is led by Dominic Garcia, who has rushed for 461 yards on 58 attempts and four touchdowns. Drew Morrison has rushed for 446 yards on 72 attempts and has six touchdowns.

Morrison also serves as the Hawks’ quarterback and has thrown for 105 yards.

Jim Ned Indians (Oct. 30) in Breckenridge

The Jim Ned Indians are 3-1 this season and have an unconventional season due to COVID-19.

The Indians have wins over Eastland (62-27), Cisco (39-20), and Hallettsville (24-21). Their lone loss came in week one against Ballinger when they lost to the Bearcats 20-14.

The Indians are led by Xavier Wishert, who has rushed for 453 yards on 35 carries and has eight touchdowns. Rob Young is the second leading team rusher with 155 yards on 29 attempts and one touchdown.

Tate Yardley leads the Indians’ passing attack with 479 yards and four touchdowns, while Braden Lewis is the leading receiver with six receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown.

The Indians average 34.5 points per game offensively and have allowed 22 points per game defensively.

(Individual stats were prior to the Indians game against Hallettsville on Friday, Oct. 2.)

San Angelo TLCA (Nov. 6) in San Angelo

TLCA heads into district play 0-5 in 2020 with losses to Brady (81-8), Junction (40-13), Grape Creek (42-12), Regan County (61-0), and Stanton (68-0).

The Eagles average 7.8 points per game offensively and have allowed and average of 57.6 points per game defensively.

(Individual stats were not available at time of publication)

District 3-3A Oct. 9 Games

  • Breckenridge at Clyde
  • Jim Ned at Early
  • Wall at TLCA

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