Hawks host Krum in tough District 3-4A opener
After building a spotless 6-0 record in non-conference action for 2016, Iowa Park’s Mean Green will now face a clean slate at 0-0 along with four other teams for the start of District 3-4A play tomorrow.
One thing for sure ... this is one of the toughest districts in Region 1 of Class 4A Division II, and each week will be a battle.
Iowa Park’s first test will likely be its toughest, as the Hawks host the Krum Bobcats tomorrow, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. in Hawk Stadium.
Krum, which finished non-conference play with a 5-1 record, returns eight offensive and six defensive starters from last year’s team, which defeated Iowa Park 35-21 in the area round, and advanced to the state quarterfinals where they lost to Celina 42-13. Prior to that, they blanked both Godley (28-0) and Sweetwater (31-0).
The top two offensive threats for the Bobcats are returning back Haeden Knight, who had success against the Hawks in last year’s playoff, and last Friday ran for 201 yards on 18 carries and three TDs in a 56-28 win over Texarkana Pleasant Grove, and quarterback Brandon Reeves, who switched to under center after playing slot receiver in 2015.
Reeves completed six of 11 passes for 117 yards and two TDs against Pleasant Grove, and ran for 185 yards in 16 carries and two scores (37 and 66 yards).
The top defensive player for Krum is defensive end Dakota May, though the Bobcats defense is tough through the lineup including linebackers Ryan Gipson and Coleton Spradley, and defensive end Raymond Barrington.
In the 2016 opener, Krum defeated Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt 36-0. In the second game Krum held a 6-0 lead over Sanger in the first half before losing 14-6.
The Bobcats followed with a 65-7 win over Lake Worth, and a 41-16 win over Carrollton Ranchview before the win Friday over Pleasant Grove 56-28. In that game, Krum actually trailed at halftime 21-20 before taking control of game and outscoring their opponent 36-7 in the final two quarters.
“It doesn’t matter if we are 0-6, everybody starts over right now,” said Head Hawk Aubrey Sims. “Our record means absolutely nothing. If we don’t win four of these next games, we’re not going to the playoffs. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to get in.”
Asked if Krum was the predistrict favorite, Sims replied “I would think so. Trying to compare opponents and teams each have played ... you know they played Sanger a pretty good game, and Sanger beat Graham pretty good (44-7).
“If you look at some of that, you would say yeah, Krum is probably the better team,” he continued. “And I would think we would be underdogs in this game, and I think we would be an underdog against Graham, and against Vernon it would be a ‘pick-em’. I think we are in the toughest region.”
As for the district opener tomorrow, Sims said “Obviously, we would like to get them back for knocking us out of the playoffs last year. But, that was last year’s team. Every year you start over. Even though a lot of these kids were on that team, you just refocus each year.
“And everybody is a little bit different,” he continued. “Their kids returning from last year’s roster, they have put on 20 and 30 pounds. They are just huge. But I think we are playing a little bit better in some areas. But I think Krum is better than last year. I think their quarterback and runningback are as good as anyone we’ve seen.”
On the Bobcat quarterback, Sims said “He throws the ball hard. He has a real strong arm. And he is just a running dude.”
On Knight, Sims said “He hurt us last year, and he runs the ball hard.
“I just think we are doing better defensively than we did last year. They are going to score, and move the ball. We’ve just got to be able to answer and win some special team battles. They are bigger than us. We’ve just got to be able to use our quickness and do some things that benefit us.”
This past Friday, Bridgeport improved to 3-3 with a 63-42 win over Benbrook, Vernon dropped to 1-5 with a 37-17 loss to Canadian, and Graham improved to 3-3 with a 50-20 win over Big Spring.
In addition to Iowa Park vs. Krum tomorrow night, Graham will travel to Bridgeport, with Vernon idle.