Mean Green to battle Steers for second place
Iowa Park’s Mean Green hits the road tomorrow for Graham the final District 3-4A game of the 2016 season, with both teams battling for second place.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Coach Kenny Davidson’s Steers are 5-4 overall this season, and 2-1 in district. They had to rally Friday in Vernon to defeat the Lions 28-25 after trailing 17-14 into the final quarter.
The Lions (2-7, 1-2) travel to Krum tomorrow for the other 3-4A DII final of the season. They have already secured the fourth playoff spot with an earlier win over Bridgeport (0-4, 3-7).
“They (Graham) just execute very well,” said Head Hawk Aubrey Sims. “They don’t beat themselves, or make a lot of mistakes, or turn the ball over. Defensively, they are very aggressive, and good tacklers. They run good schemes. It will be a challenge on both sides of the ball.”
The Steers opened the 2016 season with a 44-7 loss to Sanger on the road, then returned home the following week where they lost a close 34-30 decision to Brownwood.
The following week, Graham blanked Hirschi 28-0, then dominated Burkburnett 68-19 before losing 55-28 to Stephenville, then closing out non-conference play with a 50-20 win over Big Spring.
They started District 3-4A play with a 37-7 win over Bridgeport, then lost to Krum 42-35 with the Steers out of time and on the Bobcat one. They improved to 2-1 in district Friday with the close win over Vernon.
The Steers have had success with Davidson, going five rounds into the playoffs in 2014 before losing 23-20 to Argyle. The last time Graham played Iowa Park was in 2013, with the Steers dominating 45-3, and announcers from the Graham radio station bantering back and forth at halftime about the necessity to play the Hawks at all.
That season, they again went five rounds into the playoffs before losing 38-14.
This year, the Hawks and Steers are much closer in terms of talent and ability.
Asked what the Hawks needed to do in Graham tomorrow night, Sims answered, “We can’t turn the ball over. That’s kind of how Krum beat them – they didn’t make mistakes or turn the ball over.
“We have to win the battle up front. Their offensive line is pretty good. If they can manhandle you, they will.
“We have to tackle in the secondary,” he continued. “We can’t let them get a lot of yards after a catch. They’ve got quick receivers that run good, sharp routes. They are not necessarily going to beat you on a fade route, but they can run by you, and they do a good job after catching the ball.
“They are a good football team. They are going to make some good passes – the quarterback is pretty accurate, so they are going to catch a ball on us. We are going to have to have a short memory, and line up and play the next snap,” Sims said. “We’ve got to get them to third and long, and do a good job of stopping the run. Easier said than done.”
District 3-4A teams will face teams from District 4-4A in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs.
As it stands, 3-4A winner Krum will face the winner of the Venus vs. Waxahachie Life game.
Vernon with play the winner of the Glen Rose vs. Hillsboro game.
The winner of the Iowa Park vs. Graham game will play third place Godley.
The loser will play the loser of the Glen Rose vs. Hillsboro contest.
The runner-up in District 3-4A would likely advance in the second round with a win against District 1-4A champ Perryton.
The third place team from District 3-4A would likely advance in the second round with a win against Monahans from District 1-4A, as Monahans upset Sweetwater Friday night 19-16.
Sweetwater enters the playoffs against the third place team from Perryton’s district which includes Brownfield, Bushland, Dalhart and Denver City.