The Little Elm football team entered last week’s showdown against Justin Northwest the same as it will go into tonight’s meeting with Birdville – as underdogs.
However, the Lobos look to pull off another upset after knocking off the Texans, 32-21, last Friday in a game where a steady rushing attack and sound defense paved the way for victory.
Senior running back Jordan Hall ran the rock a whopping 25 times for 169 yards in the win, and head coach Kendrick Brown believes that getting him going will be another key to success against the Hawks.
“Hall’s performance gets a little hidden with other things that happened, but that’s about as good as a performance from a running back that I have seen,” he said. “We’ll see if we can build on that this week and see if we can get a little bit better.”
Hall’s counterpart, Birdville running back Laderrious Mixon, also had a huge opening week on the gridiron when he scampered for 159 yards on 29 carries.
Brown has tremendous respect for Mixon and knows he’ll be a handful to contain on defense, but Birdville’s gunslinger can also throw the ball around a bit too.
Hawks quarterback Stone Earle is coming off of a four-touchdown performance last week in a loss to Keller Central, and Lobos like senior defensive end Tyrese Powe will have to step up in key moments again this week.
Powe recorded three sacks against Northwest, and the havoc he wreaked defensively was a game-changer in containing the Texans’ explosive offense.
“Powe did what we knew he would do,” Brown said. “The key to us defensively is him being able to get pressure on the quarterback and be a run-stopper. There were times last week where he dominated the game for us and made some timely sacks to help us secure that win.”
Little Elm sophomore quarterback John Mateer gets the start once again under center after he threw for 113 yards and two scores last week and did not turn the ball over.
Protecting the football was the Achilles’ heel of the Lobos’ offense a year ago, and Little Elm will have a strong chance of starting the season 2-0 if it can do that again for the second consecutive game.
However, Brown and his staff are fully aware of the work cut out for them tonight against a Birdville group that lost last week in the final minute on a 42-yard touchdown pass with just 46 seconds left on the clock to fall, 35-31.
“We are just trying to keep those blinders on and stay focused one week at a time,” he said. “Birdville is a good opponent, but we have to continue on the same path that we were on last week. Win or lose, a lot of teams makes its biggest game in Week Two because you have had a chance to get a game in.
“Birdville also lost a close game last week and we have to expect that are going to really try and get revenge for its first win, too. This preseason schedule is a good indicator of where we need to be as we get into district play.”
Kickoff between Little Elm and Birdville is set for 7 p.m. tonight at the Birdville Fine Arts and Athletic Complex.