ROWLETT FOOTBALL DAARON LOVELESS

Daaron Loveless and the Rowlett defense will to slow down Wylie as they try to remain alone in first place in 10-6A when they meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.

Rowlett and Wylie have similar histories in recent years.

The Eagles have made the playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons, while the Pirates have qualified in 13 of the last 17 years.

That parallel has not extended to the teams’ head-to-head meetings. Wylie holds a 6-1 edge in the all-time series and has won five in a row, including a 42-28 win last season.

Rowlett (3-3, 3-0 in 10-6A) will look to reverse that trend when it hosts the Pirates (4-2, 2-1) on Homecoming at 7 p.m. Friday at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.

All of 10-6A is coming off a bye week, which for the Eagles meant putting their three-game winning streak on hold. It may have not been the most ideal timing, but head coach Doug Stephens said the team will make the most of it.

“Once again, the bottom line is the bottom line and that is the W, so we’re really excited about that, but as coaches, we’re looking for perfection and we understand we’re not going to get it, but we need to just keep coaching, keep working with them,” Stephens said. “We’ve had a good two, three weeks of practice, so we’ll get together, do some different things this off week and get back to the grindstone.”

Rowlett quarterback Alex Routt has been the most consistent offensive weapon. Routt has thrown for 873 yards and six touchdowns and also leads the team in rushing with 73 carries for 417 yards and five scores.

The Eagles have been looking for a running back to step up and it has not been easy, but D’Wonyae Newton rushed for a pair of touchdowns in their last game against South Garland and Colton Yarbrough had a huge game, catching a 55-yard scoring pass and rushing for touchdowns of 71 and 3 yards.

Tre’von King is among the district leaders with 30 receptions, Antonio Hull is averaging 18.2 yards per catch (20-364, 3 TDs) and Yarbrough emerged as another big option two weeks ago.

They will face a Wylie defense that has been solid, holding Sachse and Garland to 21 points before surrendering 27 in its first 10-6A loss to Lakeview two weeks ago.

Dezmond Adamson, Anthony Munoz and Andrew Williams rank among the team leaders in tackles. Williams has nine tackles for loss and three sacks, Kortlin Rausaw also has three sacks and the Pirates have gotten interceptions from five different players.

Offensively, Wylie has used a pair of quarterbacks, though Mason Lang took all the snaps in their last outing.

Lang has thrown for 649 yards and seven touchdowns and Marcus McElroy has passed for 508 yards and a pair of scores, though they have also combined for seven interceptions.

Rowlett will have to be concerned with a trio of capable receivers in Aaron Henry (24-367, 2 TDs), Mykal Ford (14-279, 2 TDs) and Malik Ford (19-232, 3 TDs).

The Pirates do have a question mark in the backfield, as leading rusher Tre Sheffield (108-424, 5 TDs) had to leave the last game with an injury.

The Eagle defense gave up 45.3 points per game in non-district but has gotten better since.

Rowlett held Naaman Forest to 151 yards in a 7-6 victory and North Garland to 256 yards in a 27-26 victory.

The numbers in their 44-28 victory over South Garland are a little misleading, as the Colonels scored three touchdowns, including two in the final 52 seconds, after the Eagles had opened a 37-10 lead.

Senior Andrew Drain is having a big season with 51 tackles, nine sacks and eight pass breakups. Jeremiah Franks has recorded 35 stops, with seven for loss, and Daaron Loveless has a pair of interceptions.

Last season, Rowlett entered the meeting with a 5-0 record, but that abruptly ended as Wylie opened a four-touchdown lead and went on to a 42-28 victory.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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