This one will be the toughest test to date.
The Seguin Matadors, fresh off the “walk-in-the-park” shellacking of Austin Navarro last Friday, now step up in competition.
The Mats (5-1, 5-4 overall) travel to Austin on Friday night to take on Austin LBJ (5-1, 7-2) for outright second in District 26-5A-I.
Head coach Travis Bush didn’t mince words when talking about the Jaguars.
“They’ll be the best team we’ve played by far this season, and even getting into the playoffs,” he said. “They’re extremely talented, they’ll have the most speed, have really good size and they’re extremely aggressive. There’s a reason they’re playing the way they are.”
The Jaguars fell to Dripping Springs four weeks ago in a very tight ballgame (17-14), before rolling over the bottom half of the district in the last three weeks, beating Crockett, Austin Navarro and Travis by a combined score of 208-0.
The coach saw the film of the Dripping Springs game, and felt like the Jaguars should have won.
“I felt like LBJ had the upper hand in that game, they really kind of gave them the game,” Bush said. “They had some penalties and some things late that allowed Drip to get into scoring position.”
Bush thinks the best chance for the Matadors to win is to limit the LBJ offense and keep the game a defensive battle.
“Nobody has scored any on them this year, the most they’ve given up is 21 points,” he said. “For us to win the game it’s going to have to be a low scoring game, they’re not going to give up many points.
“We can’t make little mistakes, or they will be magnified against a team like this.”
To limit the offense, the Matador defense will hope to eliminate the big plays.
“With the talent and speed that they have, they can score on any play,” Bush said. “We’ve got to be sound, make sure we get pressure on the quarterback and really limit the big play, which is what Dripping Springs did.”
The Jaguars’ defense is also a point of concern for the coach.
“Defense is their strength,” Bush said. “Their front six, the D-line and linebackers, will be the best we’ve seen. It’s going to be tough, nobody has really scored on them — they’ve given up 70 points the entire season.”
‘They’re going to look like the Baltimore Ravens out there. They probably average about 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, in the 230 (pound) to 240 range. The linebackers are over 6 foot, they’re long and lanky. We’ve got to find ways to run the football effectively, and win some one-on-one battles.”
Dripping Springs is the only team in the district to score on the Jaguars.
Seguin will try to counter that defense with now 1,000 yard rusher Marques Washington (19 touchdowns) and quarterback Jhalen Mickles, who has thrown 1,387 yards and 13 touchdowns against just two interceptions. Clark Ullrich has been the leading receiver with 538 yards and seven touchdowns. Jonathan Patterson and Dravan McKnight have caught four touchdowns each on the season.
A win would give the Matadors the No. 2 seed out of the district.
“The only situation we have right now is that we’ll have a (playoff) game next week,” Bush said. “This game will determine who and where that is.”
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Nelson Field in Austin.
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .