Leopards look to plunder Raiders on Leopard Friday


Kelsey Carroll

Sophomore Carson Collins looks to pass the ball downfield in game against West Mesquite Wranglers.

Caleb Stein, Staff Reporter

After bouncing back from multiple tough games in last week’s game, the football team is looking toward an opponent that looks to be “our new rival” according to sophomore defensive back Chase Coronado.

The Leopards (2-4 overall, 1-2 district) play Wylie East (4-2, 2-1) at home tonight at 7:30 p.m. for Leopard Friday.

“Wylie East will be a great competition for our team,” Coronado said. “As a defensive unit we have to limit the run and force them to pass. Our biggest challenge is going to be limiting Eno Benjamin. He’s an explosive guy, but we’re prepared.”

Benjamin, who has committed to Iowa, will be threat number one. Benjamin has thrown for only 426 yards on the season and five touchdowns. However, he rushed 22 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders’ 38-0 win against Royse City (2-4, 0-3) last week, bringing his rushing totals to 151 carries for 1,132 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“We need to play well on both sides of the ball for all four quarters like we did last week,” sophomore quarterback Carson Collins said. “If we carry on with that mindset, we can beat any team we play.”

Collins added to his impressive season totals in last week’s 35-21 win against Forney (3-3, 2-1), throwing 18 for 35 for 190 yards and three touchdowns. He also added one rushing touchdown, bringing his season totals to 1,353 passing yards and 13 touchdowns, along with two rushing touchdowns. Junior receiver Chase Van Wagoner caught 10 passes for 115 yards and all three scores, giving him 31 catches for 500 yards and seven touchdowns for the year.

“It was great to get the win against Forney,” Collins said. “For the first time this season, we played well on both sides of the ball for all four quarters and it was good to get some momentum and hopefully that will carry on for the rest of the season.

Coronado said the coaches making practice more physical played a big role in the outcome of the Forney game.

With Wylie East boasting one of the best rushing attacks in the district, with four separate players over 250 yards rushing, per SportsDayHS, the key factors to winning are clear to Coronado.

“For us to we have to force stops and turnovers on defense,” Coronado said. “And let the offense capitalize and put points up.”

To Collins, being physical is the most important factor of the upcoming game. He added that the team will have to be crisp on offense and take what the defense gives them.

“We’re looking to be the more physical team than them,” Collins said. “They’re strong and fast and they have a good defense. We need to be able to run the ball this week. Also, our receivers will be able to get off the ball and create separation so that we can get easy completions.”

While the win against Forney was exciting to Coronado, he said that the team has directed its focus to the future.

“After a win, there’s always a great feeling,” Coronado said. “Football is a week-to-week sport, however, so we got excited, but we still have got work to do.”