Football hopes to continue win streak against North Forney

Team looks to slow down Falcons’ offensive juggernaut in potential shootout

Jackie Carroll

Benjamin Nopper, Staff Writer

After prevailing in a tightly-contested matchup last week against Wylie East, the football team (2-5 overall, 2-2 district) is preparing for a “shootout” against an explosive North Forney (6-1, 3-1) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Having bounced back from their five-game losing streak with two straight wins, the Leopards have put themselves in the midst of a playoff push.

“The next two weeks are very crucial to the season,” senior linebacker Bumper Pool said. “Winning these last two games was huge to us especially from a momentum standpoint. I knew that once we got past the first half of our schedule, we were going to open up because we are a good football team. Having two wins, and we only need two more to make the playoffs, it is very crucial that we can get one either Friday or next Friday.”

The task at hand this week comes in the form of a North Forney team that boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the state and has won its last two games by a combined 51 points. The Falcons are averaging 57 points per game and have scored at least 40 points in all seven of their outings this year.

Pool said that stopping running back Calvin Ribera, who is averaging over 8 yards per carry and has 15 touchdowns on the season, is a priority on defense but also acknowledged that the defense is familiar with facing dynamic running backs.

“I think we’ve got to continue to fit our gaps and make sure we go through our reads quickly,” Pool said. “I don’t think this running back is as good [as Wylie East’s running back]. His stats say otherwise, but the kid we played last week didn’t have as supportive of an offensive line as [Ribera].”

While North Forney’s offense has been racking up points all season long, its defense has been less successful. The Falcons have allowed an average of 33.6 points per game, similar to the Leopards’ average of 33 points allowed per game.

Junior quarterback Carson Collins said the game has the potential to be a shootout between the two offenses and that every drive is critical.

“We’re going to be able to throw all over them,” Collins said. “Their offense is really good, but they don’t trust their defense very much, so it’s going to be a shootout. It’s going to be a high-scoring game. We’re going to have to score every drive if we want to be able to win.”

Collins added that managing the tempo on offense has helped the team prevent fatigue over the past two games and that tempo will continue to be important this week.

“We’ve picked up the tempo [on offense], which helps the defense,” Collins said. “Both our offense and our defense get tired, but we know what we’re doing. Therefore, we need to execute what we do to make things easier for our offense and defense.”

Offensive line coach Dustin Gunter said that the team has remained positive all season long, which has boosted the team to its recent win streak.

“We’ve been preaching to our kids that we played one of the toughest schedules in the state,” Gunter said. “We knew that [the competition] would pay off and the teams coming up on our schedule weren’t as talented. They’re still good teams, but by getting those wins, that kind of justifies that we really did play some talented teams.”

Friday’s game will mark the penultimate home game of the season for the Leopards, as they travel to Mesquite Poteet next week before concluding the regular season at home against Royse City.