For a second consecutive season every member of the Granbury Pirates got into the football game against North Side, this time a 42-0 rout on the new synthetic turf on Johnny Perkins Field at Pirate Stadium.
But as much as Granbury head coach Scotty Pugh wanted every member of his squad to get some playing experience, he also acknowledged the effort from an outmanned and vastly out-talented North Side team.
And it took him back to his early days with the Pirates, when he was working on improving a downtrodden program a step at a time.
“Those kids from North Side are playing as hard as they can play,” Pugh said. “The coaches are coaching as hard as they can. The kids are very well-disciplined.
“They don’t deserve to be embarrassed.”
Anyone watching could see the Pirates could have won 100-0 had they kept their starters in and applied the pressure. They didn’t, because Pugh said he remembers being in the position of the Steers and wanting respect.
“The only thing I dislike about college football is the style points,” said Pugh. “I’m glad there’s no such thing in high school.
“There’s a lot to be said for going out there and getting your brains beat in even when you know what’s going to happen. It takes great character, and they will be the better for it, believe me.
“They showed up. They played. To me, that’s coaching. Those guys do a heck of a job.”
Pugh said he made a concerted effort to praise the North Side coaches following the game when they met at midfield.
“I told them good luck and keep doing what you’re doing. It will get better,” he said.
“I know from experience that any little words of encouragement will help. I remember when we were there. It wasn’t pretty, but obviously it can get better.”
Pugh is in his sixth season at the Pirates’ helm. His first team in 2008 went 0-10, followed by 1-9.
In his third season, the Pirates reached bidistrict for the first time since 1977. They followed with two more bidistrict appearances.
Pirate defensive coordinator B.J. Carlton praised his secondary and defensive line coaches for creating a turnover drill during practices.
“It’s pretty simple, really, but the kids love it and it gets them fired up,” said Carlton.
“We’ll throw a ball on the ground, or intentionally throw an interception. They eat that up.
“One of our team goals is to lead the district in takeaways.”
Takeaways were a big part of the Pirates’ success in 2012 as they recovered 15 fumbles and had eight interceptions. Through their first two games this season (they were playing at Mansfield Lake Ridge last night) they have four takeaways (two fumble recoveries, two interceptions) and have turned the ball over just once (interception).
DEFENSE AMONG LEADERS
Entering last night’s game at Mansfield Legacy, the Pirate defense ranked among the best in the Metroplex in several areas.
The Pirates were ninth in total defense, surrendering 186.5 yards per game. They were seventh in pass defense, giving up an average of 47 yards, and were second in scoring defense at 6.5 points.
In last week’s 42-0 win over North Side, the Pirates gave up no passing yards and just 68 rushing yards, despite emptying the bench in the second half.
“Those kids had some pretty good pressure on them,” said Pugh of the reserve defensive players.
“They wanted to preserve the shutout.”
RUNNING GAME IMPRESSES
Despite playing only a half, the Pirates’ two starting running backs, Malik Allen and Peyton Gilmore, each rushed for over 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns against North Side.
Allen carried the ball just eight times and finished with 122 yards and touchdowns of 2 and 21 yards. Gilmore had 11 carries for 111 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown.
“We had a good win at Wichita Falls the week before, but we didn’t know our identity,” said Pugh. “We wanted to establish a running game.
“We’re going to have to run to be successful.”
But their carries and yards weren’t the only things that impressed Pugh.
“I thought they did a great job of blocking for each other,” he said. “They were each a big reason the other had a great game.”
NORTH SIDE LIKELY
GOING BY WAYSIDE
While it remains to be seen what realignment will bring in February, Pugh said the Pirates will likely change their predistrict schedule. This means dropping North Side, which was 0-10 last season and lost its first two games this season by an 89-7 margin.
Granbury’s other two predistrict foes in 2012 were Wichita Falls (2-8) and Mansfield Lake Ridge (0-10). One of Wichita Falls’ victories, however, was a 24-10 upset of the Pirates in Granbury.
This season, both of those teams showed remarked improvement, with Wichita Falls standing 1-1 through two games, the loss being 27-13 at home to Granbury. Lake Ridge got its first varsity victory in the program’s two-year history last week, outlasting Burleson Centennial 77-75.
Still, Pugh said a shakeup is always interesting.
“In all likelihood, we’ll probably have a new schedule. I think it’s good for our kids to see different teams,” he said.
He said the team will also probably go back to five home games and five road games instead of the 4-6/6-4 format of recent seasons.
“Last season Lake Ridge needed another road game, so we accommodated,” said Pugh. “So that meant six road games this season. Before that, we were just trying to get games and weren’t in a position to be choosy.
“But we definitely want to be five home and five away if we have our say.”
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