Rattlers look to get healthy for season’s stretch run

October 19, 2013

Tolar head football coach Mike Franklin said most of his players with injuries were back on track this week and ready to play again.

The Rattlers (4-2 overall, 2-1 in District 6-2A, Division II entering last night’s game at Mildred) went through a rash of injuries that sidelined a few Rattlers and slowed down others.

His list of walking wounded was down to just two players by mid-week as the Rattlers prepared for last night’s big test at district favorite and 2012 state finalist Mildred (5-1, 3-0).

Running back Cory Solomon sat out almost two full games earlier in the season, then re-injured it in the second half of last Friday night’s 41-14 home loss to Scurry-Rosser. But Franklin said Solomon “tweaked it” when asked about his latest ankle setback and he could have gone back in the game if needed.

The Wildcats had jumped out to a 41-0 halftime lead, however, and went on to remain undefeated (6-0, 3-0).

Franklin said that linebacker T.J. Foster has been cleared to play by a doctor after suffering a minor concussion.

“We’ve got bumps and bruises but it’s Week 7 and those things are going to happen,” Franklin said. “Our kids have worked hard and their attitude is good.”

The Rattlers are seeking a second consecutive playoff appearance. A win last night would have left them no worse than tied for second. A loss, however, and they will likely finish no higher than third in district.

NCTA COACH HOPING TOUGH

SCHEDULE PAYS OFF

Look all around the state and it will be difficult to find a more challenging schedule than that of the North Central Texas Academy Pioneers.

That is why, despite their 2-4 record, they remain ranked second in the state in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Six-Man Division II. In fact, the team ahead of them, No. 1 Wichita Falls Notre Dame (6-0) is one of the teams to have defeated the Pioneers, 76-26 in last week’s district opener.

The Pioneers’ other losses have been 66-28 at Blum (7-0, No. 13 in University Interscholastic League Division I), 63-16 at Zephyr (5-1, No. 14 in UIL Division I) and 54-44 at home to Lingleville (5-1, also UIL Division I).

Their two victories have, ironically, both been in Mineral Wells. They defeated Mineral Wells Community Christian (4-3, No. 11 in state in Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship) 80-32 and steamrolled Harrold (1-6, UIL Division I) 54-8.

“We needed a tougher schedule than we had last year,” said NCTA head coach Kirby Rasco. “It (the schedule) not help us late in the last year.

“I wanted us to be tested early and often, wanted our kids to face adversity, and create some toughness we lacked last year.

“My hope was to be 3-3 or 4-2 at this point, but I feel we are in good shape. I wanted our schedule to make us better, and I believe it has.”

The Pioneers’ remaining games are at home against Dallas Fairhill (1-5) last night, at Wichita Falls Christian (4-3), at home against Fort Worth Covenant Classical (3-3) and home against Brownwood Victory Life (2-4).

“I feel confident against anyone we will face in the next two months,” said Rasco. “Our goal now is to take care of business so we can see Notre Dame again in the semifinals.

“We did not play a very good game against them.”

The Pioneers let an early 14-0 lead slip away, thanks to a pair of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

UNDERCLASSMEN HELPING

IN CRUSADERS’ SUCCESS

Cornerstone ccoach Bobby Johnson has called upon some players from the junior varsity to help out on the varsity for the 5-1 Crusaders. He noted that a trio of this group has grabbed his attention in a big way, Tanner Ives, Kyle Hutto and Sam Rue.

“This is Tanner’s first year to play football, and he is a natural,” said Johnson. “He runs north and south hard. He’s not afraid of getting hit and able to pass really well on the run. He is definitely our future spread back.”

About Hutto, he said, “He is an up-and-coming receiver with great hands and is very intelligent. He is very durable.”

Of Rue, a middle linebacker, he praised, “Sam is a very good defensive player. He can be very physical. He is smart and determined.”

The three have seen limited action on the varsity, but enough for Johnson to say they have definitely helped the Crusaders in what is their best regular season so far in their short history (three years) of varsity play.

Cornerstone advanced to the third round of the Texas Christian Athletic League playoffs the past couple of years. The Crusaders switched to the Texas Christian Athletic Fellow this season.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

[email protected] |817-573-7066, ext. 256

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Category: Sports Archived, Tolar Sports Archived