By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun
The No. 8-ranked Navarro Bulldogs will face a mirror image of themselves on Saturday at 1 p.m. when they meet Cisco College in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference opener for both teams.
Both teams run a 3-4 defense and will employ offenses designed to throw the football and create openings on the edges for the running backs.
The main advantage for Navarro is that it has already played a game this season, whipping No. 5 Georgia Military, 50-30, last weekend.
But that doesn’t mean things will be easy at Tiger Stadium for the Bulldogs.
The Wranglers have a new coach in Dionte Dean, a new offensive coordinator in former Cisco head coach Kurt Nichols and a bonafide Division 1 quarterback in Richard Lagow.
After starring at Plano High School, Lagow has taken a circuitous route to Cisco.
He signed out of high school with Connecticut and then transferred less than a year later to Oklahoma State. After sitting out 2013, Lagow went through spring drills with the Cowboys before packing his bags for Cisco in mid-July.
“He’s a big kid with a strong arm,” said Navarro coach Brian Mayper. “I imagine he’ll be the starter out there for them and we’ll have to deal with a pretty good quarterback.”
Cisco will have a few concerns of its own, thanks to a powerful Navarro offense that ripped through Georgia Military for more than 400 yards, converting 11 of 17 third-down conversions along the way.
Running back Ke’Aun Kinner rushed for a career-high 148 yards on 31 carries and quarterback Carson Earp was a cool 17 of 25 for 195 yards and two scores while running for another.
There was that problem of holding onto the football that nearly created a nightmare effect in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs lost five of six fumbles in the second half and allowed Georgia Military to close within 36-30.
Thankfully for the Bulldogs, the defense was downright nasty when pinned deep by all the turnovers.
Blooming Grove freshman Jayd Kirby recorded eight tackles, a pair of tackles for losses, one sack and three quarterback hurries from his rush end position.
Inside linebacker Ben Jones added seven tackles, one sack, three quarterback hurries and broke up a pair of passes.
“The main thing this week we worked on was ball security and remaining a team on the sideline,” Mayper said. “We made a few mistakes offensively, but the defense really answered the call and kept them from scoring a lot of points. Our defense really rose to the occasion for us.”
Now Mayper would like to see a few turnovers created by that defense after being shutout 5-0 in the turnover department a week ago.
With the familiarity of the opposing offense and defense, perhaps it could trigger some miscues going in the Bulldog direction.
“We expect the same offensive and defensive schemes from Cisco that we’ve seen in the past,” Mayper said. “It’s like us lining up and playing against ourselves.
It’ll come down to which team makes the fewer mistakes. After last week, I’d like to see us get a few more turnovers. They’ll come with how good our defense showed it could be last week. I’d like to see them come this week.”