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Football: Improved Clear Falls takes on battle-tested Clear Springs

September 30, 2018

Normally at this time of the high school football season, Zach Head would be overjoyed to play a team with just one win to its name.

In truth, though, the Clear Falls head coach and his staff are on full alert.

When the ever-improving Knights (3-1) begin their District 24-6A schedule Friday, they’ll be taking on a Clear Springs squad that is by no means reflective of its 1-3 record.

“Their non-district schedule is as tough as it comes,” Head said of the Chargers. “We know how good Clear Springs is.

“That 1-3 record doesn’t define how good they are. When you play Katy, George Ranch, Klein Collins and Converse Judson…they’ve been through as brutal a stretch as I’ve seen. I don’t know of anybody that’s ever played a non-district schedule like that.”

But don’t look for the Knights to be offering much sympathy when the teams meet at 7 p.m., at Challenger Columbia Stadium.

With the exception of one season in its history, Clear Falls has experienced plenty of hard times. Now, however, the Knights are sporting a school-record three-game winning streak, which it hopes to extend.

“We’ve built some confidence, and the players are seeing the results of hard work paying off,” Head said. “We’ve done some good things in those three games, but there is plenty to work on.

“One, we have to protect the football. We’ve had turnovers every game. We can’t give teams short fields. Secondly, we have to play more consistent team defense. That means guys understanding their assignments, performing their role, and not trying to do everybody else’s job for them.”

While Katy was administering a 59-7 beating to the Chargers this past week, Clear Falls was winning a wild 69-46 shootout with Houston Bellaire.

In the Knights’ two previous games, they defeated Goose Creek Memorial, 56-30, and Texas City, 35-28. Falls’ lone setback was season-opening 45-35 loss to South Houston.

Clear Springs defeated George Ranch, 42-28, two weeks ago. In their first two games, the Chargers fell to Judson, 46-28, and Klein Collins, 28-21.

“Our guys have to be willing to play physical because Clear Springs is going to be very physical,” Head said. “Defensively, we can’t overcompensate, and we can’t worry about who gets credit for a tackle or a sack.

“At the end of the day, if all 11 guys are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll give ourselves a chance to be successful.

“The kids know how good Springs is. All those kids know each other, and we play them every year. They’re the district champs, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for them.”

The Chargers are led on offense by quarterback Garrett Rooker, running back Todd Hudson, and wide receiver/running back Isaiah Bibb. Defensively, noseguard Jason Gold clogs up the middle.

Clear Falls’ offense, which is averaging more than 48 points per game, is fueled by quarterback Gavin Esquivel and wide receivers Dorian Mason and Brandon Woodson behind an experienced offensive line which includes Lanson Smith, Emery Gallia, Conner Foreman and Malik Petteway.

The game will be Clear Falls’ biggest hurdle of the year against a team many have picked to win the 24-6A crown.

“Our kids have seen us experience some adversity and overcome it,” Head said. “We’ve been in some challenging situations and found a way to be successful.

“We’re no longer talking about bigger picture goals. ‘Win the moment’ is our philosophy as a program. Whatever happens tomorrow night, we’ll put that one aside, shut the door, and get ready for the next one.”

tdunnam@hcnonline.com

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