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Clear Brook, Friendswood to test rivalry with different stakes

September 3, 2018

Friendswood head football coach Robert Koopmann has barely had time to catch his breath from an exhilarating win over Dayton to take a gander at what awaits him with neighboring Clear Brook this week.

Friday’s 7 p.m., matchup will represent Friendswood’s first home game, and it rekindles a rivalry, but with the Mustangs dropping to the Class 5A level this fall, Koopmann doesn’t have to stress the importance of a district game.

“I haven’t seen anything from Clear Brook, but I bet they played well if they beat La Porte,” the Mustangs head coaching said.

Friendswood, which is replacing nine defensive starters this fall, outscored Dayton 15-0 in the fourth quarter Friday to rally for 33-20 victory.

Clear Brook, meanwhile, also exhibited a second-half surge, outscoring the Bulldogs, 21-0, in the second half for a 28-6 victory.

Wolverine first-year head coach Lupe Florez, new to the rivalry, is treating the matchup with an air of calm.

“It’s just a football game - that’s how we’re approaching it,” Florez said. “Our approach for this game will be the same for every single game we play.

“That said, I know Friendswood is known for doing things right and for executing very well. We’ll have to clean up these penalties if we’re going to go beat them.”

Koopmann said his squad didn’t do itself a lot of favors in the win over Dayton.

“I feel a lot better about our performance after watching video than the taste I had in my mouth walking off the field Friday night,” he said.

“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot, offensively. We’d get it in second-and-two where everybody wants to live, right? Then we’d jump offsides or a receiver would move or we’d get a hold. We just put ourselves in bad situations.”

Much of Friendswood’s offensive woes was caused by Dayton’s 6-foot, 8-inch defensive end, R.J. Orebo, a Texas A&M commitment.

“He’s a presence now,” Koopmann said. “You have to account for him everywhere on the field. If he drops back in passing lanes, he’s dangerous.

“When he rushes, he’s so long. Most kids don’t want to account for a 6-8 kid. He gave us some trouble. He’s going to be playing in the SEC West next year so he should be giving us trouble. But he’s an awesome kid. He’s like No. 4 in his class. I got a chance to visit with him after the game.”

As a result of Orebo’s presence, Friendswood quarterback Luke Grden was only 10 of 24 passing, well below his accuracy ratio.

“We didn’t protect him well early, and we had four drops that I know of,” Koopmann said. “Luke also threw a couple of bad balls.

“Our troubles offensively were kind of on everybody, but we ran the ball well between the tackles. Colton (Halata) and Luke Revere rushed for 129 and 80 yards, and those were tough yards.”

Defensively, Koopmann was pleased with his revamped unit.

“We got tired a couple of times on defense, but that was mainly because our offense put them back on the field too soon.

“Dayton is a rhythm team, and they got in it for a while. We didn’t match their intensity in the second and third quarters.”

Koopmann also said playing at the Broncos’ field is no simple task.

“It’s never easy playing in Dayton, Texas,” Koopmann said. “We’ve scrimmaged there, but that ain’t the same thing.

“We played Dayton eight years in a row before we scrimmaged them, and I can’t ever remember an easy time in Dayton. Their kids are tough as nails and they play with great passion at home.”

Brook’s Florez said the Wolverines can move forward at a little quicker pace now that the newness becomes more familiar each day.

“We’ve got good film now,” Florez said. “I think if we had eliminated some of those earlier penalties, we could have saved ourselves some work.

“We’ll show our guys what they need to fix, and go from there.”

Koopmann said he’s eager to prepare for Brook.

“Since we’ve resumed this game, it’s been competitive as heck, but there’s been no negative part to the rivalry,” he said. “It’ll be a fun week for us.

“We’re going to watch video of our kids first, and then we’ll start attacking Clear Brook.”

tdunnam@hcnonline.com

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