Two weather-shortened scrimmages against Wich-ita Falls Hirschi and San Angelo Lake View werenâ€™t able to accomplish every-thing Shane Mobley had hoped. However, the first-year Sweetwater head coach still thinks his team will be ready for Fridayâ€™s season opener at the Sammy Baugh Classic against a highly regarded Eastland squad.
And Mobley knows that his playersâ€™ ability to successfully execute his new spread offense will be crucial to the final outcome.
â€śThe key is to play all four quarters,â€ť he said Wednes-day. â€śWe know bad things are going to happen some-times, but weâ€™ve got to be able to overcome it.â€ť
For a program that has won just nine games since its last playoff appearance in 2008, starting out with a victory is important. The same is true for Mobley, who is in his first year as a head coach after serving as an assistant for many years. But he is taking a longterm approach when it comes to turning Sweetwaterâ€™s fortunes around.
â€śI think every coach wants to win his first game. But a win or loss will not determine the outcome of the season,â€ť he said. â€śA win would be huge, but at the same time it wouldnâ€™t be a make or break situation. But it will answer a lot of questions about where we are at the competitive level.â€ť
Mobley said the Mustangs are probably better condi-tioned for Fridayâ€™s opener than they realize due to an emphasis on it since two-a-days began.
â€śThere will be a lot of nerves out there before kickoff,â€ť he said. â€śWeâ€™ve got some young kids who will be stepping into their first varsity game, but I think they will be ready to get after it.â€ť
And they had better be, since Eastland â€” despite being a Class 2A squad, is coming off a 12-1 season and is expected to be strong again despite losing several players to graduation. The Mavericks are considered the early favorite in District 4-2A, Division I, which also includes 2011 playoff teams Merkel, Breckenridge and Clyde as well as Jim Ned, Comanche and Dublin.
Mobley said Eastland has an multiple-type attack that should give his team a good early test. â€śTheyâ€™ve got three solid, really fast receivers and their quarterback looked good against Anson (in last weekâ€™s scrim-mage),â€ť he said.
Mobley said he plans to start sophomore Kaegan Jeffrey â€” who was on the JV last year â€” with junior Sean Morrow also seeing action depending on game situations, with Ryan Linebaugh and Marquees Jenkins handling most of the running chores. Sophomores Bray Amos and Isaiah McGee, will be used at slot receiver along with junior Colton Belew and senior Nick Nemir, while junior Kaleb Hoover will start at flanker and senior Willie Norman will start at split end. The offensive line starters will be J.D. Davis and Angel Caballero at tackle, Andrew Davis and Joe Martinez at guard and Chase Saunders at center. Defensively, the starters wlll be Alex Garcia, Ty Davis and Jenkins at linebacker, McGee and Nor-man at cornerback, Hoover and Nemir at safety and Linebaugh, Luis Gaxiola, Kyle Lambert and Tadeo Canon-Masjoan on the line.