Roscoe is trying to return its football program to the heights it enjoyed for most of the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s, when the Plowboys were regularly competing for district titles and making annual trips to the playoffs â€” 13 straight from 1998 through 2010.
Albany, which pays a visit to Roscoe on Friday, is a good example of where the Plowboys would like to be â€” 5-0 (2-0 in District 7-1A, Division II) and currently ranked No. 9 in the state in Class 1A. And itâ€™s nothing new for the Lions, either.
â€śAlbany has been one of the top teams in Class A for a long time,â€ť said Roscoe coach Jake Freeman. â€śThey have experienced the suc-cess weâ€™re striving for. We want to see how we can compete with one of the best in the state.â€ť
Roscoe (2-3, 1-1), though, is coming off a 56-31 loss at Cross Plains â€” a game that the Plowboys led 31-14 at the half before the Buffaloes came roaring back with 42 straight points. Mental mistakes were Roscoeâ€™s biggest problem, Freeman said. â€śWe blew some assignments defensively and struggled to run the football,â€ť he said. â€śWe have to improve in the way we handle adversity.
â€śThis was a teaching tool we can use to show our kids that if we donâ€™t stay focused for four quarters that no lead is safe.â€ť
Albany, currently tied with Hamlin and Cross Plains for the District 7-1A lead, has won its district games with Ranger and Gorman by a collective 125-0.
But Roscoe, Freeman points out, has played â€śex-tremely wellâ€ť at home so far. In two games, Plowboys are averaging 46 points with wins over Irion County (45-26) and Baird (47-6). Still, he knows his team is in for a real battle Friday and will go in as a big underdog against the Lions.
â€ś(The kids) know about Albany and their success and they are hungry for a shot at them,â€ť Freeman said. â€śThese men know whatâ€™s at stake and they are eager to get out on the field and give Albany our best shot.
â€śItâ€™s going to be a huge challenge and a great oppor-tunity for us to show that we are a good football team. Most importantly, we are looking for a district win.â€ť
With its 2-3 overall record, Roscoe has already matched its win total for the last two seasons combined.
And they have also won big at home after each of the last two defeats.
If they can duplicate that feat again, it will be one of the biggest wins in recent school history.
To win, Roscoe must con-tain Albanyâ€™s talented dual threat of quarterback Drew Neece and running back Caleb Masters. The latter averages 10 yards a carry, with 684 yards rushing on 68 carries, while Neece has 617 yards passing and another 237 rushing.