By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
What a difference a week makes for the Corsicana Tigers.
The Tigers are on a winning streak. They’re in third place in district. They’re coming off their best defensive effort of the season.
And it’s Lindale that comes into Friday’s 16-4A game with big injury problems and a six-game losing streak since a season-opening win over Tyler Chapel Hill.
Should make for a nice homecoming game for the Tigers?
Yeah, hold on a second.
The Tigers (2-5, 1-1) still have a lot to prove in what is now a three-game season to make the playoffs. Lindale (1-6, 0-2) pretty much has to win Friday night at Tiger Stadium to control its own destiny to make the playoffs.
“This is their season,” Tigers coach Phil Castles said.
Like it was last week for Corsicana, which had to have a feel-good win on the road in Nacogdoches. The Tigers got it, stinging the winless Dragons with a 28-7 thumping in the Pineywoods.
It put the Tigers on the right course, something Lindale desperately needs now. Don’t forget that Lindale has lost to Tyler John Tyler and Whitehouse, which at this point in the season stand alone as the best two teams in 16-4A with 2-0 district records.
“It’s a big game,” Lindale coach Mike Meador said. “Right now we’re trying to figure out some identity. We’re overcoming injuries.”
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Lindale has lost its starting quarterback for this season, not to mention its top two tailbacks.
Corsicana knows the feeling with quarterback Devontay Bell having his ACL surgery last week (it was successful) and tailbacks Donovan Fields, Tygarius Sheffield and Ronnie Devereaux all missing time because of injuries.
Sheffield and Fields were both at full strength against Nacogdoches, combining to rush for 224 yards. The Tigers’ offensive line again played a strong game.
“We just keeping on doing a good job up front,” Castles said. “And our backs are running hard.”
Lindale has had to transform its offense behind two sophomore running backs, Delenis Garrett and Aaron Jackson. Both should be playing on the junior varsity, Meador said, but injuries forced them onto varsity. Garrett did rush for 127 yards against Whitehouse.
Cody Slice has taken over at quarterback for Josiah Johnson and had two touchdown runs in a 56-24 loss to Whitehouse.
“He’s done OK,” Meador said. “He went into the year as the backup. He works hard. He lacks confidence in himself.”
Lindale, which relies on 10 sophomores, does have three senior linebackers to lean on in Tyler Daniels, Lane Walters and Lance Kane.
Corsicana’s defense comes off of a dominant effort. The Tigers didn’t allow a score and had a goal line stand. They forced five turnovers.
Linebacker Cedric Weaver and freshman cornerback Tray Owens had spectacular games to set the tone for the entire Corsicana defense, which impressed the Lindale coaches.
“They did a good job,” Meador said of the Corsicana defense against Nacogdoches. “They played more aggressive.”
How will that translate into this game?
It’s a new week, both coaches agreed, and in a six-game district, every game seems to be magnified.
“If you win the right games you have a great shot,” Meador said.