Lights, camera, action ...
As if the Corsicana-Waxahachie rivalry needed anything else. On Thursday night (yes, Thursday night) the two teams will play in front of TV cameras for the second year in a row. The bright lights didn’t work out so well for Corsicana last year when Waxahachie took a 15-12 lead and went on to win, 36-12.
Now for the sequel.
This one comes with a 7 p.m. start on KTXA, Channel 21 with a couple of teams and towns where there’s plenty of rivalry running through the veins of a series that doesn’t need much hype or a dramatic pregame pep talk.
“No, it doesn’t,’’ Corsicana first-year coach Steve Hoffman said. Hoffman’s new to the area, but he knows what Waxahachie-Corsicana means.
“It means a lot to the kids,’’ he said. “They know it’s a rivalry. We haven’t had a lot of success against them lately, and the kids want to change that. They want to be the ones who turn the momentum around.’’
If they do win, it could be the kind of victory that might just ignite Corsicana’s season.
“Any time you beat a rival it’s a big deal,’’ Hoffman said. “It’s a good game. It’s a big game. It’s different because of the rivalry. That adds excitement, and the game is on TV and that adds to the rivalry.’’
It’s a different week with the early start and short week of practice, but everyone is pumped.
“We’re playing on Thursday and we’re playing on TV and that’s got the kids excited,’’ Hoffman said. “It was a short week, but the kids worked hard.’’
The Tigers had a little extra pop in their step this week after winning their first game of the season.
It won’t be hard to promote this game on Channel 21. Just call it the sophomore coming out party for both backfields.
Everyone in Navarro County knows about Corsicana sophomore Tray Owens, who had a breakout game last week in Forney, where he ran for 356 yards and three TDs to help the Tigers come back in a 36-17 win. That 356 carries a lot of weight. It’s the second highest single game rushing total in Corsicana High history.
Owens, who had back-to-back 100-plus yard nights to start the season, leads the Golden Circle with 587 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry. He has scored four touchdowns, and had a 98-yard TD run, an 82-yard TD run and a 79-yard run that didn’t make it to the end zone last week.
Waxahachie has its own sophomore sensation in Trevon Smith, who had his own bust-out party last week when he rushed for 205 yards on 23 carries and scored all four touchdowns for the Indians in their 29-27 win against West Mesquite.
That game was close until the end and a skirmish broke out with about two minutes left in the game. Two Waxahachie players were ejected for their involvement, and coach David Ream has suspended both Lee Wheaton and Elijah Brown for the first half of the game against Corsicana. Neither is considered an impact player on a Waxahachie team that is led by Division I prospect Patrick Lawrence, a 6-6, 247-pound offensive lineman. Lawrence leads a big line that opens the door for Smith, who is a compact and physical runner.
“They are big and physical,’’ Hoffman said. “We are going to have to be physical with them, and we’re going to have to wrap up and tackle. He (Smith) is about 5-8 and 200 pounds. He’s physical and he has speed. He’s hard to bring down..’’
That said, Hoffman saw his defense turn its season around when the Tigers shut out Forney in the second half and came up with several big plays from defensive linemen Darius Watson and Tiano McDonald and from safety Donavan Fields. Watson and McDonald both had a couple of sacks and Fields had another impressive night, his third in three games.
“I was proud of our defense,’’ Hoffman said. “We have to string it together now, and have two good halves. I expect us to play good defense this week. Every week we’re going to get better.’’
Corsicana quarterback Devontay Bell, who didn’t play against Waxahachie last year because he was out with a torn ACL, has already rushed for 321 yards and thrown for 259 more.
Hoffman said Bell and Owens make a great tandem, and the threat of Bell taking off adds to the pressure Owens puts on teams. He knows all of Waxahachie will be keying on the Corsicana sophomore in this game.
“We can’t expect him to go out and get 356 yards and three touchdowns every game, but I expect him to get better every week,’’ Hoffman said of Owens. “He started at cornerback last year and didn’t run the ball. He’s gotten better every time he has stepped on the field.’’
Owens’ big night and the turnaround from the defense came just in time for the Waxahachie game.
“We hope to take the momentum from that game into this one,’’ Hoffman said.
Lights, camera, action ...
Corsicana at Waxahachie
7 p.m. Thursday
At Lumpkins Stadium
TV: KTXA Channel 21
RECORDS: Class 4A Corsicana 1-2. Class 4A Waxahachie 1-1.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Corsicana: RB Tray Owens, C Chris Jones, WR Ralph Watts, WR/RB Lakeem Christmas. Waxahachie. RB Trevon Smith, OT Patrick Lawrence, C Adrian Zavala, QB Avery Jackson, QB Max McCulloch.
UPDATE: The Tigers are coming off their first win, a 36-17 comeback victory over Forney ... Waxahachie won its first game last week, edging West Mesquite, 29-27, after being hammered in the opener, 49-14, by Midlothian ... Both teams saw sophomore tailbacks emerge last week ... Owens rushed for 356 yards, the second highest total in Corsicana history, and Smith ran for 205 yards and scored all four TDs against West Mesquite ... QB Devontay Bell has been the key for the Tigers all season, running and throwing ... Waxahachie has used two quarterbacks ... Corsicana’s defense, led by Darious Watson, Tiano McDonald and Donavan Fields, shut out Forney in the second half in its best game of the season ... Lawrence (6-6, 247) leads a big, talented OL for the Indians ... Waxahachie led 15-12 at halftime last year and then went on to win 36-12.