This one means a little bit more to Devontay Bell — and the Corsicana Tigers.
It’ the kind of game that can give a whole new meaning to the term rebounding.
The Tigers face Forney Friday night on the road, and if it wasn’t enough for this team to point to this game as a possible turning point to the season, the game means even more to Bell, who suffered a torn ACL in last year’s win over Forney — an injury that ended his season.
“He’s excited about this game,’’ said Corsicana coach Steve Hoffman, who knows just how much beating Forney would mean to his quarterback. “We know it’s a big game for us and a big game for him because of what happened last year.’’
Hoffman’s a hands-on, players coach, so he sat down with Bell and talked about the emotions of playing against Forney.
“We sat down and talked one-on-one this week,’’ Hoffman said. “He’s a kid with a lot of pride. He wants to do well. We talked about it, and he wants to play well in this game. It means something to him — it means a little extra.’’
Bell’s comeback has been well documented as he has made strides, literally and figuratively, to get back to where he was a year ago. His speed has returned, and Hoffman said he expects Bell to get better and better as the season progresses.
Bell, an electric quarterback who is the catalyst of Corsicana’s offense, ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 49-21 loss to Red Oak. he has run for 219 yards on 36 carries (6.1 yards per carry) and he’s completed 17 of 40 passes for 178 yards in two games. Both sets of numbers are expected to go up, and no one would rather have a big game against Forney than Bell.
“He’s done a great job,’’ Hoffman said. “He’s run the ball well, and he’s thrown the ball well. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do even though we have put a lot on his shoulders. He’s our go-to-guy and I think as the season progresses he’s going to get better and better.’’
The Tigers are still looking for their first win, and a victory on the road Friday could be a turning point in the season for a Corsicana team that has moved the ball well in both losses but has struggled on defense.
Hoffman has stressed better tackling and playing better overall, and his defense will have to find a way to stop a balanced Forney team that came back with 21 unanswered points in its opener to beat Royce City, 21-12, before getting hammered 45-13 by Lovejoy last week.
“They have a good running back and they have good size,’’ Hoffman said. “They have used two quarterbacks and both have done a good job for them. We’ve just got to play better and tackle better. We had a good week of practice and the kids are resilient. The kids have their heads up and are itching to get back on the field.’’
Tray Owens, who is called T.O. by his coaches and teammates, has taken some of the pressure off Bell. The sophomore tailback has had back-to-back 100-yard games and has rushed for 231 yards on 48 carries this season. And Donovan Fields has had two outstanding games at safety and has also run the ball well.
“T.O. has done a great job for us,’’ Hoffman said. “He played some football last year and has some experience. We’ve got players like Donovan Fields, who has done a good job, players who have experience. Our experienced players have played well, and the ones without experience are starting to figure it out. They’re coming along and getting better.’’
Nothing would help more than a win.
“It would mean a lot,’’ said Hoffman, who took over the program in April. “It would be great. Every game is a big game for us. We’re going down there to fight tooth and nail to get a win. We need to start winning some games.’’
Corsicana at Forney
7:30 p.m. Friday
At City Bank Stadium
RECORDS: Class 4A Corsicana 0-2. Class 4A Forney 1-1.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Corsicana: QB Devontay Bell, DT Daruis Watson, TE/DE Tiano McDonald, RB Tray Owens. Forney: LB Colbey Michaelkovich, LB Blake Camion, QB Jake Guercia, RB: A.J. Atnip.
UPDATE: The Tigers were 0-2 last year when they beat Forney, but QB Devontay Bell was lost for the season when he tore his ACL in the win ... Bell ran for 134 yards last week against Red Oak and Tray Owens, who has had back-to-back 100-yard games, rushed for 125 last week ... Corsicana’s defense has given up 87 points in two games ... Forney scored 21 unanswered points to come back and beat Royce City, 21-12, in the opener ... The Jackrabbits lost last week to powerhouse Lovejoy, 45-13 ... Forney has used two quarterbacks this season ... Sophomore Luke Skipper has completed 6 of 11 for 137 yards and 2 TDs while Jake Guercia is 6 of 18 for 65 yards. Gurecia has rushed for 62 yards on 25 carries .. Tailback A.J. Atnip rushed for 106 yards on 15 carries in Forney’s win over Royce City.
— Mike Phillips