ROCKWALL - It will be the DQ Big Game of the Week and Tyler Lee coach Kurt Traylor could think of no better time for the Red Raiders to be in the spotlight.
Lee (4-3, 1-2) is coming off its first District 11-6A win and now face Rockwall (2-5, 1-3). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wilkerson Sanders Stadium in Rockwall.
"It's sort of an honor to be asked to be a part of that, and I like it because the kids deserve it," Traylor continued. "When you work as hard as they do and show up every day, this is good recognition for them."
A victory for the Red Raiders would not only snap a seven-game losing streak that stretches back to 2004 (Lee and Rockwall were not in the same district from 2006-11), but it would keep Lee in control of its own destiny as far as the postseason.
Lee moved into the playoff conversation following a 49-20 win over Mesquite last week for homecoming. It was the Red Raiders first District 11-6A win this season and first league success period since the final week of the 2015 season, snapping a 10-game district drought.
Red Raiders senior quarterback Chance Amie, who was chosen American State Bank Player of the Week for his efforts, did much of the damage with his legs. The University of Houston commit scored four rushing touchdowns as part of 140 yards on the ground.
Teammate Ladarius Wickware was also nominated for the award after he produced two scoring runs as part of a 145-yard night.
All told, Lee rushed for nearly 400 yards in the victory. Traylor believes Lee will have to be as good if not better to contend with Rockwall and the expected weather.
"The forecasts for (Friday) are showing the wind is supposed to be blowing at 30 miles per hour, so we are going to have to run the ball," Traylor said. "We've got some studs in the running game, so we plan to keep doing what we're doing."
Lee is the top rushing team in the district, averaging 272 yards rushing per game. Wickware is the Red Raiders' leading rusher with 123 carries for 822 yards and seven scores. Thanks to last week, Amie now has 495 yards on the ground and seven scores. Lee can also turn to Lanthony Simmons (45-298, 3 TDs) or Jordan Printers (97 yards, 2 TDs).
Rockwall counters with a balanced attack piloted by quarterback Jacob Clark. The junior leads the district in passing yards (1,858) and touchdown passes (17). His favorite target is sophomore Jaxon Smith (52-843, 3 TDs) while he looks for senior Cameron Crayton (44-654, 10 TDs) in the red zone.
When Clark hands off, it is usually to senior Lo'yer Bailey, who enters with 790 yards rushing on 133 carries and eight touchdowns.
"Their quarterback is dynamic; they've got talent everywhere," Traylor said of Rockwall. "How they've won only one district game amazes me. They do a lot of play-actions, so we need to stay focused and locked in our assignments."
Lee's rush defense took a huge step forward last week, limiting Mesquite to 48 yards on the ground after giving up 235 per game in the six prior.
Traylor said the defensive improvement does not surprise him based on the work that unit has put in.
"They practice so hard and I say all the time the work you put in the dark shines in the light," Traylor said. "They've had some great practices, and when you are having a good time, you are going to have a good time at games."
The Red Raiders do not venture out of Tyler again after this game with contests lined up with North Mesquite (Nov. 3) and John Tyler (Nov. 10).
Lee is 2-1 on the road this season, and despite the extra hype of being the DQ Game of the Week, Traylor believes his players and staff will be ready to go.
"We just worry about us. Just show up and do your job," Traylor said. "Great programs just show up, and that is where I want to get this program. As long as we're getting better each week, good things are going to happen."
Raider Rap: Lee 9th grade A and B teams defeated Mesquite last week. Lee 9th Red won 42-28 with TD runs from Deuntae Jones (5) and Aaron Mitchell (10), and passing TDs from Trent Adams to Jaylon Caldwell (15) and Kavesdeon Tilley (39). Lee 9th White won 30-22 with TD runs from Landry Simmons (14) and Amare Howard (2) and TD passes from Landry Simmons to Zach Martin (16) and Monte Burns (17).