Non-district presented Bishop Gorman a plethora of challenges and achievements. The Crusaders (2-1) opened in prolific fashion, faced a toilsome road test and even took on Mother Nature.
Head coach Coby Gipson hopes those things, among others, prepared his team for this week's league opener at Bullard Brook Hill (1-2).
"We saw not only the outside challenges like road games and weather games, but we saw teams that were fast teams that threw the ball and teams that ran the ball and teams that played physical," he said. "We believe going forward we have a chance to accomplish some things."
In the season opener, Gorman looked impressive from the opening whistle to the final buzzer in a 48-9 victory that could've ended even more lopsided. In their second game, the Crusaders fell 59-42 at home to an Arlington Oakridge team that beat them by 43 points last season and launched a six-game skid.
And last week, they avenged 2012's loss to All Saints with a 53-12 victory on the road and in inclement weather.
When asked to grade his team's non-district performance, Gipson said: "I'd say right now we are a B and we've seen some very positive things from our offense and our defense and our special teams, but we have yet to see the consistency in all three we are striving for. We are eager to see our guys take the next step."
The next step is, of course, Bullard Brook Hill, which beat the Crusaders 62-28 last season.
"Brook Hill has obviously established themselves as a premier program in TAPPS," Gipson said. "Anytime you have a state championship in your trophy collection within the first 10 years of your program, that's a good thing."
The matchup presents Gorman its second straight game against local competition, which means bragging rights will be on the line once again and the atmosphere should be all the more compelling. Not only that, the winner will be 1-0 in district and on a faster track to challenging for the playoffs.
"I think that the old coaching clich￩ is true to a certain extent; that it's just another game," Gipson said. "But there is also a past history between the teams playing against each other, even in the state semifinals. When you have a history like that, it does add an extra element in."
In the past two weeks, Brook Hill has lined up against a perennial 2A power (Garrison) and a much larger enrollment 3A school (Spring Hill).
The Guard (1-2) came out on the short end in both of those contests, but now comes familiarity as TAPPS D-II District 2 play begins this week with a home game against Bishop Gorman.
Brook Hill has found it difficult to run the ball, averaging 68 yards per game with two touchdowns. The Guard have countered that with 693 yards through the air in three games, led by receiver Seth Brasher, who has 22 catches for 362 yards and two touchdowns.
— Shane Stark & Chris Parry
COUGARS RECHARGED AFTER BYE WEEK
After starting the season 3-0 for the fourth time in five years, Grace Community went into its bye week ready to rest and recharge for Friday's start to TAPPS D-II District 2 play.
That meant different things to different Cougars. Foremost, the entire team enjoyed its annual afternoon with the Azleway Boys Ranch last Tuesday.
"Our boys have really bought in to the concept of doing for others and it's just a great week to just refocus and concentrate on the things that matter in life," Grace coach Mike Maddox said.
For others, like starting lineman Clay Costiloe, the idle week allowed extra time to heal injuries. Additionally, injured star Kade Clayton went under the knife Sept. 18.
"They got him fixed up real good," Maddox said of Clayton. "He's anxious to get back to rehabbing and building himself stronger than ever."
— Travis Yoesting
ALL SAINTS IMPROVING, EYEING FIRST WIN
The All Saints Trojans try to get in the win column this week as the football squad hits in the road.
All Saints travels to Bettie to meet the Union Hill Bulldogs, a UIL Class 1A team.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Billy Bass Stadium, 2197 FM 2088.
Last year, the Trojans played perhaps their best ballgame of the season, scoring a 55-0 win over the Bulldogs.
All Saints is 0-4, while UH is 0-2. It is the Bulldogs' homecoming.
All Saints coach Mike Hall said his line has steadily improved each week. He stated tight end William Alexander got an "A" for blocking in last week's game with Bishop Gorman.
Hall also added offensive linemen Morgan Bain, Blake Bengtson, KJ Beckham, Victor Ortiz and Brock Lutz continue to get better.
— Phil Hicks