New Wortham coach Shane Doege can look back and say he got exactly what he needed out of his team last week.
Trying to forget about a 52-0 loss to Dallas First Baptist in the Bulldogs’ season opener, you’d have to say a 52-point win is bouncing back in a big way.
Wortham throttled Texas Christian-Waco 58-6 in its home opener last Friday, which gives the Bulldogs some needed momentum headed into Friday’s difficult game at Cayuga.
Doege said this week has started out like the last and that’s the key. Wortham got over First Baptist on that Saturday after the loss.
“It started the day right after with film,” Doege said. “Our guys were locked in. They were focused and eager to learn instead of feeling sorry for themselves. It carried over into Monday’s practice and all week. Their work level stepped up. Their focus stepped up.”
Wortham slammed TCA-Waco for 389 yards on the ground as the Bulldogs have developed a three-headed monster at tailback with Brysen Rhodes, Tyvon Freeman and Shane Sykora, who combined for 196 yards. Fullback Kyle Goerner had 92 yards.
Quarterback Witty Busby also threw for a touchdown and Rhodes had a kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We’ve developed well with our running game,” Doege said. “And Witty has done well. He’s been doing extra work and he’s locked into film study.”
Cayuga has plenty of offensive weapons of its own. Sophomore quarterback Chandler Rigdon is averaging close to 300 yards per game. He passed for 174 yards and ran for 115 in last Friday’s 34-24 loss to Mount Enterprise.
Running back D’onte Jackson is another threat. He rushed for 1,168 yards last season. Cayuga looks ready to rebound from a 4-6 season.
“We’ve got five experienced guys across the line,” Cayuga coach Alex Jenkins said. “We’ve got a sophomore quarterback who has put almost 600 yards in two games. We lost to a really good team on the road.”
Wortham’s defense will face a big challenge and Doege is well aware of it.
“They’re a good ballclub,” Doege said. “It’s going to be a good measuring stick for us.”
One thing the Bulldogs have done — at least for a week — is solve their turnover problems. They had seven turnovers plus they had a muff on a kick in the loss to First Baptist.
There were no giveaways in the TCA win.
“We really put a lot of emphasis on that last week,” Doege said. “It’s almost an anomaly. We know we’re better than that. I just don’t think we were ready to go that first game mentally.”
Wortham at Cayuga
7:30 p.m. Friday
at Scarborough Stadium
Records: Class 1A Wortham is 1-1. Cayuga is 1-1.
Players to Watch: Wortham: QB Witty Busby, RB Brysen Rhodes, RB Tyvon Freeman, OL/LB Steven Hutson, OL/NG Cameron Lewis. Cayuga: QB Chandler Rigdon, RB D’onte Jackson, LB Donald Holly III, OG Daniel Jock, K Stephen Slater.
When Wortham has the ball...
The Bulldogs have a huge offensive line that averages 231 pounds, and they run the Power I, an offensive formation that is a lost art at the high school level. RBs Brysen Rhodes and Tyvon Freeman combined for 175 yards and three TDs in a 51-6 rout of TCA-Waco. Rhodes can get it started before the Bulldogs have the ball — he had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week. Wortham bounced back from seven turnovers in its season-opening loss to First Baptist to zero against TCA-Waco. Cayuga is thin at linebacker as Tannel Tunsel is out for the season with an ACL injury. LB Donald Holly III had five INTs last season.
When Cayuga has the ball...
Cayuga sophomore QB Chandler Rigdon is off to a fantastic start for the Wildcats, averaging close to 300 yards per game. The first-year starter passed for 174 yards and ran for 115 more in a loss, a 34-24 defeat last week to Mount Enterprise. Rigdon has rushed for three TDS two straight weeks. Cayuga is experienced on the offensive line with all five starters returning. The Wildcats rely on two underclassmen receivers, Frankie Avillas and sophomore Keyshawn Jackson. Wortham is solid up front with nose guard Cameron Lewis.
Cayuga RB D’onte Jackson rushed for 1,168 yards last season and is off to another good start this year. Wortham QB Witty Busby threw a 29-yard TD pass to Brandon Campbell to open the scoring last week for the Bulldogs.
Wortham has a chance with its big offensive line to pound on what Cayuga coach Greg Jenkins said is a smaller Wildcats defensive front. The Bulldogs have to stop Rigdon to stay close to the Wildcats, who have played well offensively in two games.
— Todd Wills