By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Tigers have survived numerous injuries and other player losses to make a fourth straight trip to the playoffs. Look no further than the offensive line as the No. 1 reason Corsicana will play Red Oak on Friday night.
And look no further than quick guard Floyd Shrestha as one of the main reasons why the Tigers average 278 rushing yards and have had five different 100-yard rushers this season.
Shrestha might not get the attention that center Chris Jones and Jeffery Jordan receive. He should. Shrestha pulls a lot at guard and takes care of the second level, getting up on linebackers which helps Tiger backs get into the secondary. He can play tackle, switching places with Dean Fletes and Donavon Hailey if needed.
“Floyd plays a lot of different places,” Tigers coach Phil Castles said. “All of those guys are interchangeable. They work together.”
Shrestha, a 5-9, 210-pound senior, has made 25 career starts. He's been a mainstay along with Jordan and Jones for two seasons now.
“Floyd is definitely a leader type of kid,” Castles said. “He’s a big part of this team.”
Here’s a look at an unsung hero from the other Golden Circle teams that will play bi-district games Thursday and Friday:
Emory McDougald, Blooming Grove
Emory McDougald didn’t have much time to grow into his starting position as a defensive tackle for the Lions.
But the 6-0, 185-pound sophomore was ready when needed, something that has to happen for every playoff team.
McDougald’s number was called when starter Jose Camarillo — making his 16th career start — went down with an injury on the opening kickoff of the Dallas Life game, Blooming Grove’s third district game. McDougald’s made four starts since, racking up 15 tackles, two tackles for a loss and two sacks.
“We had to throw him into the fire,” Lions coach Gary Grubbs said. “We honestly didn’t know if there would be a drop off or not. There hasn’t been one. He gets better and better as he gets more reps.”
Obviously McDougald isn’t a giant. But he makes up for it, Grubbs said.
“He’s very intelligent,” Grubbs said. “He does exactly what he’s coached to do and that’s why he’s had a lot of success.”
Robert Worley, Frost
Robert Worley may not be the focal point for opposing defenses, but the wing back will be a key to Frost’s playoff opener against Detroit (9-1) Friday night.
Teams gear up to stop up wing back Danial Steels, but Worley has developed into a two-way stalwart for the Polar Bears (9-1).
“What makes us deadly on offense is we have a back that can run the other way, and that’s Robert,” said Blenden of the other side in his double-wing set. “He runs hard, and you hardly stop him for no gain.”
He has shown breakaway speed this year, too, averaging 6.7 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns.
On defense, Worley provides Frost with a lock-down cornerback. He has five break-ups, and his two interceptions have both been returned for touchdowns, from 44 and 55 yards.
“He’ll also light you up,” Blenden said. “He’s not just a cover corner. …
“He does a lot of stuff the average fan wouldn’t know about.”
Warren Pugh, Kerens
Kerens coach Russell Anderson felt pretty certain about the stability of his offensive line before the season started. There was one spot that worried him.
Warren Pugh grabbed it.
The 6-0, 185-pound junior guard stepped in and completed a group that has helped the Bobcats rush for 268 yards per game.
“Coming into the season we didn’t know if he would be a player or not,” Anderson said. “For his athletic ability, he overachieves. He’s a lunch pail kind of player.”
Pugh is a quiet type. “He’s yes sir, no sir,” Anderson said. He has great work ethic. “You get 100 percent out of him in practice,” the coach said.
Pugh has started all 10 games and helped the offensive line as a unit improve heading into the postseason.
“We’ve improved drastically on the offensive line,” Anderson said. “Warren’s a big reason for that.”
Brandon Campbell, Wortham
Wide receiver Brandon Campbell would throw the ball around in practice earlier this season, and first-year coach Shane Doege liked what he was seeing.
Enough to completely junk the Bulldogs’ offense, going from the I Formation to the Spread and moving the senior to quarterback.
The move has worked.
Campbell has set Wortham’s single-game passing record twice this season, both coming in district wins. Campbell passed for 291 yards in Wortham’s 15-8 win over Meridian. Campbell broke that record in last week’s playoff-clinching 49-12 win over Dawson, passing for 320 yards.
Good move, coach.
“It suited our (offensive) line first and foremost,” Doege said. We found something on offense. We wanted to spread it around but we didn’t feel comfortable with our quarterback throwing. We have guys that can catch the ball.”
The quarterback switch may be the key to Wortham being back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Campbell started that first district game against Meridian and the Bulldogs are 2-2 since then. In both wins, Campbell completed passes to seven different receivers.
It’s not a certainty Wortham move have made the playoffs without the change at QB.
“Honestly, it’s tough to say,” Doege said. “I would say the odds were against it.”
Raymond Linex II contributed to this report.
Want to “Sound Off” on this story? E-mail email@example.com.