Athens Review, Athens, Texas

November 21, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Doubt, if you dare

Underdog Malakoff doesn’t mind naysayers

Jayson Larson
The Athens Review

MALAKOFF — The Texas high school football message boards are proof enough.

“Winnsboro put up big numbers on (Malakoff), so this is one of those teams that Pottsboro shouldn’t have a problem with.”

“I think the Cards will be too much for the Tigers.”

“Potts by 3 TDs.”

Malakoff head coach Jamie Driskell isn’t one to pay much attention to message boards. But he also knows last week, against Redwater, his Tigers were 15-point underdogs before pulling out a 28-22 bi-district victory.

And he wouldn’t be surprised to know Malakoff (8-3) is now a 16-point underdog — according to the Harris Ratings System — in this week’s Region II-2A area matchup against the Pottsboro Cardinals, who are 10-0.

Kickoff at Royse City ISD Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

Driskell — the first head coach in school history to lead the Tigers to the football playoffs four straight seasons — said he hopes his team plays with a chip on its shoulder again this week.

“It was an us-against-the-world deal last week. Nobody thought we could beat (Redwater),” Driskell said.  “We’re going to be underdogs again this week, and that’s right where we want to be.”

The Cardinals, who got a first-round bye for winning the District 6-2A championship,  averaged 38.9 points and about 450 offensive yards per game this season. Driskell said the Cardinals are big and well-coached. They are anchored by captain Justin Lawler, a 6-5, 220-pound wide receiver and defensive end who is committed to Southern Methodist University, and 6-6, 230-pound offensive tackle/defensive tackle Everett Baker, a Texas Christian University commit. The offensive line also includes 6-7, 325-pound tackle Charlie Bray.

Though he doesn’t have anything close to comparable size, Driskell seems confident to go to war with his front line that paved the way for a 202-yard rushing night for running back Demontes Dowell last week. Dowell scored three touchdowns and playmaking quarterback Tate Taylor added another in the Redwater win, and Driskell said that success was based on his line play up front.

The line consists of David Havlik, Jordan Harris, Emmanuel Gonzales, Diego Medina, Isreal Chavez and tight end Brandon Davis. Stephan Wolfe, a receiver, also plays a key blocking role.

Of that group, only Havlik and Davis are seniors. Gonzales and Wolfe are sophomores.

“Don’t count us out,” Driskell said.