Tigers reloading, “right on track”
Frenship may have lost to the Lubbock High 7-on-7 team over the summer, but it will be looking for redemption during its season opener against the Westerners.
“They were one of the teams that beat us in 7-on-7 this past summer,” said Don Black, Frenship defensive coordinator. “Not many teams beat us, but they did. I think they (Lubbock High) will try to build on that momentum. But we prefer 11-man football over 7-on-7.”
Frenship opens its season tonight against Lubbock High School at 7:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. It has been nine months since the Tigers put pads on and competed at Tiger Stadium.
Gone are key players such as University of Texas lineman Mason Walters, ex-quarterback Tyler Lloyd and go-to receiver Lance Ratliff.
“We feel like we are right on track where we want to be at this time of the year,” said Frenship head coach Brad Davis. “Both scrimmages (against Snyder) went really well and we got a lot of learning out of the way.”
Davis said he’s been pleased with the effort his team is showing.
“They have things that they still need to work on just like every team does at the beginning of the season,” said Davis. “Our kids are showing a lot of effort, and when you have effort you can work on everything else.”
Before the Tigers began two-a-days they had to deal with other personnel losses beyond graduation.
Preston Dotson was an early front-runner for the starting running back position before moving to the Houston area a week before two-a-days began.
The Tigers also lost Brian Seicks, their starting running back last season, after he moved to California. Seicks led the team with 1,128 rushing yards last season and Dotson added 610 yards while averaging 8.7 yards per carry.
“We lost Brian and Preston but we’ve got some kids that are looking really good,” said Davis. “Right now we are going to start with Bobby Huey. He has really come along and is our guy for the job.”
Davis said Zack Britton and Roddy Rivas will also share time at running back.
Frenship will have depth at the receiving position but are only returning Asheton Hastings who had eight receptions for 277 yards and four touchdowns last season and Dallas Croyle.
Newcomers Zach Kittley, John Ferris, Collin Moore, Josh Vasquez, Phillip James, Summit Hogue, Jace Hall and Brayden Rose will also share time at receiver.
Brandon Hanslik will start at quarterback, said Davis. Hanslik’s speed and size will allow the Tigers to utilize different parts of their game such as the no-back shotgun offense.
“We are going to do what we have always done,” said Davis. “We are a tailback-oriented offense and we expect the tailback to carry a lot but we are going to throw the ball when we need to. We are about a 60 percent run and 40 percent pass offense, but we are going to do new things like get in formations without a tailback. Brandon is going to be one of our best running quarterbacks that we have had in a long time. Anytime you can have someone as fast and big as him, you’ve got to utilize his talents.”
Frenship’s defense mirrors its offense.
“We have half our defense back but we still need to break in the other half who weren’t starters last season,” said Black. “The good thing about it is that we have made a lot of progress. Effort has definitely not been a problem.”
Returning for the Tiger defense are defensive backs James and Hastings, linebackers Stoney Allison and Alec Birchfield and linemen Bo Cates and Marshall Elliot. Rivas, Nathan Salcido, DJ Snead, Kittley, Rose, Zak Britton and Chaz McKelvey will also see a lot of playing time on defense. McKelvey stepped up to the nose guard after Jordan Ellis was injured. Ellis was the front-runner.
“We lost Jordan Ellis in the first scrimmage and we thought he was going to be our starting nose guard,” said Black. “Chaz (McKelvey) has kind of stepped up and he has been a pleasant surprise.”
The Tiger defense has focused the past week on Lubbock’s speed. Black said they are expecting a fast Lubbock High football team that likes to throw the ball 75 percent of the time.
“The Lubbock High team is extremely talented with speed,” said Black. “They put out an outstanding track team last year and that speed is carrying over to their football team.”
It’s important for new corners Rose and Britton to be able to keep up with the Lubbock High receivers, but the key to beating Lubbock High will be within the defensive line, said Black.
“It all starts with the defensive line,” said Black. “If you get whipped up front then you are going to get beat in the game. We’ve got our two returnees (Birchfield and Allison) and that really helps us.”
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