Tuloso-Midway and Calallen have mostly been on opposite sides of the high school football spectrum.
Not this season.
The Warriors (1-1 district, 3-3 overall) and Wildcats (0-1, 3-2) find themselves in the middle the pack in the 30-4A standings heading into Friday night’s showdown at Calallen. With the Wildcats sitting in fifth place a game behind T-M, longtime Calallen coach Phil Danaher is well aware of the stakes.
“Our backs are against the wall. We’re going to have to come out fighting,” said Danaher, in his 29th year at the helm. “Their backs are against the wall, too. But they scored against Port Lavaca and we didn’t. They have a lot of confidence right now.
“We’re in for a real match.”
The Warriors aim to give them one. Still, first-year T-M coach Brian Boone said the team knows better than to think it won’t be a struggle.
“Make no mistake, they’re still good. They may be trying to figure out what their identity is offensively, but they can still score points and their defense is still real solid,” Boone said. “We want to win. Besides it being a district game, there’s the rivalry. Both sides know that, though. We certainly want to beat them because it’s a district game, and those kids over there, they don’t want to be the first group to lose to us. There are lots of implications, but the bottom line is that it’s a district game and we need a win to make the playoffs.”
The Wildcats are still looking for the first district win after losing to Port Lavaca Calhoun 17-0 in the opener two weeks ago. Calallen is coming off a bye, meaning the Wildcats have had two weeks to prepare for the Warriors.
Danaher won’t know for sure until Friday if the extra time has been beneficial.
“We just have to play better. We have to find a way to get the ball in the end zone. We move the ball well at times and then falter one we get close,” Danaher said. “Out kicking game hasn’t been very good, either. We just have a lot of aspects right now in which we’re not playing well. The backs are running hard, but you have to have some place to run. We’re dropping too many passes and overthrowing the rest. We just have too many problems and haven’t found any solutions.”
Given all the circumstances, Boone thinks the fans are in for a treat.
“My first two years here as an assistant we won some games early that made this one much more interesting,” said Boone, previously the offensive coordinator. “With them struggling little bit – not a lot because they’re still winning games – and us playing a little bit better now it should make the game more interesting to the fans.”