What you need to know: Haslet Eaton

Braswell High School football players on the school's first ever football practice

It’s finally here! After years of planning, preparing and eventually building Denton’s fourth high school, Braswell, the Bengal football team is prepping to play its first opponent — also in its first year playing a varsity schedule — Haslet Eaton.

After 18 practices, a couple of scrimmages in the mix, and three days of classes, coach Cody Moore, his staff and the rest of the Bengals are ready to kick off their inaugural season tomorrow.

The Game: Braswell (0-0) at Haslet Eaton (0-0), Thursday, 7:00 p.m. at Northwest ISD Stadium

What happened last week: Braswell scrimmaged Grapevine Faith and Eaton squared off against Midlothian Heritage for its final tuneup. During the live quarter portion of the scrimmage, Braswell’s defense flew to the ball carrier, played physical and recovered two fumbles. Its largest concern was the lack of pressure applied in the backfield. Faith ball carriers burst through the Bengals’ interior defensive line, oftentimes untouched until they got to the second level of the defense.

Moore said his defense played phenomenal, and hopes it continues against Eaton.

What to expect: Two teams trying to find a rhythm on both sides of the ball. Between Braswell’s hurry-up offense and Eaton relying heavily on its running back, Titus Swen, it’ll all come down to what team can execute. Braswell hopes to execute its offense in order to give its defense ample rest to prepare for Swen. The offense must move the ball, and recently, it hasn’t shown it can very well. Expect Eaton to spread the wealth, but also give Swen his touches in the running and passing game. The sophomore tailback currently holds an offer from SMU. He could see between 20 and 30 touches a game, so the Braswell defense will have to key on him.

Final say: It sounds simple, but with two teams never taking a varsity snap, I think the team that scores first will have the upper hand from kickoff to the final whistle blow. It’s a jump on ‘em early or not at all bout.

Prediction: Braswell 14, Haslet Eaton 10

Football: A Long Time Coming…

Braswell High School football players on the school's first ever football practice

As coaches, players and athletic trainers drove to C.H. Collins Athletic Complex early Monday morning, the lights of the stadium were lit, and for a second, it seemed like it was just hours before a Friday night kickoff.

However, the players that would take the field in an hour had never taken a snap with each other.

Braswell High School, the Denton school district’s newest high school, held its first practice where they’ll host opponents this year.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I don’t know about y’all but I have chill bumps,” Braswell athletic director and head football coach Cody Moore said to a room full of 72 juniors and sophomores.  “What better atmosphere to practice in than C.H. Collins?”

Unlike most programs beginning practice today, Coach Moore and his staff have to start from scratch. That means Moore had to address his team with a 15-slide PowerPoint presentation on what it means to be a man, student and a Braswell Bengal — in that exact order.

“It’s going to be a grind,” Moore said. “It’s part of the process. We as coaches have absolutely no idea what any of you guys in this room can do on a football field, but we’re going to find out these next few weeks.

“Everyone is going to work offense and defense. I don’t care if in the past you’ve played one position your whole life. I need to see where each and every one of you will succeed to ultimately do the same on the football field on Friday nights. Nobody decides what we’re going to be but us.”

The cards are against the Bengals, and they’re well aware of it. They’re a new program. They’re pulling kids from multiple schools who have never played together before. They didn’t get the chance to have spring ball, among many other negatives the naysayers will indicate throughout the season.

There are a lot of unknowns with this program, but Monday’s practice was a small step in the right direction to a product the coaching staff and the team can be proud of.

O’Neal hopes for physical defense

Defensive Coordinator Bryan O’Neal, who has had a longstanding friendship with coach Moore, is optimistic about the players he has lining up on his side of the ball. His priority is communication, and good communication means they’ll be closer to becoming the physical defense O’Neal wants later down the road.

“We just want to be able to communicate what we want to do on both sides of the ball without having to think about it,” O’Neal said. “We’re going to make communication second nature. Alignment and hustling on and off the field is the only bar we’re aiming to set. We’ll figure out the rest of it as we go.”

The Bengals will run everything out of a base 3-4 scheme, hoping to confuse spread offenses by plugging the middle, while also keeping an extra linebacker to block the passing lanes.

“We’re obviously at square one with our scheme, and getting that taught [to the players],” O’Neal said. “With all the intricacies, how we communicate, to down to what the positions are called; it’s just a lot of square one stuff, but fundamentally, just in terms of football, we took a step in the right direction.”

Quarterback Questions

Coach Moore coached quarterbacks at Rockwall, and throughout practice it was evident his eye was on the position.

There are a lot of athletes who claimed themselves at the quarterback position on Day One, but Moore has no idea who will take the first-team reps when the Bengals scrimmage Fort Worth Western Hills in two weeks.

“We’ve got some guys who can throw the ball, but in our offense it’s all about execution,” Moore said. “We believe this scheme has some promise if the guys buy into it.”

During the 2014 season, under coach Moore’s direction, Rockwall posted record numbers, earning the No. 1 spot in Class 6A in the state with 548.7 yards per game.

“It’s proven,” Moore said. “The guy under center plays a big part in the success of it.”

JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 87-781-0379 and via Twitter at @Jimmy_Isbell12.

Cole Hedlund approaching Cole Hedlund’s national record

Argyle kicker Cole Hedlund has 21 field goals this season, four shy of his own national record for most field goals in a season.

Yes, you read the headline correctly. Cole Hedlund is approaching his own national record.

In 2011, Hedlund set the record for most field goals made in a single season with 25 field goals. Well, he’s at it again.

Hedlund’s two field goals in Argyle’s Class 3A Division II area playoff win against Melissa pushed his season total to 21 field goals, four shy of the national record.

After he already set the record earlier this season for most career field goals made, he’s on the verge of tying the record he set two years ago.

Hedlund, who’s orally committed to Arkansas, only needs one more field goal to move into a four-way tie for second place on the single-season field goal list.

And then, the only thing standing between Hedlund and another national record is, well, himself.

Joey Florence doesn’t have a Twitter account

A while back when we were working on the story about his 200 wins, I asked him if he had a Twitter account. He just laughed and  said he wasn’t on the social media website.

Oh, was he wrong.

I pulled out my phone, pulled up “his” Twitter account, and he laughed. It wasn’t his Twitter account. He wasn’t the one who posted this tweet the other day.

If you’re following “Coach Flo” on Twitter, you’re following a fake account, albeit a fake account with good intentions. He guessed that one of his players is behind it, because one of the tweets that references Wednesday as “the day before the day before [the game]” is a saying he tells the team each week.

The person behind the account has actually done a really good job of posting pretty encouraging tweets. If anything, it’s a bunch of tweets of things Florence would actually say. However, if this ended up turning into a parody account, that’d be pretty funny. I’d follow that account in an instant.

But, so you know, it’s not him. So if you’ve been mentioning him on Twitter, he hasn’t seen it.



Weekend Recap: Denton ISD, Sanger roll

Ryan senior running back Tyrone Williams scored two touchdowns in Ryan's 33-0 win over Lewisville on Friday night. Ryan, Denton and Guyer all won their respective games last week.


It’s no longer an anomaly when the three Denton ISD schools win on the same weekend.
Ryan, Denton and Guyer each came up with big victories in last week’s action, with Guyer’s win over Rider the game that was mostly in question for much of the night.

In area play, Sanger is making everybody forget about last season’s winless campaign and continued to roll with a win over Krum, while Lake Dallas’ 11-year playoff streak was snapped.

If you missed any or all of it, don’t fret. Adam Boedeker and I look back at last week’s area action.

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Game Changers: Oct. 22

Game Changers: Oct. 22 from Ben Baby on Vimeo.

Last week, Denton and Guyer picked up easy wins in District 5-4A play, while Ryan suffered its first loss of the season against Hebron.

If you missed it, don’t worry. We have highlights. You know what else we have? We have Adam Boedeker in a tie.

That’s right. Our dear, bearded friend, Adam, makes his debut on this week’s episode of Game Changers. That alone is a reason to watch. So now is a great time to hit play if you haven’t done so already.


Monday’s Notes: 2 Chainz and Joey Florence

Sorry we’ve been away for so long. For the last two weeks, the entire sports staff has been consumed by our 2012 Football magazine, which has darn good coverage on all 12 of our area high schools and on North Texas. It’s coming out on Thursday, so be looking out for that.

Last Friday, Ryan scrimmaged Grapevine in its final tune-up before this Friday’s game against Corsicana. The Raiders “won” 21-3, but nobody really cares about the final score in a scrimmage. Still, there a few things worth mentioning coming out of the scrimmage.

1. Preston Compton made a case for playing time

Ryan junior back-up quarterback Preston Compton moved to Denton from Southlake over the summer, and he looked pretty good against Grapevine. Compton had a gorgeous 70-yard pass down the field to a receiver who had burned Grapevine’s secondary and was tackled at the goal line. Compton made strong throws, ran a little bit, and showed he’ll definitely have something to offer this season. Ryan head coach Joey Florence said Compton will play some this season, but the head coach also said with resolute confidence that Mitchell Bridges is going to be Ryan’s starter.

2. Ryan must force more turnovers

If there’s one thing Florence wasn’t necessarily pleased with on Friday, it was the turnover margin. In other words, the ratio of turnovers Ryan forced compared to how many turnovers Ryan committed. Ryan had three turnovers against Grapevine while failing to force any of its own. A team that can force turnovers and not commit any will have a much easier time making it through four quarters. But that goes without saying.

3. 2 Chainz, meet Joey Florence

For those of you who understandably don’t listen to rap music, there’s a man by the name of 2 Chainz who has become the talk of the genre. Mostly, it’s because he says some of the most incompetent things known to man most of the time. Well, he’s made his namesake by saying his name in an obnoxious yet infectious way. He bellows in a deep and drawn out manner, and it’s something kids love to mimic.

After the scrimmage on Friday and with his team kneeling around him, Florence addressed his kids and gave what might be one of the best quotes of the season.

“Y’all been talking about this 2 CHAINZ stuff. Well I got TWO RINGS and I want a third one.”

Class 5A and hip-hop DJs, beware. Joey Florence and the Ryan Raiders are headed your way.

Squashing rumors at Ryan’s first football practice

File this one under “setting the record straight.”

Just because I’m the new guy doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed the rabid nature of some of our area’s football fans/blog readers. Anyone can start a comment with provocative phrases like “Word on the street is…” or “I hear whispers that…” but if you want reporting with basis in fact and verifiable claims, please, leave that to the professionals.

For the record, Scotty Young was dressed and in attendance for Ryan’s first football practice Monday morning. He did take snaps during team drills, but he is being given the week off from throwing routes.

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