Roughnecks Fall to T.K. Gorman

Junior+Jacob+Young+stands+ready+to+make+a+tackle+against+TK+Gorman.+The+Crusaders+were+too+much+for+the+Roughnecks+to+handle+as+they+lost+29-39.
Junior Jacob Young stands ready to make a tackle against TK Gorman. The Crusaders were too much for the Roughnecks to handle as they lost 29-39.

Junior Jacob Young stands ready to make a tackle against TK Gorman. The Crusaders were too much for the Roughnecks to handle as they lost 29-39.

Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman

Junior Jacob Young stands ready to make a tackle against TK Gorman. The Crusaders were too much for the Roughnecks to handle as they lost 29-39.

Kason Kienzle, Sports Editor

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White Oak looks to tighten up defense for future success

A strong running game accompanied with a solid passing game by the T.K. Gorman Crusaders proved to be too much to handle for the White Oak Roughneck defense on Friday night in Tyler.

The Crusaders put up 27 points in the second half over the Roughnecks en route to a 39-29 victory.

The Roughneck defense proved to be the weaker side of the ball for back-to-back weeks. The defense allowed four rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns, while the White Oak offense only put up two passing and two rushing touchdowns.

White Oak’s secondary gameplan was to try and shut down star wide receiver Isaiah Haggerty who was the week one ETSN offensive player of the week. They doubled teamed him all night and only allowed him to catch two passes. The Crusaders took advantage of this with their run game, with touchdown runs of 31 yards, 42 yards, and 57 yards.

The double team on Haggerty also opened up options for wide receivers Tyler Hobbs and Daniel Schmitt. Schmitt opened up the Crusader scoring on a 69 yard reception during the Crusaders first drive.

In order for the White Oak defense to limit the opponent scoring, they must limit the big play. On Friday night, five of the six touchdowns the defense let up were over 25 yards.

“If we limit the big play, we win games, it’s as simple as that,” senior defensive end Elijah Trest said. “Big plays have killed us all year and we got to start limiting them drastically.”

As a whole, the defense must become more physical, especially in the secondary. White Oak’s district features many hard-nosed running teams, who can also throw when needed. The Roughnecks must get better at bringing down the ball carrier on first contact and swarming to the ball.

“We have to get more comfortable with contact,” senior linebacker Stone Palmer said. “We have room to improve in every area of our defense, but being stronger tacklers is going to be the key to our success.”

White Oak did show a strong running game Friday night. Sophomore running back Bo Reddic carried 25 times for 123 yards. A strong running game will be vital to the offense’s success further on into the season. With a running game present, it will open up the passing game even more for senior quarterback Heath Hood.

“Having a strong run game opens up a lot more on play action and opens up the pass,” senior center Kyle Berry said. “If we can do so, the defense would have to worry about both the run and the pass.”

The Roughnecks will host their 2017 home opener next week against rival Spring Hill. The Panthers come into the game off of a impressive performance with a 49-20 win over Brownsboro.

“I love the atmosphere the week we play Spring Hill,” senior lineman Wyatt Smith said. “There’s nothing like rivalry week and the excitement that comes along with it.”

Spring Hill features a strong running game along with a physical defensive line. The Roughnecks must be able to give Hood time to find his weapons while also allowing for a strong run game and containing Spring Hill’s own run game.

“In order to beat Spring Hill next week, we have to be able to run the ball successfully,” Berry said. “Our defense is going to have to step up big too if we want to be successful.”

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