NIXON — To those looking ahead at playoffs, Friday’s game may seem meaningless. But rivalry games are never that. And the Nixon-Smiley Mustangs (2-7, 0-4) are hoping for a positive ending to their football season against the Stockdale Brahmas (2-2, 4-5).
“Other than pride this game doesn’t affect [Stockdale],” Nixon-Smiley head coach Carlton McKinney noted.
Indeed, the Brahmas seem locked in at third place in District 15-3AD2, with Poth (4-0) and Natalia (3-1) Stockdale’s district losses. The only chance they slide down is if Dilley (2-2) pulls off the upset against Poth while the Mustangs knock off Stockdale. Either way, the Brahmas are in the playoffs.
Nixon-Smiley comes into this game with the same goals they set every week.
“It’s as simple as what we’ve always said,” McKinney explained, “knowing what our assignments are and make sure we don’t blow the assignments as we’ve had in past games.”
Youthful mistakes have been an issue for the Mustangs throughout this tough season. Against Stockdale, Nixon-Smiley will have to not make “those mental mistakes that we find ourselves making during those critical situations,” McKinney said.
The Brahmas’ defense has been the highlight of their year. Taking away their 39-20 loss against San Antonio Cole and their 42-0 loss against Poth, Stockdale has given up an average 13 points per game. When you include the two big losses, the average shoots up to 19.1 points per game.
“Defensively they’re going to play hard. They do what they’ve always done, bend don’t break kind of defense,” McKinney scouted.
Stockdale runs a split defense with a nose guard and two linebackers. In the secondary, the Brahmas will play a cover three. Their philosophy is to keep as many people in the box as they can, in order to outnumber their opponents at the line of scrimmage.
Where the Brahmas have struggled is their offense. The most they’ve scored is 32 points in a 32-12 win against Bloomington on Sept. 8. They’ve reached over 20 points three more times, twice in losses and once in a 22-14 victory over Dilley. Stockdale averages 14.9 points per game.
“They’re big up front, they’re physical,” McKinney explained, “[but] the reason they struggle scoring is they lack a lot of skill kids from last year.”
The Brahmas will come out of a shotgun formation most of the time, with their best runner being senior back #24 Kaden Crouch. Quarterback #12 Matthew Dunn has also had success on the ground as well.
“They’ll try to get you with misdirection, zone read, option type of stuff,” McKinney said. “Dunn throws the ball fairly well. They use their tight ends a lot with running drag routes. They take advantage when you’re out of position.”
Thus the importance of assignment football for the Mustangs.
Tonight’s home game is Nixon-Smiley’s final football game of the season. The Mustangs celebrate Senior Night, with kickoff set at 7:30 p.m.