Braswell coach Cody Moore finally thinks he has the right players in the right spots.
The process to get to this point hasn’t been easy, and Moore isn’t suggesting that all of his team’s woes have been solved with a few personnel moves. The Bengals are not only searching for their first win, they’re also trying to be competitive.
But to take pivotal steps forward, Moore said his players had to trust in the process.
“There were some kids who hesitated with where [the coaching staff] put them initially,” Moore said. “But they believed that if we didn’t get them where they needed to be, then we would get them in the right spots eventually.”
The Bengals will face perennial Class 4A playoff favorite Kaufman at 7:30 tonight at Kaufman Lions Stadium. The matchup is Braswell’s last chance to pick up a win before they prepare for District 5-5A play during next week’s bye.
“I’m interested to see the guys we’ll have in the new spots,” Moore said, “and how those who started their first game last week will do against Kaufman now that they have experience.”
Moore is confident in his latest moves because of last week’s 28-12 loss to Frisco Reedy. Former third-string quarterback Palmer Campbell started that game due to injuries at the position and completed 16 of 25 passes for 88 yards. Moore also moved fullback Kade Leidecker to linebacker.
The result was instant progress. Campbell’s performance led to more opportunities in the run game, as Ki’Andre Jackson scored on runs of 58 and 70 yards. Leidecker’s ability to plug holes and be a leader on the other side of the ball helped Braswell hold Reedy to 205 rushing yards.
It was the first time Braswell scored. The Bengals entered the game having been outscored 112-0 and gave up an average of 362 rushing yards in losses to Haslet Eaton and Frisco Independence.
“I think we’ve found a better fit defensively,” Leidecker said. “I personally was very happy about my new position, and as a whole our defense is locked into our assignments and we’re getting 11 hats to the ball.
“When we do that, the [ball carrier] has nowhere to go.”
Leidecker was in on eight tackles, seven of which were solo, and forced Reedy quarterback Josh Foskey to throw an interception to Elijah Norris.
Leidecker and Campbell will be starters going forward.
“After last week, I think the receivers and offensive linemen have more confidence in me,” Campbell said. “I’m just going to go out there and play my game.”
Despite the confidence boost that last week’s game provided, Kaufman is a dangerous opponent that relies on a run-heavy offense behind quarterback Jefferson Fritz.
Fritz reportedly is nursing a foot injury and is questionable for tonight’s game. He did not play in last week’s 28-14 loss to Dallas Bishop Lynch.
Kaufman coach Jeramy Burleson was not immediately available for comment.
“If [Fritz] plays, we’ll definitely need to keep an eye on him,” Leidecker said. “He’s a very dynamic player.”
Moore will prepare his team for whoever is at quarterback for Kaufman, but he’s really interested in how Leidecker, Campbell and others will grow in their new roles.
JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-0379 and via Twitter at @Jimmy_Isbell12.