CORINTH — Despite his team’s three-game losing streak, Lake Dallas head football coach Michael Young isn’t stressing out about his team’s form over the past several weeks.
Young isn’t too concerned about last week’s 63-13 drubbing at the hands of rival Guyer, a game that had no bearing on the playoff picture because, according to Young, Guyer’s going to beat everybody in District 5-4A.
Lake Dallas is tied for second-to-last in the district, but the Falcons are only a game behind a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots.
At 7 tonight, Lake Dallas (3-4, 1-3 district) visits Wichita Falls (2-5, 0-4) at Memorial Stadium. And before Young entertains thoughts of the postseason, he said, he understands his team has to top the district’s last-place team.
The Coyotes have been decimated by injuries all season, and a lack of depth has been another pertinent issue.
“If we’re not good enough to go up there and beat them right now with the struggles they’ve gone through with injuries and the way they’ve played, we don’t even need to be talking about going to the playoffs,” Young said.
The Falcons have their own injuries to deal with. Senior quarterback Marshall Dominy, junior wide receiver/defensive back Josh Jackson and junior linebacker Ronnie Coleman all will be out because of concussion-like symptoms.
Dominy suffered the injury with about five minutes to go in the second quarter against Guyer, when he scrambled for about 10 yards and was struck in the head by somebody’s leg as he was tackled. Jackson showed those symptoms after the game, and Young said both players would be very doubtful for tonight’s game.
Junior Brandon Simpson replaced Dominy and completed five of six passes for 40 yards. On the ground, Simpson had 16 carries for 80 yards.
“He’s a really good runner and he’s a big kid, too, so it helps us,” Young said of Simpson. “I thought it helped us against [Guyer], being able to run the ball a little bit because he’s a big, physical kid and can make some plays with his legs. But it’s definitely a little bit different than what we were able to do with Marshall, and the passing game will be a lot more limited.”
When Simpson entered the game against Guyer, the junior was doing his best to keep his performance against Wichita Falls Rider off his mind. Simpson played receiver and failed to come up with any catches in Lake Dallas’ loss.
In meetings, as coaches talked about one player having the ability to bring down a group of 10 men, the 6-0, 185-pound junior said he felt like that one player.
All Simpson knew was he didn’t want to let his team down for a second straight week.
“Just thinking about the week before, I gave one last good prayer and said, ‘Don’t let it happen again,’” Simpson said.
After a solid game and a few compliments from Guyer coach John Walsh and Wildcats quarterback Jerrod Heard, Simpson’s weekend was much better than the previous one.
And for a team mired in a three-game skid, Young said his team could use an impressive performance tonight to rebuild its morale.
“But the main thing is, I think we need to come out and hopefully we can get it going offensively a little bit,” Young said. “Confidence is such a big thing. It would really help us to have a good night offensively to get our confidence back.
“If we go up there and play well and things go well for us, we can get back on track and I think we’d be really be tough to beat over the last couple of weeks.”
When asked about the Falcons’ struggles, running back Tony Green was far from concerned about the team’s disposition.
“We’re still determined,” Green said. “We don’t have our heads down. We’re still looking for it, still trying to win and stay focused.”
Lake Dallas already has faced two of the top teams in 5-4A in Rider and Guyer. Young knows that if his team wins its final three games, it will have a playoff spot locked up as well as momentum.
“I think we’re a lot better off than what people probably think,” Young said. “I’m sure people think, ‘Man, I bet it’s miserable being there right now.’ But I think it’s actually still pretty good.
“Winning three games in a row, it’s just like losing three games in a row. It would get our confidence going. We could be a hot team coming in.”
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