Against Santo on Friday, the Muenster Hornets did enough to come away with a convincing 32-6 victory in the Class 2A Division II bi-district playoff game, but their 12 penalties for 115 yards was a thorn in their side.
Muenster head coach Brady Carney and his coaching staff have already devised a plan of attack for this week of practice to combat some of those penalties. One penalty in particular the Hornets struggled with was false starting.
“We’re going to bring in our JV defense shift, move and say things a lot during practice and the chop blocks, we just have to get on the same page,” Carney said. “If they don’t do things right, there will be some consequences and we’ll rep it as much as we can.”
Despite the missteps on offense, Carney lauded the Hornets for their defensive play against Santo.
“That’s kind of what our program is built around,” Carney said. “We’ve been playing good defense for the past seven or eight weeks. I think the most points we’ve given up was 18 to Windthorst and I don’t think we’ve given up more than two touchdowns in a long time. I never felt like Santo stopped us consistency. Offensively, we weren’t bad, but we were bad with our inconsistency on our penalties.”
Muenster forced six Santo turnovers — four fumbles and two interceptions.
Carney said the defensive mindset of the team is its foundation. If the Hornets can hold teams to just two touchdowns, he feels confident they can put together three scoring drives on offense.
The Hornets advanced to the area round with their win and they will face Quanah on Thursday, Nov. 19, at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.
The second-seeded Hornets will face the top-seeded 6-4 Indians.
Carney admitted it is weird not to be the one seed after six straight district championships.
“If you’re a one seed, you get a two or a three seed in the second round,” Carney said. “We don’t pay attention to rankings. We just go play who we have to play and playing Quanah is like playing anybody else, at least I hope it is. We’re not worried about the seeding or rankings. To be the best, you have to beat the best. We’re healthy right now.”
The Indians sport a spread offensive look with multiple formations and Carney is expecting more passing than running.
“Their quarterback is very elusive and has a good arm,” Carney said. “He does a lot of things to extend plays. You can force him out of the pocket, but he keeps his eyes down field or he’ll tuck it and run. They’ve got two skilled slot receivers that are talented and their running back can get it done too. We’ve got four guys we’ll have to stop. I hope and we’ll see, but I think our defensive line can match their offensive line, but their run game with their quarterback scramble is their biggest threat.”
Defensively, the Indians run a 33-stack formation with and odd defensive front with three linebackers behind it.
Carney said the Hornets haven’t seen that scheme much this season.
“They’ve got more in the defensive box than most people can handle and they move those linebackers a lot,” Carney said. “From an offensive line standpoint, it can be kind of confusing, but luckily we block down a lot and we’ll have to be good at that this week.”
Carney said the key to the game this week is one the Hornets always subscribe to – play good defense, force turnovers and limit offensive turnovers.
Carney is confident senior quarterback Trent Anderle will learn from his interception against Santo and said Anderle’s passing game has really developed in the past several weeks.
The Hornets will likely need that aerial attack to beat Quanah.
“It’s going to be a really good game because they’re really athletic and they spread the field much more than Santo did,” Carney said. “We’ve been playing good and if we can cut the penalties in half, we’ve really got a good shot.”