The Valley View football team’s third round opponent Crawford isn’t a second-rate team.
The Pirates are 9-3 on the season and finished second in Class 2A District 7 behind state powerhouse San Saba.
Eagles head coach Curtis King has plenty of respect for Crawford and said the team will have to play well in all three phases of the game to come away with a win.
“They’re good, really good,” King said. “If you beat them, it just helps your program that much more. You try to get to that place and it’s like the Muenster game. Until you beat them, you can’t consider yourself among teams like that. They’re just very disciplined. I mean, they don’t do a lot of special stuff. They run their offense and their linemen do that very well. They don’t have breakdowns. They don’t miss assignments.”
The Pirates sport a Wing-T formation on offense, but King said they don’t shy away from passing.
“I think they’ll try to come out and run the ball and we’ve been very good against the run past four or five weeks,” King said. “They’re not going to hesitate to throw, because they can throw it and they can catch it. They throw it very well.”
Crawford will roll out a 5-2 defensive scheme and King said the Pirates don’t deviate too much from that look.
“They do what they do and they don’t really change off your formation,” King said. “You’re not gonna make them change. We’ve probably faced the 5-2 five times this year. We have to come out and be very, very physical. If we run the ball, it’ll open some things up for us.”
The Eagles ran the ball effectively against Italy in the area round and they were led by senior running backs Clint Epperson and Luis Morales.
Epperson used his speed and brute force to run 14 times for 104 yards and a touchdown while Morales employed his quickness and agility to rack up 111 yards on just seven carries with two touchdowns.
King said the duo has been and will be hard to stop.
“It is a different look,” King said of Morales. “Clint runs slower, power runs and he’s gonna hit somebody. And Luis is going to try to run around the defender. It’s different when you have them both.”
Limiting their mistakes and not beating themselves are crucial areas in King’s eyes.
“We cannot turn the ball over,” King said. “I don’t think we can keep them from scoring altogether, but they can’t score 30 points. All the teams left are capable of winning and you have to beat them sooner or later.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip