The Wharton Tigers will be looking for a win, their first win of the season, when they host the West Columbia Roughnecks at Eddie Joseph Memorial Stadium this Friday, Sept. 5. 

Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Wharton will be looking to answer a 35-13 road loss to the Navasota Rattlers. The Tigers’ defense allowed 455 yards while their offense gained a majority of their yards and all of their points in the second half. 

The Rattlers kept the Tigers off-balance picking up yards through the air and on the ground. On a positive note this Friday, the Tigers won’t be seeing much, if any passing yards. The Roughnecks will run the ball on first, second and third downs. 

Wharton’s defense will have to be solid tacklers against the West Columbia Wing-T offense. The Roughnecks lost their week one game to Smithville, but the Woodard brothers, Jamaurion and Jordan combined for 181 yards on 19 carries. The Tigers know all-to-well how tough it is to slow the Woodard brothers down. In last year’s game against Wharton, the Roughneck duo combined for 271 yards on 24 carries.

“The Navasota game was a great learning experience for our team. There are many things we can correct from that game,” Tigers coach Chad Butler said. “Tackling is definitely on the list. We also have to align properly and be more fundamentally sound. We (had) a lot of guys who were playing their first Friday night ball game and they will get better.” 

West Columbia is coming off a loss in which it allowed 28 points to Smithville. Their defense gave up 328 yards of offense, 264 of that coming on the ground. 

As a passing team, the Tigers will have to be careful, West Columbia’s pass defense came up with two interceptions last week.

Senior Sterling Harris, in his first start on varsity, threw for 149 yards and one touchdown on 11 completions. Of those yards 59 went to all-state wide receiver James Jones. 

“West Columbia is a big, physical team who is also coming off a loss,” Butler said. “We have to be very efficient offensively and help our defense. Our guys showed up Monday ready to get better. It’s all about us. We have to be the best version of ourselves each week. With our schedule, there is little room for error. (We’re) looking forward to another opportunity to go out and test ourselves.”

The Roughnecks will be a tough team, but the more the Tigers practice and play, the more they’ll gel and the better they’ll look.

Boling opens season at Van Vleck

It’s finally here, the Boling Bulldogs had to wait a little longer than other schools in Wharton County, but this Friday they will go on the road to open up the season against the Van Vleck Leopards.

With a canceled game before the season in week one, the Bulldogs tried to find a replacement but were unsuccessful. After having to wait an extra week, Boling will now get to see the Bulldogs in action.

“It’s a great deal for us, the kids, the school, the community that we’re allowed to be able do what we do,” Bulldogs coach Kevin Urbanek said. “You can thank the UIL for standing up for what they believe in, how important athletics are for kids. We’re just happier than heck to be able to go out and play some football.”

The Bulldogs’ first test will come in the form of a team that can pass the ball and run it. Van Vleck opened the season with 300 yards of offense, but a 28-18 loss resulted from it. All of Van Vleck’s points came in the final quarter.

Senior Sam Bree had over 1,000 yards rushing for the Leopards last year. He picked up right where he left off in their first game rushing for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

“Limiting big plays (will be big),” Urbanek said. “We got to have all 11 (defenders) at the ball. We’ve got to wrap up and take them down. Because they can big play you in a hurry.”

The Leopards in their first game allowed nearly 400 yards on the ground, which should be good news for the run-heavy Bulldogs.

Boling hasn’t had a chance to unleash its offense outside of one half of a scrimmage two weeks ago. For the Bulldogs, if they can play a clean game, they should be able to move the ball.

“We’ve got to limit mistakes,” Urbanek said. “We’ve got to hold onto the ball. We can’t get behind the chain, can’t have false starts. We’ve got to ball control it and keep the ball out of their hands with long play drives.”

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