Temple Wildcats Football Team Readies for Next Big Challenge in Quest for State Title
Three weeks, three games and three victories have the Temple Wildcats into the state semifinals in 5A Division 1 playoffs. All three wins have seen the Wildcats win in different ways, but a win is a win, and George Ranch is the next challenge.
The Temple Wildcats, led by Senior QB Chad President, find themselves in a position not seen by the Blue Front/White Back Nation in two decades. 1992 was the last Temple Wildcat State Championship team, but this year's team is peaking at the right time, and the leadership and talent at the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball is impressive. There may not be another team still playing in the 5A playoffs with the offensive potency in both the running & passing games as Temple.
President is joined in the backfield by either Jeff Carr or Marques Hatcher. Carr, the returning district Offensive MVP, hasn't run the ball nearly as many times this season, and his fresh legs at this point in the season is rare for a team playing its 13th game of the season. Splitting time with Hatcher, and blowout wins on several occasions have allowed the Wildcats to keep legs fresh and prevents wear & tear.
What Temple hasn't faced up to this point in time this season, is a team with a three-headed monster of its own in the offensive backfield. George Ranch brings in a QB and two RBs that pose a threat to take it to the house on every snap. The Longhorns ended Bryan's 10-game winning streak, and the experts at TexasFootball.com picked the Horns to be the 'Cats when their playoff predictions came out a month ago.
Temple has played with a target on their backs all season, coming in ranked in the top-10 and staying there all season. The only times the Wildcats didn't end a Friday night with a victory was a 1-point loss at Austin Westlake in a game marred by sham penalties and a botched snap, and the Friday night in Bryan when Mother Nature earned the knockout with an impressive lightning display.
From buses with broken A/Cs to weather, this team has faced its fair share of distractions and obstacles, but this week presents another challenge that will require all hands on deck and as close to flawless execution offensively and defensively as possible. Bryan made a handful of blown gap assignment on the jet sweep and the Longhorns turned the blown assignment into points every time.
I had a chance to visit practice Thursday afternoon, and as the music played loudly, each group on the field was going about its business in different ways. The offensive line was hard at work, coaches keeping the teaching uptempo. The defense, led by Scott Stewart, was working as a full unit, and the offensive skill position players were going over routes and blocking assignments.
One thing that stood out about the whole practice was the atmosphere. You couldn't tell by body language that this was two days prior to a state quarterfinal playoff game. Aside from the cooler temps, it could just have easily been a practice before the first scrimmage of the year. Chad President was dancing, Scott Stewart was screaming and Coach Spradlin was taking it all in.
This team has forged ahead despite all the challenges put in front of them, and each week they come out stronger. A strong regiment of Temple fans will be out in force Saturday afternoon at Reeve's Stadium in Round Rock. A full two-and-a-half hour drive to Cypress didn't stop Temple fans from outnumbering Ridge Point fans two-to-one, and I don't think the 45-minute drive down I-35 will stop many fans.
You can hear the game on K 101-7 and NewsRadio 1400 KTEM. You can also listen online at K1017fm.com and KTEMnews.com. The game will be streamed through both stations on the free Radio PUP app for tablets or smartphones.