Back on track
One week after losing by 41 points to start the season, the Granbury Pirates completed a 79-point turnaround by beating Seagoville 52-14 on the road Friday.
It was a blowout from start to finish – Granbury (1-1) led 28-0 at the half and forced six turnovers from Seagoville (1-1), four of which were fumbles. Pirate head coach Chad Zschiesche said his team was fighting all week to avenge the opening loss to Weatherford.
“Let’s just say the kids were challenged,” Zschiesche said. “And just like I knew they would, they responded. They responded Saturday, then Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday. We had some very, very physical practices, and it showed tonight.
“I just love the resiliency of this team, the fight of this team, to come back after a very embarrassing, humiliating loss and fix what was wrong.”
Kyler Gibson got the scoring started in the first half with a 43-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper. Gibson then found Tristan Moore in the back of the end zone to put Granbury up 14-0 early in the second quarter.
From that point on, the Granbury running backs took over. Seagoville played aggressively, looking to blitz and fill every gap on the line, and the Granbury linemen responded by paving huge holes for the Pirate backs.
Zach Watson finished with a game-high 129 yards on 12 carries for three touchdowns. Clayton Kracy ran for 89 yards, including a 55-yard score, on nine carries, and Nick Buckler scored in the fourth quarter and tallied 41 yards on four carries.
Zschiesche praised the downfield blocking of the Granbury wide receivers, who provided escorts for Pirate running backs to the end zone all game.
“Our receivers were blocking really, really well down-field,” he said. “When you get downfield blocks, that allows for even longer plays.”
Blake Rodriguez led Gran-bury with six tackles and added an interception. Tate Baker also picked off a pass and nearly ran it back for a touchdown. Blake Williams, Keeton Derouen, Nico Ramirez and Dustin Jones all recovered a fumble.
Zschiesche also credited Granbury’s special teams for making strides. Logan Moore booted a field goal to give the Pirates a 45-7 lead, and some of the penalties that plagued kickoff returns for Granbury in the first game were eliminated.
“Our special teams were improved,” Zschiesche said. “They’re still not perfect – we still spend a lot of time on them, but they’re still not perfect.”
It wasn’t perfect – the Pirates missed some big play opportunities in the passing game early on. But after week one, this win was just what Granbury needed to get back on track.
“It’s exactly how I expected them to respond, but expecting them to respond and actually doing it are two different things,” Zschiesche said. “So kudos to the coaching staff for getting them ready to play, and kudos to the kids for coming out and executing the game plan.”
ON TO DISTRICT
The District 3-5A D1 slate for Granbury begins with the Azle Hornets, the defending district champs, who ran through district undefeated last year before losing a close game in the area round of playoffs.
The Hornets are predicted to win the district for the second year in a row by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.
“If you think back to last year, people knew Azle was going to be good, but I don’t think anybody knew they were going to lose their first game and then rattle off 10 straight,” Zschiesche said. “So it’s a true testament to that coaching staff – we think a lot of them, and they’re highly respected.”
Azle (1-1) returns quarterback Drey Owen, who threw for 20 TDs last year, but Owen has been banged up to start the season. Greyson Christian filled in for Owen in the last game, going 10-24 for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and is a mailto:email@example.com physical presence at a listed 6-5 and 210 pounds.
“No matter who they trot out there Friday night, they’re going to have a guy who can play some Q that’s good,” Zschiesche said.
Jacob Lee will receive the lion’s share of carries for Azle. He ran for 224 yards on 29 carries in the Hornets’ 35-33 win over Rider last week.
On defense, Azle is well-coached at every position, Zschiesche said. The Hornets had three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery against Rider. Linebacker Jonathan Lester had 12 total tackles, two of which were for losses.
The Pirates know it won’t be easy Friday, but they also know they have a chance to make a statement.
“This could certainly be a program-defining win,” Zschiesche said. “We just have to go do it.
“They know it’s going to be a challenge. But we think we’re heading in the right direction, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. from Pirate Stadium.