— Weatherford vs. Cleburne
Time: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Site: Kangaroo Stadium
Type: Home opener, non-district
Last year: Cleburne 52, Weatherford 30
Cleburne Yellowjackets (0-1)
Last season: 7-4 overall, 6-1 in District 8-4A
Class 4A, DI bi-district finalist
Last week: Lost to FW Southwest, 48-26
Players to watch: DL Tevin Boone (6-2, 300, 5.2); WR Kameron Pickett (6-1, 109, 4.6); WR Al Baylor (5-10, 170, 4.6); LB Brezuan Miller (6-1, 200, 4.7).
Weatherford Kangaroos (0-1)
Last season: 3-7 overall, 2-5 in District 3-5A
Last week: Lost to Richland, 46-14
Players to watch: OL Jace Ford (6-2, 310, 5.6), OL Keegan Dement (6-4, 265, 5.1), QB Grant Werts (6-2, 205, 4.6) SR Chris Whitling (5-9, 165, 4.6), SR Fred Brownlee (5-8, 165, 4.4), DL James Robinson (6-4, 260, 5.3), RB Jeuqwan Brownlee (5.9, 185, 4.5).
Game notes: The teams in this non-district clash have likely revisited tackling drills in the past week of practice, with both defenses surrendering more than 45 points in respective openers last week.
Cleburne’s offense was fairly prolific in their loss to FW Southwest, but had a couple of scores negated by penalties. QB Brian Baca is new at the helm of a Yellowjackets offense returning just three starters from 2012, but used his top receivers well last week, finding Al Baylor seven times, and at a pace of nearly 20 yards per catch.
Though returning a walloping nine starters on defense this year, Cleburne’s unit was touched for more than 600 total yards by Southwest, with most of the yardage gained up top.
The Roo defense also suffered some abuse from Richland last week, and head coach Weldon Nelms vowed a return to fundamentals in preparation for Weatherford’s home opener, which will no doubt include plans to plug some secondary holes with another passing offense in the offing on Friday.
Showing sparks early, then later on in the Richland tilt, the offense will look for more consistency. A bright spot in the attack was senior receiver Chris Whitling, who had four catches for more than 80 yards as QB Grant Werts most productive target.