From One Homecoming To Another
Weston Leads Owls Against Sonora Team He Helped Build
Reagan County Head Coach Blake Weston was nervous last week.
“TLCA is a team we are supposed to beat,” Weston said. “There is more pressure when you are the one who is supposed to win. Add to that all of the homecoming festivities. It makes for a stressful week.”
The Owls handled all the distractions in stride coming away with an impressive 40-0 homecoming win over the Eagles.
Now, for Weston at least, there is another home coming of sorts with an entirely different feeling.
“There are no nerves going back to Sonora,” Weston said. “Everyone in the world thinks we can’t win this game. That takes all the pressure off. We know we can compete, and we know all the pressure is on Sonora.”
Weston helped build the Sonora team his Owls are going up against putting in 11 years of coaching service to the Broncos.
“I watched those kids grow up,” Weston said. “It will be a fun game for me. They are a great group with a good team. They are coached by one of the best. It should be fun.”
Coach Weston said Sonora’s Coach Jeff Cordell is one of his best friends.
“We talk a little during the week,” Weston said. “Nothing too serious. Just having fun with one another.”
For Weston, though, Cordell serves as more than just a good friend.
“He may not know this, but he is a mentor to me,” Weston said. “I’ve always looked up to him, and respect the way he does things.”
Cordell tipped his hat to Weston for all he did for the Sonora program over the last decade.
“He is a big reason Sonora has been able to carry on the tradition we have here,” Cordell said. “Anything can happen on a Friday night. That is why we play the game. That staff over there will have those kids ready to play.”
Weston said he feels this year’s rendition of the Reagan County Owls will give Sonora a test.
“I was taught a long time ago that you design your offense and defense to beat the best team on your schedule,” Weston said. “This entire season has been crafted around winning this game for us offensively.”
Weston said he feels the Owls are hitting their stride at the right time as well.
“We had our struggles this season,” Weston said. “But if you look at it, we really started clicking these past two weeks. I can’t ask for much more than that.”
Weston said it is no secret what his Owls’ game plan will be Friday night.
“We want to control the ball and keep it away from them,” Weston said. “We want long sustained drives. It will help keep them out of rhythm, and keep their weapons off the field.”
Coach Cordell said everyone in the district knows what is at stake this Friday as both teams enter with a clean district record.
“The driver seat for the district championship is on the line,” Cordell said. “Expect both teams to put on their best performance of the year.”
Cordell said the main thing that worries him this year about Reagan County is Blake Weston himself.
“He is a bright mind and is extremely knowledgable,” Cordell said. “I know it is his first year, but him being at the helm is our biggest challenge. He will pay attention to every detail and have them ready to go.”
As far as players go, Cordell said he is game planning to stop Alex Chavez.
“He can throw the ball proficiently and can run,” Cordell said. “The bad news for us is he is starting to understand what Blake is wanting to do. He is dangerous at this point.”
Cordell said he is also concerned about the recent production from Samuel Goodloe.
“Sam is heading in the right direction,” Cordell said. “Coach Weston has made Samuel toe the line, and that is what successful programs do. You see in the last two week’s what he has done.”
Cordell said Reagan County is probably most impressive up front though.
“Both offensive and defensive lines are filled with regional and state qualifying powerlifters,” Cordell said. “They are extremely strong. You pair that with good feet and that poses a major challenge.”
Weston said his team will be aiming to stop one player... Coach Cordell’s son, Kaden.
“He is by far the best player we will face all season,” Weston said. “We want to go out there and punch them in the mouth and see how they react. I’m afraid they won’t buckle though, and that is because of Kaden. He has so much experience. I don’t think he will let anyone fold around him.”
Coach Cordell said he is partial to his son, but feels his offensive line may be the biggest story this year for the Broncos.
“We only returned one guy on the line from last year,” Cordell said. “They have really developed. That is why Kaden and Jarrett Jackson have been able to maintain their stats this year. I don’t think they have peaked yet.”
One major issue that may wear on the Owls as the game goes on is the same one that faced them against Colorado City... Sheer numbers.
“We are to a point now where we are able to platoon our guys,” Cordell said. “That means we don’t have a lot of guys playing both ways. We have an offensive platoon and a defensive group.”
The Owls have had nine players going both ways this season adding fatigue as a concern late in games.
“Our guys are in excellent condition because of that though,” Weston said. “They will fight for 48 minutes and let the score settle where it may.”
This may be a home coming of sorts for Weston, but he was extremely clear on one point.
“Big Lake is my home,” Weston said. “The Reagan County Owls are my team. I am excited to take the field with these young men and go after a district crown. I couldn’t ask for more.”