The Venus Bulldogs have enjoyed the momentum an unbeaten season can bring; at least they did until last week. The Bulldogs (7-1, 1-1) went to Stephenville and got rolled 56-13, after they trailed 43-0 at halftime.
Prior to that game, Venus beat Fort Worth Poly (33-0), Dallas Jefferson (35-6), Maypearl (34-0), Life Red Oak (47-7), Dallas Roosevelt (22-19), Fort Worth Diamond Hill Jarvis (53-0) and Hillsboro (28-7).
“We knew going into their Stephenville game that the quality of Venus’ (previous) opponents wasn’t great,” said coach Tommy Dunn. “They had been beating most people the way they should have, and it’s not like Stephenville did whatever they wanted to do. Stephenville had to punt a couple of times in the first quarter and Venus had an early touchdown called back, so although the score was bad, it was a little misleading.
“Stephenville beat them pretty good; I’m just saying they had a couple of breaks and it seemed like Venus didn’t get any. Dallas Roosevelt is the best team they’ve beaten. Roosevelt isn’t necessarily very good up front, but they have a lot of speed and athleticism.”
The Venus offense is led by quarterback Heath Dugan (26-79 for 413 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT), along with key rushers Rene Rivas (126-1,054, 10 TD) and Eddie Morgan (91-547, 11 TD). Rivas is also the top receiver (6-121).
“Venus has three pretty good running backs and some belief in themselves, so they’re playing hard,” Dunn said. “They run a Wing-T and a lot of misdirection. The quarterback (Dugan) is very capable.”
Dunn said top defenders are linebacker Steven Prater and defensive lineman Tyler Smith.
“Their defense is similar (in style) to what we’ve been seeing,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, the No. 14 Tigers (7-1, 1-1) enter the matchup fresh off their best game of the year thus far. With a few days to digest his team’s 41-28 triumph against Alvarado, Dunn is just as proud as he was on Friday night.
“It always gives you confidence when you beat a team of that quality,” Dunn said. “We executed pretty well on offense and we were able to get some defensive stops. We were able to control the line of scrimmage to some degree and make them work for everything.”
At the same time, the team doesn’t need to quit pushing its limits.
“We have a couple of spots where we can be more productive, but we should have that approach at every position on the field,” Dunn said. “We can’t allow teams to disregard any position and think they can attack a certain area.”
Dunn expects all Tigers to be healthy enough to hit the field Friday.
“We have to win the turnover battle and keep Venus from hitting any big plays,” he said.