As memorable as the last nine football games were for the Glen Rose Tigers last year, the first four were equally forgettable.
The Tigers quickly put the four-game losing streak to open the 2016 season behind them by winning eight straight games before bowing out of Class 4A, Division II postseason play in the third round.
Second-year Glen Rose football coach Cliff Watkins is hoping the Tigers will take a lesson from their recent history and not repeat it.
The Tigers begin the season Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Grandview — the same team that handed the Tigers a 47-21 loss to open the season last year.
“Just like last year, we have a really tough (non-district schedule). Week in and week out, we’ll have to be prepared and ready to play. Our schedule is going to be a big hurdle,” Watkins said. “An advantage for us being in year two with our staff is now our kids understand what we’re doing and how we want it done, and now we understand the kids.”
Right out of the gate, the Tigers will face a Grandview team that was 8-3 last year and returns a 1,700-yard rusher in Earnest Crownover.
“We’re going to have to bring it and wrap up, hold on and tackle well,” Watkins said. “They do a good job offensively with their tempo and mixing things up by throwing the ball out quick and getting the ball in their playmakers’ hands.”
The Tigers, on the other hand, will have to do the same offensively while taking care of the football better than they did last year when they where a minus-four in turnover margin for the season.
“We’ve got to be able to find ways to run the ball and see if we can put something together,” Watkins said. “We’re going to spread people out and try to get advantages by formations and tempo. We have a lot of guys who we feel like can make plays. We have to do a good job of spreading the ball around and letting different guys make plays.”
The Tigers played their final scrimmage game last week at Waco La Vega, and receiver Tyler Torres scored their lone varsity touchdown on a pass from quarterback Cameron Griffin.
Watkins said the progress in the two scrimmage games has prepared them for the season opener.
“We did feel like we did make steps forward and solved some stuff. We executed well, pass protection was good, the defense flew to the ball and all the little things like that,” Watkins said. “Personnel-wise, we think we have the guys right where we want them right now and where they’ll benefit our program the best. That’s what the preseason is for.”