By Jay Hinton
In the first four seasons of the tenure of head football coach Cliff Watkins, the Glen Rose Tigers have opened their schedule against Grandview — one of the top teams in Class 3A.
The Tigers will take a break from Grandview until Week 4 this year, but the Tigers’ season-opening opponent isn’t a cupcake by any stretch.
At 7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 28) in Tiger Stadium, Glen Rose will host Springtown, the No. 6 team in Class 4A Division II. It will be the third meeting with the Porcupines in as many years, and they hold a 2-0 record over the Tigers.
"Last year they put it on us. We didn’t tackle well and we turned the ball over," Watkins said of the 54-16 loss. "They were a really good team and took advantage of every mistake we made."
The Porcupines, the Region 1 champs, lost to Waco La Vega in the state semifinals last year, and they can look forward to the return of quarterback Camden Chesney, who completed 12 of 19 passes for 251 yards and a TD in the win over the Tigers.
"He throws it well, but they want to run the ball," Watkins said. "Because of who they have back at quarterback, they do a really good job offensively, and they are going to find ways to run the ball."
Gone, however, is running back Cameron Rickett, who torched the Tigers for 163 yards on 18 carries and five touchdowns. Rickett was named second-team all-state in 2019 and third-team the year before by the Texas Sports Writers Association.
"The No. 1 thing we have to do is find a way to stop the run. I believe we have a good plan," Watkins said. "Early in the season you always worry about tackling. I thought we tackled pretty well at Stephenville (in the scrimmage) the other night. (Tackling) pretty well against good teams gets you beat. We have to do a good job of getting a lot of hats to the ball and finding a way to stop the run."
Offensively, quarterback Austin Worthen threw for 245 yards as the Tigers amassed 361 yards total offense against Springtown last year. He was intercepted twice. He also rushed for 68 yards and the Tigers’ two touchdowns. Sean Dodson had 48 yards.
In the Aug. 20 scrimmage in Stephenville, the Tigers and the Class 4A Division I Yellow Jackets were tied, 7-7, in the controlled scrimmage segments. That was followed by two 12-minute timed quarters that included "mock" kicking practice. The teams each scored 7 more points in the timed segments, but the Yellow Jackets got the edge in the end on a 45-yard field goal.
The scoring for Glen Rose came on a long touchdown run by quarterback Austin Worthen, and an 8-yard TD pass from Worthen to senior wideout Jake Treadaway.
The Tigers are hoping to get off to a good start in the preseason with a win over the Porcupines. Last year, the Tigers went 0-5 with one of the toughest non-district schedules in the state.
This year, the non-district slate won’t be quite as tough but it will be formidable as they host No. 10 Decatur (Sept. 25) and travel Class 3A No. 2 Grandview (Sept. 18).
In Week 2, the Tigers travel to Gatesville (Sept. 4), a team they handled 45-6. They will also face Fort Stockton (Sept. 10) at San Angelo Stadium and Mineral Wells (Oct. 2) on the road before opening district play at Godley (Oct. 9).
The Tigers will host Hillsboro (Oct. 16) for homecoming, travel to Venus (Oct. 23) before closing out the season at home with Ferris (Nov. 6).