Three months ago, the Leander Wolfpack kicked off their 2019 season on the road in San Antonio and barely came up short of knocking off the defending Texas United Football Association Champions, the Titans.
Fast forward to May 11 and the two teams square off again, this time in Leander. The Titans have managed to stay unbeaten all year and the Wolfpack haven’t suffered defeat since.
“They are 9-0, I believe with three forfeit wins,” Wolfpack co-owner Mark Rogers told Developmental Football USA. “The team that is responsible for our one loss, by two points, is coming to our place. It looks like the weather is going to be kind of wet, but we’re finishing the season against the team we started it with, hopefully in a different fashion.”
Coming into this season, the Titans were expected to be one of the top few teams in this league once again, and while the Wolfpack were also expected to be good, not many people outside of Leander expected them to be quite this good. Will the Wolfpack be victorious this time around?
“There’s a lot of emotions for this game,” Rogers said. “I wouldn’t say their focus is on redeeming the loss, I think the guys are more focused on executing a solid game plan and preparing for the playoffs. This game is important to us, it can determine whether we’re a one seed or a three seed and I think it’s the same for the Titans. The winner is probably going to get the one seed. I believe we have to beat them by three points or more to to get the one seed.”
Throughout this season, the Wolfpack have had the upper hand in a few blowouts and they’ve also faced adversity by trailining in the second half against multiple opponents, forced to battle back to get the win. Facing and overcoming these types of challenges has helped prepare this team for the playoffs, which are just around the corner.
“We have a larger sense of expectation,” Rogers said. “We expect to win every time we hit the field. A missed field goal was the difference in that first game. Throughout the season, our guys have buried ourselves early and had to climb back out of the hole and they’ve managed those opportunities. They don’t quit playing until the clock hits 0.”
Leander proved that once again last weekend after going on a 4 ½-hour road trip to Port Arthur and trailing the Southeast Titans 34-28 at halftime.
“We weren’t playing bad at all, but we came out after halftime and Jewell Russell threw his third interception – two of them were pick 6s,” Rogers said. “Jeff Jordan, our quarterback who got hurt at the start the season was fortunate to come back.”
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack trailed 40-28 and then rattled off 32 points to come from behind and win 60-46.
“The defense didn’t show up until the fourth quarter,” Rogers said
Darius Jones led the offense with three receiving touchdowns to tie Wanya Ward in that category on the season. Ward had three the week prior versus the San Antonio Bandits. Jones’ three scores versus the Southeast Titans came on a total of four catches and 66 yards, while Ward snagged six, for 150 yards and another score. Eddie Bailey added 176 yards on the ground on 16 carries.
“In the last two weeks, my offense has put up 1,000 yards,” Rogers said. “The offense was clicking right when we needed to click. We’ve made a couple of personnel adjustments by the defense and we’re excited about the playoff run.”