Two of the teams currently in a three-way tie for first place in District 24-6A clash in a key contest when the Friendswood Mustangs host the Clear Springs Chargers tonight.

“Everybody’s good and talented, so you have to bring it every week,” Clear Springs head coach Craig Dailey said. “If you have an off-game and slip up and not play well, someone’s going to beat you, and that’s how it is this week. But, I think that’s going to prepare all of us for the playoff run.”

The Chargers (5-2 overall, 4-1 in district) enter the pivotal game riding the momentum of a 42-7 win over Clear Brook last week, while the Mustangs (6-2, 4-1) will be trying to shake off their first 24-6A loss of the season last week against Clear Lake.

“I think it’s going to motivate our kids,” Friendswood head coach Robert Koopmann said about last week’s 14-10 defeat. “I told them after the game last week that I was done with that game, and we started focusing on Clear Springs after that. Sometimes you lose football games. We played really well on defense. We held a really good offense to 180 yards. We outgained them. We just couldn’t make the plays that we needed to. Sometimes you just lose and that’s what happened.”

Offensively for Friendswood, it will be all about controlling possession and the line of scrimmage with workhorse running back Mason Barnes running behind a skilled offensive line. The front seven will be the strength of the Mustangs defense.

“They’re a big, physical football team, so we’re going to have to match them physically, stop the run on defense, and we have to be able to run the football up front like we’ve been doing,” Dailey said. “In the games we’ve been able to run the football, it’s opened up our passing game better because when we get our receivers one-on-one, I’ll take our guys in one-on-one matchups.”

Clear Springs’ offense will be loaded with playmakers, headlined by running back Todd Hudson II and receiver Peyton Sawyer, and the Chargers defense will be led by a deep secondary group.

“They’re an awfully good football team,” Koopmann said. “We watch videos of them and we think, ‘where’s their weakness?’ So, we have to control the ball and play great defense. Our defense has been playing outstanding this year but we’ve always had a tough battle with Clear Springs.”

In a new but budding rivalry that students have dubbed the battle for the What-A-Burger at the FM 518 and 528 intersection midway between the two schools, both coaches agreed that the X-factors in the game will be execution and limiting mistakes.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. today at Henry Winston Stadium.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

Sports Editor

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