Today’s game between the Clear Springs Chargers and the Dickinson Gators is a matchup between two teams in opposite directions right now.
The Chargers find themselves at 3-1 overall and, so far, unbeaten in District 24-6A play at 2-0.
The Gators, on the other hand, are still searching for their first district victory, coming in at 2-2 overall but 0-2 in district competition.
Nevertheless, both coaches are expecting it to be a tough matchup on the field when the teams collide for the 1 p.m. kickoff at Challenger Columbia Stadium.
“I expect it to be a war, just like it always is against Dickinson,” Clear Springs head coach Craig Dailey said. “They’re a good football team. They just played two close games, lost two close games to two pretty good football teams right off the bat. They’re well-coached, and I expect it to come down to the fourth quarter and be a close game like always.”
The Chargers began the season with a 24-3 win over La Porte before being dealt their only loss so far at Spring Westfield, 28-23. Clear Springs defeated Clear Creek 28-21 to begin district play and the Chargers followed it up with a 49-0 win over Alvin last week.
“Coach Dailey and his staff have done an outstanding job,” said Dickinson head coach John Snelson. “They’ve always had outstanding size and talent. They’re a physical football team. They’ll run the ball and do a great job on the play-action pass. They have a good quarterback and a stable of good running backs who are playing well.”
Last season, the Chargers defeated the Gators 23-7.
“Last year, they played really downhill,” Clear Springs running back Todd Hudson II said. “They’re really good at seeing gaps in the line of scrimmage and blitzing to make a tackle in the backfield. So, the O-line and the offense has to do a good job of doing our duties and making sure that they don’t get in the back field.”
Dickinson began the season on the right note, winning their first two games, beating Texas City 47-7 before surviving a 41-34 double-overtime encounter with Fort Bend Ridge Point.
But then came the first two district games for the Gators.
Dickinson fell to Friendswood 27-24. A week later, the Gators fell short to Clear Lake in a 21-17 loss.
However, Snelson said his players have responded well this week after dropping their last two games.
“We had our best practice on Monday of the year,” Snelson said. “We sat down and talked about, with all the mistakes that we have made, we had a chance to win both of those football games. We have to stay focused and not live in the past. We have to come to work. We have to continue to get better every day.
“We have a lot of season left,” Snelson continued. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. If we do that and point fingers at ourselves, we’ll be done really quick. But if we continue to get better, we’re missing some key players on defense, we still have a chance to make a playoff run, then we’ll be the kind of football team that we can be.”
With five games left, Snelson wouldn’t quite label this a must-win game but said it was still an important contest.
“I don’t know if it’s a must-win game,” Snelson said. “But the opportunities are getting fewer. With four teams going to the playoffs, you need to have four maybe three district wins if they’re the right wins. But we just have to focus on speed because if we play our game and limit our mistakes, then we’ll be fine.”
Dailey said the keys to victory for his team involve being balanced on offense while coming through on defense.
“On defense, we just have got to keep playing like we have been the last couple of games and eliminate the big plays and make people drive the football on us down the field and take away what they do best,” Dailey said. “Offensively, we just have to stay balanced. That’s something we did really well in our last game. … We feel like if we can run the ball and create one-on-ones in our passing game, we’re going to be successful on offense.”