Big Willis Style
When Willis took the job at Marlin last spring, he envisioned that type of capabilities at his new stop.
"The complexion at Marlin and the complexion at Waco High are very similar," Willis said. "The learning curve won't be very big."
Willis is convinced that the Marlin program can return to its previous stature of domination, perhaps even a state championship.
"I think that's the prize. You work toward a prize, and the prize is a state championship. I want to try to mobilize the community toward that."
The Bulldogs played in the Class 3A state championship game in 2003 and made it as far as the regional finals in 2006.
That year, Willis and Waco were playing in the Class 4A state championship game, which they lost to LaMarque.
Willis spent 12 years at Waco High under Coach Johnny Tusa and was also the head track coach.
The new coach has compared a couple of his new players favorably with the level at his old stomping grounds: new quarterback Fred Fondon and running back Lee Diles (6-0, 189).
Marlin will have a chance to break in its new offense and young players in a friendly environment as the Bulldogs play four of their first five games at home at Legion Stadium.
Friday's home game will be their third straight.
Willis' blueprint for success has gotten off to a tenuous start and his players have had trouble grasping the new system.
The Bulldogs have not fully acquainted themselves with the scoreboard as of yet, losing by a combined scored of 88-27.
Marlin opened the season against the No. 2 ranked team in Class 3A, Waco LaVega, and were whipped 47-0.
Last week against another Class 3A school, Waco Connally, the Bulldogs were felled 41-27 and allowed Connally running back Reggie Richardson to pick up 262 yards rushing.
Willis will be sending six sophomores and a freshman out on the field Friday night.
"I like what Coach Willis is doing over there," said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. "They are very much improved and doing things right.
"They are doing nothing but getting better every time they step on the field. They are going to be a dangerous team by the end of the season."
"I feel like there's already some things they've done very well," Willis said. "At the same time, I see some areas where change needs to take place. I'm excited to be an agent of change.
"We will start showing them something."
• Lost in the offensive shuffle of last weeks' victory over Llano was the fact that Joe Sanders ran for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown and caught a touchdown, which is the rarest of feats in the game of football and probably the first ever for a Rockdale player.
• The Tigers are 5-7 in home openers in the past 12 years and 3-1 under Jeff Miller. They are also 8-3 at home in the past two seasons.
• According to Texas High School Football, Friday's win was the 450th in Rockdale history.
• With his game winning extra point Friday, Waylon Boyd is now 52-of-54 on extra points and has converted 33 in a row.
• A strange call from the officiating crew Friday night. On a play that was clearly a Badger fumble that Rockdale recovered, the crew huddled and decided that the play would be nullified and played again despite the fact that the side judge had thrown his bean bag which signifies a fumble.
• Senior linebacker Shane Barcak (shoulder) was the only Tiger to sit out Friday and he will be out at least two more weeks.
• District 24-3A went 5-2 last week with Caldwell's 69-22 crushing of Shepard.
• Former Rockdale coach Robbie Clark and his Midlothian team fell to 0-1 after losing their season opener 30-24 to Keller. Clark is 11- 20 in his fourth season.
|THE STARTING LINEUPS|
|ROCKDALE OFFENSE||MARLIN DEFENSE|
|No.||Pos. Player, Ht.-Wt.||Class||No.||Pos. Player, Ht.-Wt.||Class|
|18||QB||Joe Sanders, 6-2, 190||Sr||8||DE||DeWayne Tyler, 6-0, 180||Jr|
|22||RB||Greg Chelf, 5-7, 150||Sr||75||DT||Nate Thomas, 6-4, 250||Jr|
|31||WR||J.B. Debault, 5-11, 175||Sr||27||DT||Andre Washington, 6-3, 230 Jr|
|9||WR||Justin Elliott, 6-3, 180||Sr||35||DE||Wilford Sanders, 6-0, 185||Jr|
|8||WR||Brandon Gibbs, 6-1, 170||Sr||7||LB||Andre Lowe, 5-11, 200||So|
|88||WR||Derrick Mynar, 6-4, 205||Sr||42||LB||Devince Bateman, 6-2, 190 So|
|62||LT||LeRaven Clark, 6-6, 230||Jr||12||LB||Desnerian Willis, 5-9, 190||Jr|
|71||LG||Sal Bishop, 6-4, 250||Jr||10||LB||Allen Brown, 6-2, 190||Sr|
|50||C||Patrick David, 6-0, 235||So||9||CB||Chris Battise, 6-0, 175||So|
|64||RG||Clemente Diaz, 5-11, 235||Sr||2||CB||Kevin Murphy, 5-9, 175||Jr|
|76||RT||Dillan Schnerr, 6-4, 250||Jr||21||S||Devon Weatherspoon, 5-11 So|
|ROCKDALE DEFENSE||MARLIN OFFENSE|
|71||NG||Sal Bishop, 6-4, 240||Jr||6||QB||Fred Fondon, 5-10, 175||Jr|
|62||DL||LeRaven Clark, 6-6, 230||Jr||1||TB||Lee Diles, 6-0, 189||Sr|
|77||DL||Logan David, 6-4, 300||Sr||12||FB||Desnerian Willis, 5-9, 190||Sr|
|88||LB||Derrick Mynar, 6-4, 205||Jr||11||X||Ronnie Owens 6-0, 175||So|
|34||LB||Anthony Montoya,5-10, 200||Jr||7||Z||Andre Lowe,5-11, 200||So|
|9||LB||Justin Elliott, 6-3, 180||Sr||71||LT||Josh Blann, 6-3, 265||Sr|
|6||LB||Derek David, 6-3, 225||So||74||LG||Odell Woodson, 6-0, 185||Sr|
|8||CB||Brandon Gibbs, 6-1, 170||Sr||55||C||Jonathan Martinez, 6-0, 220 Jr|
|31||CB||J.B. Debault, 5-11, 175||Sr||75||RG||Nate Thomas, 6-2, 230||Jr|
|15||S||Tyler Wright, 6-3, 180||Jr||60||RT||Desmond Womack, 6-1, 230 Fr|
|2||S||Casey Burrough, 5-7, 160||Jr||10||TE||Allen Brown, 6-2, 190||Sr|