Rouse bent on building a solid foundation

Tigers are Raiders' first varsity opponent

Starting a new high school football program is all about baby steps and Leander Rouse is going to take its biggest one Friday night right here in Rockdale.

When the Raiders suit up against the No. 14 Tigers, it will be their first experience against a varsity team.

"Rockdale is going to be a huge challenge and we're looking forward to it," said Rouse head coach Joshua Mann. "We're going to find out how our kids are going to respond to that adversity."

Rockdale wound up with Rouse on its schedule after Midland Christian decided it didn't want to make the extremely expensive trip to Waco this season to face the Tigers at Waco ISD Stadium as was the case in 2008.

(You may remember, Midland Christian was a replacement for Austin Johnston).

So, in searching for yet another replacement, Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller found Rouse, which is in its second season of competition.

When the UIL goes through its bi-annual reclassification next February, Rouse will be placed in a Class 4A district with approximately 900 students.

Like District 24-3A mate Bryan Rudder, the Rouse roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores. Fifty sophomores to be exact.

However, unlike Rudder, Rouse's players have been together longer.

This week's game will also mark Rouse's first time playing under the Friday night lights.

"Going back and forth between Thursday and Friday night schedule, it changes the complexity and balance," said Mann. "We'll have to be consistent throughout the year.

"There will be challenges, but we're excited about the Friday night games. It allows us to find out what we are now with the band and the crowd. The kids and community are ready for that."

"Ever since we scheduled the game six months ago, they have had this circled on their calender," Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller said. "The band is travelling for the first time, students buses are filling up. The excitement around Rouse is really neat."

The Raiders—who were idle last week—are 2-0 so far this season with victories over the Academy (45-8) and Liberty Hill (49-0) junior varsity teams.

While Rockdale will initiate Rouse into varsity play, the Raiders will also take on the Boerne and Vandergrift varsity squads, twice each.

Junior LeRaven Clark graded out the highest among Tiger linemen against Marlin. Junior LeRaven Clark graded out the highest among Tiger linemen against Marlin. Vandergrift is Rouse's sister school in the Leander school district which is in a similar situation as a new program and could create an early rivalry between the district schools.

Despite being a well established school, Boerne is attempting to re-start its football program.

"We are trying to start a tradition others have to live up to," Mann said.

Surprisingly, Rouse is loaded with talent at the skill positions— quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

"The skill position kids are the depth of our team," said Mann.

Perhaps the area w ith the strongest talent and leadership for the Raiders is at quarterback, which has two athletes, Tai Gadison and Michael Botello, vying for the position.

"They are both strong leaders and very gifted athletes for their age," Mann said of the pair.

Botello will start Friday against the Tigers, while Gadison will have plenty to keep him occupied, lining up at wide receiver on offense and cornerback on defense.

While the race is on at quarterback, Rouse has a load of talent at wide receiver and running back with players like Ed Butts and Ryan Henry at running back and Brady Spencer, Andras Vega and Will Zarsky ready at receiver.

"We're going to have to be on our toes," Miller said. "They've been ready for six months. This game is good for both teams. They do a lot of the stuff that we'll see in district."

"We've got a tough schedule, but we're gonna be in every single one of these games," said Mann. "We're not cocky, but confident."

This report contains information from the Hill Country News.

Tiger Tracks

• Two-way starter Tai Gadison of Rouse is a cousin of Rockdale's Justin Gadison, except the two have never met.

• Leander Rouse is named after Charles Rouse, who was the principal at Leander High School for 16 years (1981-1997).

• The Tigers were banged up pretty good against Marlin. Senior lineman Chris Ware twisted a knee and he is questionable for Friday. Junior running back Terral Dixon twisted an ankle and is also questionable. Junior lineman Dillon Schnerr had trouble with his shoulder and is day-to-day. Logan David's hand is not broken as first thought and he played Friday. Senior linebacker Shane Barcak (shoulder) is still a couple of weeks from playing and could be ready for the district opener against Cameron.

• The Tigers slipped to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll, tied with old friends Cleveland and China Spring. The Old Coach's poll has them at No. 9 and Texas Football at No. 10. Navasota jumped up from No. 10 to No. 9 in the AP. Gilmer and Carthage remain 1-2 in the poll.

• Waylon Boyd has now made 34 consecutive extra points (8-for-8 in '09) and is 53-of-55 overall. Boyd attempted just his second field goal Friday and is one-for-two in his career.

• Justin Elliott led the Tigers in tackles against Marlin with 10. He was followed by Logan David's eight, while Casey Burrough and LeRaven Clark tallied seven each. David is the leader on the season with 38.

• With the win Friday, Jeff Miller is now 18-18 as head coach of the Tigers. He is tied with Ricky Ray (1990-93) for fifth on the all-time list. Since starting here at 3-14, Miller has guided the Tigers to a 15-4 mark ever since and two of those losses are in the playoffs. In nine years, Miller's overall record is 53-39.

• Rockdale has allowed just 39 yards passing so far this season.

• Ten receivers have shared the 17 completed passes for the Tigers, led by Brandon Gibbs' five.

• Rockdale is 13-of-32 (40.6 percent) on third down efficiency and 2-for-5 (40 percent) on fourth down.

• Joe Sanders is averaging 119 yards of total offense per outing.

• District 24-3A went 6-1 last week, highlighted by Bryan Rudder's very first win as a football program. The Rangers bested Brookshire-Royal 21-19. Madisonville suffered the only loss at the hands of Palestine Westwood.

• Rockdale is ranked second in defense in District 24-3A, allowing just 186 yards a game to Taylor's 147.

• Cameron's Steven Townsend leads the district in passing with 567 yards and six touchdowns, but conversely, the Yoemen lead the district in passing yards allowed.

• In three games, Caldwell has already rushed for 1,023 yards, led by Kyson Woolverton's 421 and 10 touchdowns. The Hornets also lead the district in fumbles lost with seven.

• Taylor's Mark Jackson leads the district in both punt and kickoff returns as well as scoring.

• The surprising Ducks are 3-0 on the season (matching last year's win total) but will face their first real test on Friday when they trek to Llano to take on the Yellowjackets (0-2). The three teams Taylor has beaten, (Manor, Reagan and Elgin) are a combined 1-8.

TIGER SEASON LEADERS

Rushing—Brooks 18-211 3 TD; Chelf 33-162 1 TD; Sanders 24-93 1 TD; Dixon 19-129; Peters 4-35; Wright 1-(-1).

Passing—Sanders 17-44-1, 264 yards, 2 TD; Wright 1-3-1, 49 yards, 1 TD; Chelf 1-1-0, 17 yards. Receiving— G ib bs 5 - 55 1TD DeBault 3 - 85; Mynar 2- 67 1TD; Elliott 3 - 45; Sanders 1- 49 1TD; Torres 1-10; White 1-10; Dixon 1-5; Brooks 1-3; Chelf 1-1.

Tackles—David, L. 38, Burrough 27, David, D. 25, Elliott 25, Clark 21, Mynar 17, Estrada 15.

THE STARTING LINEUPS
ROCKDALE OFFENSE ROUSE DEFENSE
No. Pos. Player, Ht.-Wt. Class No. Pos. Player, Ht.-Wt. Class
18 QB Joe Sanders, 6-2, 190 Sr 78 DE Wesley Scott, 6-1, 230 So
22 RB Greg Chelf, 5-7, 150 Sr 71 DT James Schubert, 6-4, 250 So
31 WR J.B. Debault, 5-11, 175 Sr 90 NG Doug Mathenia, 6-3, 230 So
9 WR Justin Elliott, 6-3, 180 Sr 57 DT Lucky Torres, 6-0, 185 So
8 WR Brandon Gibbs, 6-1, 170 Sr 74 DE Christian Smither, 5-11,200 So
88 WR Derrick Mynar, 6-4, 205 Sr 27 LB Dorian McNeil, 6-2, 190 So
62 LT LeRaven Clark, 6-6, 230 Jr 38 LB Charlie Stewart, 5-9, 190 So
65 LG Chris Ware, 5-10, 265 Sr 25 S Dakota Unger, 6-2, 190 So
50 C Patrick David, 6-0, 235 So 5 CB Tai Gadison, 6-0, 190 So
64 RG Clemente Diaz, 5-11, 235 Sr 22 CB Ryan Henry, 5-9, 175 So
76 RT Dillan Schnerr, 6-4, 250 Jr 7 S Caleb Boyles, 5-11 So
ROCKDALE DEFENSE ROUSE OFFENSE
64 NG Clemente Diaz, 5-11, 235 Sr 12 QB Michael Botello, 5-10, 175 So
62 DL LeRaven Clark, 6-6, 230 Jr 22 FB Ryan Henry, 6-0, 189 So
77 DL Logan David, 6-4, 300 Sr 5 RE Tai Gadison, 6-0, 190 So
88 LB Derrick Mynar, 6-4, 205 Jr 3 LE Brady Spencer, 6-0, 175 So
34 LB Anthony Montoya,5-10, 200 Jr 8 H James Potts, 5-10, So
9 LB Justin Elliott, 6-3, 180 Sr 54 LT Tyler Hawkins, 6-3, 265 So
6 LB Derek David, 6-3, 225 So 50 LG Tommy Noriega, 6-0, 185 So
8 CB Brandon Gibbs, 6-1, 170 Sr 75 C Nick Rogers, 6-0, 220 So
11 CB Terral Dixon, 5-9, 160 Jr 56 RG Michael Hoang 6-2, 230 So
15 S Tyler Wright, 6-3, 180 Jr 78 RT Wesley Scott, 6-1, 230 So
2 S Casey Burrough, 5-7, 160 Jr 32 Z Ed Butts, 6-2, 190 So


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