Should the Tigers make another playoff appearance in 2010, it would be the fourth in a row.
It would be the first time in school history that has happened.
To accomplish this unprecedented feat, the Tigers are going to have to battle through a new district that high school football expert Carl Padilla calls, “the toughest district in the state.”
Five of the six teams in the district made the playoffs last season. All six teams had a winning record.
The Tigers are a dichotomy of experience—they are deep at some spots, thin at others.
“We’re going to be putting in kids who don’t have a lot of experience,” Miller said. “They’re going to have to show that they can play on Friday night for us to be successful.
“It’s not that we lost a lot of kids, but they all played the same positions.”
No less than five Tigers will be starting both ways: LeRaven Clark (OL-DL), Derek David (TE-LB), Richard Vasquez (FBS), Sal Bishop (OL-DL), Patrick David (OL-DL). That number is the same as last year.
While the Tigers are loaded up in the trenches with Clark, Bishop, David and Dillan Schnerr as well as a sound ground game in Daniel Brooks and Terral Dixon, quarterback and receiver will feature some diaper dandys who have been in exactly one varsity play.
Defensively, while Clark and Bishop will man the front, Derek David will break in two more partners at linebacker, one, a 6-foot-2, 205 freshman in James David, brother of graduated All-State defender Logan David, who now plays for Blinn and has committed to Texas Tech.
Then, there’s reliable Casey Burrough at strong safety, who is arguably the best hitter in the district and a pre-season firstteam pick.
Although sophomore Ethan Brinkley will start at quarterback, his competitor, transfer Jared Carpenter is starting at linebacker and should take some snaps under center.
For the first time since Joe Sanders in 2006, the roster will include a freshman, James David.
The 6-foot-2, 205 pound David will start at one of the linebacking slots and he is the brother of Derek and graduated all-state performer Logan David.
“He has really looked good,” Miller said. “He’s a big kid, but he can really run, just like his brother. Now he’s young and he’s going to make young mistakes, but at this point, he,ay best the best athlete of all the brothers.”
Despite the fact that the Tigers did not perform well in their final scrimmages against Robinson and Lexington, Miller feels like they are ready to get the season underway.
“Our kids are ready to go,” he said. “We moved the ball pretty well against Robinson, but Lexington did some things on offense that we weren’t ready for a we looked awful.
“It really caught us off guard. It was a heck of a learning process. It was good for us to see that, we’ll be better prepared.”
While the Tigers are mostly healthy, they are suffering through a breakout of infantigo, which is a staph skin rash, caused by bacterial infection.
The team did not practice on Tuesday while the locker room was being sterilized.
So far, only junior linebacker Ty Kirk will miss the game due to a staph infection.
This is Memorial’s first varsity season in three years. The Panthers played a junior varsity schedule last year and went 6-3, so it’s hard to get a handle on exactly what they’re going to do and who they’re going to do it with.
Miller and his staff have seen scrimmage footage of the Panthers in action.
“They run a slot-T and have a big old bowling ball kid that runs hard,” Miller said. “They’re huge, their offensive and defensive lines are loaded with big kids. They have a couple kids that are really good football players.
“They’re doing okay with this offense, they’re just having to play all their kids both ways, just like us.”
For those not familiar with Eastside’s checkered history, it is the high school formerly known as Johnston which was closed down three years for academic failures.
Actually, Rockdale and Eastside do have a history. In the 2008 realignment, Eastside (then Johnston) dropped down the Class 3A and was placed in the same district as the Tigers.
However, apparently, everyone but the UIL knew the school was destined to close down, so when the obvious happened, everyone had a big hole in their schedule where Johnston once was.
Tiger Tracks • Sophomore Noe Zelaya will handle to kicking chores for the Tigers, replacing graduated Waylon Boyd. • Three sophomores will start off the year on the varsity roster, with one of them starting, quarterback Ethan Brinkley. • Terral Dixon has changed his number for the third time in his varsity career, from 3 to 11 and now 1. Other number changes include Anthony Montoya from 34 to 11.
|Sept. 10||at Cameron|
|Sept. 17||Liberty Hill|
|Sept. 24||at Madisonville|
|* District||23-3A game|
|No.||Pos. Player, Ht.-Wt.||Class|
|12||FB||Richard Vasquez, 5-10, 175||Sr|
|7||WR||J.J. Lewis, 5-9,||165||Sr|
|20||WR||Dillon||Goodman, 5-10, 135||Jr|
|6||TE||Derek||David, 6-3, 225||Jr|
|71||LG||Sal Bishop, 6-4, 250||Sr|
|50||NG||Patrick David, 6-0, 235||Jr|
|71||DL||Sal Bishop, 6-4, 250||Sr|
|18||LB||James||David, 6-2, 205||Fr|
|10||LB||Jared||Carpenter, 6-2, 220||Sr|
|6||LB||Derek||David, 6-3, 225||Jr|
|11||CB||Terral||Dixon, 5-9, 160||Jr|
|2||S||Casey||Burrough, 5-8, 160||Sr|
|12||S||Richard Vasquez, 5-10, 175 Sr|
|* returning starter|
TAKE A NUMBER • RHS is 54-41-3 in season openers all-time. • The Tigers are 3-1 under Jeff Miller in season openers and are trying to win their third straight for the first time since 1987-88-89 • The Tigers are 6-4 in season openers in the past 10 years. • The Tigers are 10-9-1 in the past 20 years in season openers. • The Tigers were 4-1 last season at home and are 8-2 in the past two seasons at Tiger Field. • According to Texas HS Football. com, Rockdale is 456-410- 27 all-time in football. • The Tigers made their 21st playoff appearance in 2009. They have 19 playoff wins. • The Tigers haven’t won a district title since 1999, the last of consecutive crowns. • Last season marked the 13th time the Tigers have finished second in district play. • RHS finished the decade of the 2000s with a 54-54 mark. • 100 years ago, Rockdale defeated Giddings 6-0 in the first and only game of the year. • Senior running back Terral Dixon has 828 yards rushing in his career. • Miller needs two victories to record his 60th career win. • The Tigers are 3-2 all-time against Austin schools. The Tigers played Austin High in 1916 resulting in a 26-0 victory. The last time the Tigers tangled with an Austin team was in 1999 when they whipped Anderson 55-14 as part of a two-game series. • Should the Tigers make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive time this season, it would be the first time in school history. There have been four streaks of three straight.
MEMORIAL AT ROCKDALE
What: Rockdale Tigers vs. Austin Eastside Memorial Panthers in the SEASON OPENER. Where: Tiger Stadium (capacity 2,580, grass). When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. Favorite: Rockdale by 40. Series record—First meeting 2009 records: Rockdale 8-3, Memorial 6-3. District outlook: Memorial is picked last in District 26-4A (McCallum, LBJ, Travis, Crockett, Lanier, Reagan). Panther to watch: No. 8 Senior running back Desmine Shaw. Special occasion—Friday night is Aycock Appreciation Night and players from the 1955-56 state championship teams will be introduced at halftime.