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Ducks, Tigers reunite for 100th anniversary of rivalry

Rusty Purser came to Taylor from Borger where he guided the Bulldogs to three straight district crowns with an 11-1 league mark. 
Taylor DailyPress Rusty Purser came to Taylor from Borger where he guided the Bulldogs to three straight district crowns with an 11-1 league mark. Taylor DailyPress While you shouldn’t count on Rockdale and Taylor fans converging hand-in-hand at midfield while singing “Reunited”, it’s good to have the Ducks back on the docket.

The once-heated rivals will meet for the 80th time Friday at Memorial Stadium which commemorates the 100th anniversary of their first meeting in 1912. (Taylor was victorious 6-0).

Friday also marks the opening of league play in District 18-3A.

Because previous Taylor coach Rick Cobia refused to continue the rivalry the past two years, the University Interscholastic League intervened and forced the two schools to play by sticking them in the same district.

The interruption marked the first time Rockdale and Taylor

Rockdale at taylor

What: Rockdale Tigers (3-3) at Taylor Ducks (2-4). District Opener.
Where: Memorial Stadium (3,210
capacity, grass).
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Favorite: Rockdale by 1.
Series record: Taylor leads 45-31-
3. Last meeting 2009.
Last week: Rockdale 27, Hillsboro
15; Lavernia 28, Taylor 24.
District outlook: Taylor is picked
3rd in District 18-3A (Navasota,
Rockdale, Madisonville, Caldwell).
Eagle to watch: Sr. RB No. 28
Raymond Rodriguez
Best place to eat: You’re kidding,

had not played for 53 years. The last time there was a lapse it was due to World War II.

Like the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry, Rockdale-Taylor has definitely been a series of streaks.

Rockdale has currently won three straight, following Taylor’s six-win run from 2001-2006. Before that, the Tigers had reeled off another three-game streak from 1998-2000.

Each school has recorded a sixgame stretch of wins; Rockdale from 1975-1980 and Taylor from 1934-39.

From 1922 to 1955, the Ducks captured 18 of 21 contests.

Taylor is 2-4 on the season and has dropped three of its last four, with the lone win coming against Burnet, which Rockdale also defeated.

New blood

Rusty Purser grabs the headset at Taylor from the departed Cobia who left for Cypress Springs after a six-year losing streak in which the Ducks went 19-42.

In Purser, Taylor has a coach who accepts nothing less than championship trophies. At his previous stop Borger, he captured three straight district titles with a 20-14 mark, including a sparkling 11-1 ledger in league play.

Purser is an offensive minded coach and will bring a new look to the Duck scheme.

After slugging it out in the Slot-T under Cobia for the past couple of years, Purser has opened things up a bit to run a combination of the Multiple-I and the Pistol formations at opponents.

The Pistol is similar to the Shotgun, but still allows for a running game rather than just all-pass, all the time.

“I’ve done some things in the Spread, but I really like the Pistol formation because of all the flexibility it allows our offense,” Purser said. “The blocking schemes stay the same from the Multiple-I base we run, but it allows our quarterback to spread out the field and use different formations to make the defense prepare for more things.”

“It’s all about the run game this week,” said Rockdale Coach Jeff Miller. “What we have to do this week is make sure we win the battle up front on both sides of the ball.

“We must also be able to run the ball. We can’t let them get the ball and keep it away from us which is what they like to do.”

The Ducks naturally relied heavily on their rushing attack in 2011 and lost their top three rushers and 1,400 yards to graduation.

Most of the new responsibility fell upon senior quarterback Jeremy Snyder who ran for 467 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.

Tight end Dantrell Hargers (6-2, 215) is also integral to the new look.

Only six other starters return, the least number of returnees in the whole district, but the Ducks do feature 25 seniors on their roster.

Raymond Rodriguez (5-6, 180) leads the Ducks in rushing with 300 yards.


• The Tigers injury list is finally getting shorter. Only three players will be unavailable for Friday’s contest: starting tailback Dailynn Ramey (shoulder), lineman Dedrick Page (concussion) and lineman Justin Offield (ankle). Defensive back Hayden Offield (ankle), defensive back James Castilleja (fractured thumb) and linebacker Markus Hayes (shoulder) are probable.

• James David led the Tigers in tackles against Hillsboro with 14, followed by Ladontice Coates with 11 and 10 each from Austin Caffey and Markus Hayes. Hayes leads the season stats with 86 stops to David’s 80.

• Friday’s game had a couple of firsts. Starting tight end Patric Trejo caught his first pass of the season and second of his career. Also, Ladontice Coates carried the ball for the first time this season and gained 36 yards.

• Rockdale is 2-4 in district openers under Miller.

the starting lineups

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