Stop Lorena? Stop Coleman
But if you want to beat Lorena, it’s pretty simple: stop Harris Coleman.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior has been dubbed the “human battering ram” and has accrued some impressive numbers in leading the Leopards to the District 17-3A co-championship and the playoffs.
Think probable Heisman Trophy winner Colin Klein of Kansas St.
“He’s something else,” said Rockdale Coach Jef f Miller. “Obviously, to beat them, you have to stop him. He makes the whole thing go.”
Coleman has rushed for 1,434 yards that has resulted in 25 touchdowns and through the air he has accounted for 1,380 yards and 13 scores on just 98 completions.
“The nights when (Coleman) is on, we’re a pretty good football team,” said coach Ray Biles, who has been at Lorena for 21 years. “The nights when he’s struggled a little bit, we’ve struggled a little bit.
“I think the thing he’s done since the beginning of the year in Madisonville, he’s a more deliberate thrower. He’s doing a good job of putting the ball where it needs to be.”
Coleman—who provides 281 yards of offense for the Leopards per game—works his magic out of the shotgun and employs a spread offense.
“Technically, it’s the wildcat formation every play,” Miller said. “We just have to treat him as the tailback in a two-back set.”
Just in case he gets bored, Coleman is also Lorena’s kicker.
Like Rockdale, Lorena was in must-win mode in its 52-35 victory over China Spring to claim a share of the district title with LaVega. The Leopards constructed a 45-7 lead in the third quarter and then stemmed the Cougars’ tide.
In the victory Friday, Coleman ran the ball 26 times for 171 yards and five touchdowns and added 163 through the air with two more scores for a total of seven on the evening.
Defensively, the Leopards are led by senior safety Reggie Davis, who has made 150 stops.
Lorena—which was tabbed fifth in pre-season district polls—will be riding the crest of a four-game winning streak and have taken eight of nine games.
Rockdale and Lorena do have a recent history, last playing in 2005, with the Leopards winning 31-26.
In 2002- 03, the two teams played in the same district, with the Tigers taking both league games.
In six games, the series is tied 3-3.
• In other District 18-3A playoff action, Taylor (4-6) faces La Vega (7-3) at Leo Buckley Stadium on Thursday and No. 1 Navasota (10- 0) takes on China Spring (6-4) at Bryan High School. The Ducks are 7-14 in the past two seasons with two post season trips.
• Navasota did not allow a single point in district play, outscoring opponents 191-0. The Rattlers posted five shutouts on the season, while outscoring the opposition 461-43.
• Miller has now led the Tigers to the playoffs five times, tying him for second on the coaching list with Fred Johnson (1973-80) and behind Casey Creghan’s (1994- 2003) six trips in 10 seasons.
• This season marks the 14th time the Tigers have finished second in league play in their history and the fifth time in seven years under Miller.
• After being ranked 20th in the pre-season and picked as the district frontrunner, Liberty Hill did not make the playoffs, falling to Gatesville 48-25 Friday to finish 6-4 overall and 2-3 in District 8-3A after losing three of its last four games. The Panthers started the season at 5-1.
• The combined records of all nine teams the Tigers faced this year was 49-50. Four opponents made the playoffs (Burnet, Cameron, Taylor, Navasota).
• In the absence of All-State linebacker James David, Markus Hayes led the team in tackles with eight. Hayes has 127 on the season.
• Speaking of tackles, placekicker Noe Zelaya ignited the Tiger bench with his touchdown-saving tackle on C.J. Bills. It was his fourth stop of the season. “He’s one of the team favorites,” Miller said. “To see him step up that way was great. It was a big play.”
• Ethan Brinkley now has 4,468 yards passing to extend his school record. He also has 35 touchdown passes to also extend that record.
• Elijah Brooks needs just 66 yards to cross the 1,000-yard rushing plateau and become the 12th Tiger in history to do so.
• Rockdale is 4-2 in Hall of Honor games.
• The Tigers led District 18-3A in fumble recoveries with 15. They also picked off 11 passes, led by Hayes’ 3.
lineman of the week
LORENA RESULTS (8-2)
Madisonville 24, Lorena 18
Lorena 43, Salado 6
Lorena 30, Lampasas 12
Lorena 42, Grandview 34
Lorena 22, Groesbeck 20
Connally 29, Lorena 19
Lorena 32, La Vega 20
Lorena 35, Robinson 28
Lorena 56, West 3
Lorena 52, China Spring 35
LORENA SEASON LEADERS
Rushing—Coleman 242-1,434, 25 TD; Whiteside 77-520, 3TD; Burch 104-504, 4TD;
Passing— Coleman 93-158-7, 1,380 yards, 13 TD.
Receiving—Channon 20-408 7 TD; Cox 15-164 TD.
Tackles— Davis 150, Campbell 125, Strahan 98, Smith 68, Stewart 60, Groh 52, Mays 46.