Make a stand
The Granbury Pirates were inconsistent on offense Friday at South Hills, a fact head coach Chad Zschiesche readily admits.
But when a defense plays as well as Granbury’s did, those issues on offense look a whole lot less important.
The Pirates stifled the Scorpions en route to a 41-10 win, moving to 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in District 3-5A Division 1. South Hills (1-4, 0-3) had just 157 yards of offense and converted only one third down all game.
“That’s great efficiency of getting them off the field,” Zschiesche said. “So I’m very proud of our defense and our team performance getting a bunch of hats to the ball.
“And I was very proud of the fact that when we – according to the referees – had a lateral deep in our own territory (which South Hills recovered), our defense bowed their neck and held them to a field goal attempt, which they made, but to not give up seven there is huge.”
Clayton Kracy and Zach Watson led Granbury offensively. Kracy scored on a 30-yard touchdown run, a 10-yard touchdown pass and a 55-yard punt return, while Watson had three rushing touchdowns in the second half.
Kracy made highlight-reel moves on all of his touchdowns. He juked a defender out of his shoes on the touchdown catch and reversed the field on the punt return.
“He’s doing what a senior’s supposed to,” Zschiesche said. “We’re glad he’s ours.”
With 41 points on the board, it may not seem like Granbury had many offensive issues. But seven of those points came on Kracy’s punt return, and seven more came after South Hills muffed a punt snap on their own two-yard line.
Zschiesche said he was happy with how the offense moved when it got going, but that there were too many empty possessions for his liking.
“It was a combination of things Friday night,” he said. “For whatever reason – penalties, protection, drops, in-completions – it was hard for us to stay on schedule.
“And when we did stay on schedule, the result ended up in the end zone. So I just felt like all Friday night was a little bit of a struggle – not so much because of what they were doing. It was squarely on what we were doing to ourselves, and that can become frustrating.”
HOMECOMING AND HEIGHTS
This week is Granbury’s Homecoming game, and the Pirates will welcome the Arlington Heights Yellow Jackets (1-4, 1-2 in district) to town Friday.
Heights won last year’s matchup 16-13, but it’d be difficult to take anything too meaningful from the 2018 game. Granbury exclusively ran a power offense set, as quarterback Kyler Gibson and backup Clayton Jones were both injured that week.
This year’s version of the Yellow Jackets has struggled on offense. Outside of a 54-10 win over winless Brewer, Heights has only scored more than 20 points one time, and that was in a 50-21 loss last week to Azle.
Running back Bryce Long is the featured man on offense. The real battle will come between the Granbury offense and the Heights defense, which is a no-holds-barred unit that loves to blitz.
“Coaches use this term a lot, but it’s true – they’re very multiple on defense,” Zschiesche said. “So you’re not going to see what we’ve seen the entire season, where a defense tells you, ‘this is what we run, beat us.’
“What you’re going to see Friday night is multiple fronts, and out of every front, multiple blitzes. Teams do this strictly to confuse you, so we have a made a gameplan that we like, and now it’s our job as coaches to get that gameplan to our kids.”
The Pirates have played an overly aggressive defense once this year, against Seagoville, but Zschiesche said Heights is even more prone to blitzing. As with the Seagoville game, that means Granbury might have a big setback on an offensive play, but there’s always a chance to get behind the blitz for lots of yardage.
“Odds are they’re going to get you every now and then, and we have to be able to go on to the next play,” he said. “Because when we get them, it’s a big play.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. from Pirate Stadium.