Through the first five games of the 2014 season, Grapevine’s rebuilding has been nothing short of a challenge. Patience but persistence has been coach Randy Jackson’s message to both his coaching staff and his players.
The rough patches have come in bunches. The Mustangs (0-5, 0-1 in District 5-6A) have allowed an average 43.2 points per game (216 total). They’ve scored an average of 17 points per game (85 total). Grapevine (0-5, 0-1 in District 5-6A) is coming off a tough 49-21 loss in its district opener this past Friday at Lake Dallas.
But it isn’t how you start that matters. It’s how you finish. Jackson has been through these kinds of rebuilding projects in previous coaching stops.
In 2001, his team at Mason started 1-7 before it found a way to make the playoffs and won a bi-district playoff game before finishing the season at 4-8. So he knows something similar can happen at Grapevine.
“We’re just learning this whole thing,” Jackson said. “I really believe we’re going to be in mid-season form by the time we get to the end of the season. People may think I’m crazy, but I’m the most encouraged 0-5 coach out there. I’m OK with everything. Our kids are staying with what we’re doing.”
The Mustangs have a chance to earn that first win against Fort Worth Poly (1-4, 0-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mustang-Panther Stadium. The Parrots are not a very strong team and have struggled to score.
For the sake of comparison, the Mustangs have scored more points this year (85) than the Parrots (67). Grapevine went 1-9 in 2013 and has won only three games in the previous two seasons.
“Really, I think if we have a stronger finish to the season, we’ll be OK,” Jackson said. “I like our kids’ attitudes. We’re pretty young. But they are still continuing to work for us, so that’s always a good thing.”
Youth is being served on this team. Of the 22 current starters on offense and defense, 15 are either juniors, sophomores or freshmen. There are at least five sophomores playing on defense.
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Senior quarterback Sam Barry continues to be out with an undisclosed injury. It’s unclear when he will return, Jackson said. Barry didn’t play at Lake Dallas.
However, freshman Alan Bowman enjoyed a pretty efficient night as he was 23-36 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. In Barry’s absence, Barry has thrown for 332 yards and four touchdowns, completing 63 percent of his passes.
“I really liked the way he handled himself on the two touchdown passes,” Jackson said. “On his first touchdown (17 yards to Matt Whitman) he had a blitzer come at him unblocked. A lot of quarterbacks would take the sack, but he delivered the football. I was really proud of the way he handled it.”
Colleyville Heritage update
The Panthers (2-3, 0-1 in 7-6A) really had no answers against Euless Trinity last week in a 14-0 loss at Euless Trinity. Their offense was held to only 117 yards of total offense. However, the defense stood tall in limiting the Trojans to two touchdowns.
Colleyville Heritage enjoys its bye week this week before returning to action on Oct. 10 against Haltom. There’s hope that starting quarterback Clayton Oliver (right hand injury) could return for that game.