This is Denison Coach Cody White’s fourth “Battle of the Axe” game but he doesn’t treat it differently than any other game.
“We will have the same approach as any game,” said White Monday. “The kids get into it a lot. There’s a great atmosphere to the game. We’ve just got to be ready.”
The Denison High School Yellow Jackets are currently having the worst season in DHS history at 0-7; the previous low was in 1919 when the team began 0-6. But records mean little when it comes to the rivalry between the Jackets and the Sherman Bearcats, the neighboring high school 10 miles south.
“With our record, it gives us something to get excited about,” said White.
When asked how his team matches up with the heavily favored Bearcats (7-1, 4-0), White was honest.
“Not very well,” he stated.
White noted that the Jackets were ‘okay’ along the lines of scrimmage as compared to the Bearcats but that was all.
“We can’t match them at the skill positions,” explained White. “We just have to keep stuff in front of us and try to keep them off the field.”
On offense, White said DHS simply needed to do what they’ve been working on all season.
“We need to complete drives; get scores and control the line of scrimmage,” he said.
One bright spot for the Jackets may be at the quarterback position. Sophomore Clifton Jackson will make his third start for the home team this week. After seven weeks of searching, DHS may have found its quarterback.
“He’s doing well,” said White.
In the loss to Royse City on Oct. 8, Jackson rushed for 72 yards and passed for another 192 yards. He was 17-27 passing and had a rushing average of 4.2 yards per play. Among four players at that spot, Jackson is the leading passer for the season with 287 yards in only two games.
Another bright spot for the Jackets may be the perfectly timed bye week, which DHS just completed. White said the week came at the right time this year.
“We got some kids healthy; we used it for conditioning and we introduced them to Sherman a little early,” explained White. “But mostly, we got some kids healthy.”
According to White, it doesn’t matter when the “Axe” game comes during the schedule. It is in the middle of the season with the new district alignment this year. For the last decade or so, it has been the last game of the season.
“It’s been a while since it was during the season, but it doesn’t make any difference,” said White. “If they go to a Class 6A (as proposed), we will play Sherman in one of the first three games of the season because they will be in a different class than we will be.”
White added that he ‘doesn’t have any tricks left’ for the Bearcats or the season. He will continue the same game plan with his young team when they take the field at Munson Stadium Friday.
“We just have to get better at what we do,” he said.
The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Munson Stadium in downtown Denison. Gates will open at 6 p.m. The game is expected to be a sell-out, according to early reports.
*Note: Be looking for Coach Cody White and Sherman Coach Gary Kinne’s exclusive blogs on Wednesday, right here on mySherDenBuzz.com!