It's the Yellow Jackets Football Week 1 Blog...by Lynn Burkhead, exclusively on mySherDenBuzz.com! Each week, Jackets play-by-play voice Lynn Burkhead will have a writeup on the game, breaking down what happened on the field and what it means moving forward. This week, Lynn shares his in-depth analysis of DHS' 56-20 loss to Frisco Liberty Friday night at Munson Stadium, in game two of the 2010 season. Special thanks to Katy Country, 93.1 FM!
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YELLOW JACKETS FOOTBALL WEEK 1 BLOG...BY DENISON RADIO'S LYNN BURKHEAD
Jackets Take First Steps of Improvement
-- The saying goes, “You've got to crawl before you walk, walk before you run.”
After a very tough start to the 2010 season a week ago - crawling, if you will - consider the Denison Yellow Jackets alive and walking forward.
Against a talented Frisco Liberty squad that gave them fits the previous year, Denison still took it on the chin in a big way this past Friday night, losing 56-20 in the end.
But along the way, plenty of offensive improvement gave Jackets fans reason to hope for the remainder of the season.
For the night, the team finished with 384 yards of total offense, more than 300 of that on the ground.
Senior tailback Stacy Golston led the way with a superb 23-carry, 201-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance.
Junior quarterback Jordan Watson chipped in more than 100 yards of rushing on his own and added a touchdown.
Add in a slightly better passing performance from Watson and the Jacket offense, while still a work in progress, definitely moved forward.
Why the improvement?
Two reasons, the first being superb blocking from the Jackets' veteran offensive line.
The other reason was hard-nosed north-south running by Jackets toting the pigskin.
Add the two together and pre-season expectations of the J's being able to move the ball effectively on the ground were finally realized.
If there is a concern offensively, it remains the passing game.
While 47 yards of passing is well above the anemic three yards of the previous week, it is hardly enough to keep solid defenses from stacking the box and slowing the Jackets running game down.
If not stopping it outright.
I've said it on the air and I'll say it here: How well the Jackets eventually do in 2010 and if they are able to advance to the Class 4A playoffs at season's end will be determined by one element in my mind ... how well they grow in the aerial department over the next several weeks.
This team will not rewrite the record books in the passing department. But with the running talents of Golston, Watson and running back Elijah Butler, they don't have too.
They just have to be effective through the air, enough to provide the occasional threat and to take heat off the rushing attack.
On the other side of the ball, progress is a bit more difficult to discern.
Against Kennedale in the season opener, the youthful Yellow Jackets defense faced a good, high-powered Wing-T offense that they had never seen before.
That showed in the stat book and on the scoreboard.
This past week, the Jackets' D faced a more familiar but incredibly talented Liberty offensive squad that may very well carry the Redhawks to a district title and a playoff appearance.
Remember, the 2009 Jackets struggled to contain Liberty a year ago when the home squad had a defense littered with college talent.
This year, Liberty's big and fast Jay Ajayi (a Boise State commit) showed why he is a very highly regarded running back prospect in Texas. Ditto for Malcolm Hill, the fleet footed receiver that gives the Redhawks a tremendous one-two punch offensively.
Add in the talents of Liberty QB Zach Smith and there is little doubt in my mind that Liberty will build significantly upon the success they enjoyed in 2009.
That success included a 7-5 overall record, a 28-21 loss to Denison in the regular season and a 33-31 loss to Sulphur Springs in the third round of the playoffs.
This year, it could easily be Liberty playing someone in the state quarterfinals at SMU's Ford Stadium rather than Denison and Sulphur Springs.
So before throwing the towel in on this year's youthful and inexperienced Denison D, consider the quality of the Jackets' first two opponents.
A 20-0 regular season between Kennedale and Frisco Liberty is a very realistic possibility in my mind.
And with nationally-ranked Belle Glade Central (FL) looming in the wings this next weekend in the Metroplex, the Jackets’ recent trend of playing high-end opponents will continue.
I'm not white-washing things here - the J's first three opponents are all state championship caliber squads in their respective states and classifications.
And if the Jackets can take another step or two forward this weekend, they just might be ready to run soon.
Because as another saying goes, “What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger.”
And that could make the Jackets plenty strong in time for the games that really matter this season, the ones played in District 13-4A.