On Saturday evening the John Cooper Dragons will attempt to win their first Southwest Preparatory Conference football title win the face the Irving Cistercian Prep Falcons in the SPC 3A Championship.
Head Football Coach Eric DeHaven has coached the Dragons football team for the past three years and sees the excitement the Dragon’s success is generating. “Well, honestly the vibe has been going here pretty good before I got here. But there is great excitement and the numbers in the program’s growing from the Middle School on up. Obviously winning helps that and them finding success also helps that. The culture here has been tremendous. We always say, we just have to emulate what the from eight to three and we are going to find success. They have unbelievable work ethic and they carry that over to football. It’s been pretty special. “
The Dragons defeated the Falcons 47-21 six weeks ago but got off to a slow start in the game. DeHaven says focusing on the Dragons execution and not their opponent is a key to the game this week. “We played phenomenal football at the last hundred plays of that game. We played really bad football the first 50. We have to continue to focus on ourselves and not necessary our opponent. Fix the mistakes that we had. If we continue that mindset, we will find success.”
DeHaven expects the Falcons to play physical football and try to control the clock. “I feel like they are a very physical football team. I feel like they are going to try to control the clock on us and control the football…. They are going to try to keep our offense off the field. It’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. It will be a very physical football game for sure.”
DeHaven’s Keys To The Game
“I think number one we have to be disciplined not only within our assignments but we have to eliminate penalties. We have to be prepared for onside kicks, and that will be a really big deal. And then just like any football game, we have to win out front.”
I was able to catch up with Seniors Gamble Reed, Ronnie Woodall and Jaxson Pierce and Junior Vaughn McKeever to get their thoughts on the game.
Gamble Reed: “There’s a lot of support from the rest of our school. Like some people are coming up to Dallas with us to come watch our game. It’s good to see support. As far as the football team goes, we just focus on what we have to do… I think at the beginning of season we struggled a lot with our start and starting out the games. But throughout the season we’ve progressed a lot and grown a lot as a team. We don’t really come out as slow as we did early in the season. And that’s really become one of our strengths, as we have been getting these leads and maintaining these leagues throughout the season.”
Vaughn McKeever: “I think we just need to come out and just be ourselves. Just let the let the juices flow in pregame and just come out and do what we’ve done the rest of the year after that, just score touchdowns.”
Ronnie Woodall: “Everyone just needs to do their assignments. Everyone needs to worry about their own position and not worry about everyone else. And if everyone does their own job, then we’ll have a fantastic night.”
Jaxson Pierce: “The key is no penalties. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot like we have multiple times throughout the season. Do your job and that’s it. “