Cloverleaf (Galena Park), Texas–There’s a number of things that can be said about the defensive line of the Clear Creek Wildcats, namely that they are undersized. But one thing people can’t say is that they don’t leave it all on the field.
“Everybody we go against we’re at size disadvantage but our defensive line plays hard and they’re finding a way to be successful,” said Creek head coach Darrell Warden of his defense, which on average allowed 18.5 points per game during the regular season.
Creek (8-3) will need for the defense to continue to play strong if they want to extend what would be the longest playoff run in school history as they take on the La Porte Bulldogs (9-2) on Saturday at Galena Park ISD Stadium in the Area Round of the UIL 5A Division II high school football playoffs.
La Porte head coach Jeff LaReau echoed the sentiments of Warden.
“They’re scrappy, they hustle and they play hard,” he said. “You don’t give up nearly as much running the football when you give 100% like those guys.”
The reason the play of the defense will be so crucial is because both teams pack an explosive offensive punch led primarily by a dynamic running back, each one being a player who has committed to the University of Houston. Creek is led by C.J. McElroy, who is second behind Pearland’s Dustin Garrison among running backs in rushing yardage in 24-5A. A 200 yard game is not all that rare for him.
“We’ve got to shut down the running game,” LaReau said. “We have to put enough bodies on the line of scrimmage to make sure we slow him down and that he doesn’t have anywhere to go”
La Porte meanwhile is led by Anthony Webb, who averages 154 yards a game. Webb is not as quick as McElroy but is certainly a player that opposing defenses need to take account of. Behind an offensive line with solid size at each position, La Porte’s running game can be a lot for opposing defenses to deal with, particularly given the size of Creek’s defensive line.
“They have tremendous running back we have to contain and shifty quarterback we have to account for,” Warden said, referencing the Bulldogs starting quarterback Jeremy McNeal’s scrambling ability.
Most importantly according to Warden, Creek must take advantage when they stop La Porte’s offense with scores on the offensive side of the ball.
“When we make stops defensively, we have to complement that with scores on the offensive side of the ball,” he said, alluding to what he said after the Fort Bend Travis victory on Saturday.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of Cy-Woods and Katy Taylor next weekend.