By Albert Trevino
The 3-2 Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs will finish the regular season on the road to face the 5-0 Newton Eagles this Friday.
The playoff-bound Bulldogs clinched their postseason spot last week against Warren and expect their toughest challenge this Friday against the Eagles.
Second-year head coach Brett Ratliff has helped lead Corrigan to a bounceback year after missing the playoffs last season.
“It means a lot to this town and community.” said Ratliff. “Obviously, we have a tradition of winning here and I have been a part of that tradition. It took us a year to get going like we wanted. The kids have done everything I have asked them to do and we have played as a team. We have had a lot of fun and now we are in the tournament.”
The Eagles are also looking to improve from last year’s effort, being eliminated by Pewitt in the second playoff round.
Newton is coming off a 52-22 win last week at Hemphill and will finish undefeated in district with a win over Corrigan. Last year’s matchup resulted in 61-0 shutout loss for the Bulldogs.
Ratliff expects to utilize his entire playbook and offensive weapons to better compete with Newton and finesse some big plays this time around.
“We have to play as hard as we can and worry about ourselves, not the other team.” Ratliff said. “I think our style of play can keep them off balance if we are doing it well. We have to use our entire toolbox ...We hopefully can find some weak spots. There are very few, but if we can ever find something to exploit, we will.”
Newton’s signature power-run offense will be led by returning senior running back Deanthony Gatson. Other offensive playmakers include senior back Trinis Wash, junior back Tyler Porter and senior receiver Maliek Woods.
“[Gatson] is one of the better running backs in the state of Texas.” said Ratliff. “We have to stop him before he ever gets started. If he ever gets a head of steam, he is big, strong and fast.”
Regardless of the result in this matchup, the Bulldogs hope to keep enough of their winning momentum from the season to make a run in the playoffs.
“I say ‘Let us get to the tournament.’ If we can get to the tournament, great things can happen. I have seen fourth-seed teams do some amazing things.” said Ratliff.
Kickoff for Friday’s match is set for 7 p.m. at Curtis Barbay Field (Newton High School.)