By Brian Besch
A tough start to the non-district portion of the schedule has Livingston football at 0-3. As with most teams without a win in three contests, there is not just one issue, but the coaches in DeWalt Fieldhouse feel they are all correctable.
“We had a tough weekend finishing up the review of last weekend’s game,” Livingston coach Finis Vanover said of the Saturday session. “We did the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ thing again, where we played like warriors in the first half, and had one bitter, disappointing play in the second half and turned the switch off. The entire town sees what we do when we did that.
“The worst thing everybody can do is be ignorant and dwell on that and turn on each other, the coaches, the players, the process, and the program. Everybody in this town needs to get on one page and one ship — and that’s the Lions. We need to get this thing turned and righted, just like we did and have done many times in the last five years. It was a tougher and harder to swallow pill and lesson than last year, because we did some really good things in the second half against Palestine last year. The other night, we took a pretty physical thrashing in the second half after playing incredibly physical in the first half. For whatever reason, we took a trip to Mars.”
Vanover said he and the coaching staff want to put the Palestine game in the past and move forward in preparation of Spring Legacy School of Sport Sciences. The name is a mouthful, but will be on the tip of everyone’s tongue if they continue to win.
The Titans are 3-0 and rolling into Livingston on a high. If you are into scoreboard comparing, Legacy defeated Jasper Friday, and Jasper was a 22-point victor over last week’s opponent, Palestine, the week before. Legacy had a shutout win over Huffman Hargrave (29-0) to begin the year, then walloped Orangefield 48-10.
Last year, the Lions piled up nearly 500 yards of offense and scored 48 points
on the Titans. Livingston won the game by a point after stopping Spring Legacy on the final possession.
“These guys are going to make plays and they have folks at every position to make plays,” Vanover said. “But, they were all there last year and we have seen them all. They haven’t done one thing different this year for all three games.”
Vanover feels the Titans are dangerous because of team speed. There is an extremely large offensive line that will attempt to protect that speed in the backfield and out wide.
Legacy will run a variation of the spread, but will show a tight end for a portion of its plays. A speedy tailback will flank two different quarterbacks that rotate. Livingston defensive backs will need to be ready for the deep ball, but the offense also thrives on swing passes and screens.
“On defense, they like jumping around a bunch. They like playing a 50 defense with that nose tackle. Then, they will jump over and have a middle linebacker and four defensive linemen.”
It is the Titan defense that seems to have made the most improvement to this point. Last season, they surrendered an average of 43 points in six non-district contests. This year, that number has been cut to 13 through three games.
“We have a great chance to get this thing rolling with an outstanding performance here. We can get some confidence back and get ready to face Madisonville again for the fourth homecoming game in four years. Then, we have an open date with two weeks to prepare for the first district game. We played a terrible half against a good team after playing them blow-for-blow in the first half last week. We didn’t answer the bell in the second half. It is done and now we have to play this bunch. If we don’t take that approach, these guys could beat the brakes off of us.”
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