MARBLE FALLS — Todd Dodge’s first year as head coach of the Marble Falls High School football team couldn’t have started better with a 56-36 victory against La Grange in the 2012 opener.Now, the Leopards are looking a win against Dodge and the Mustangs in the 2013 opener at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at Leopard Stadium, 820 S. Vail St. in La Grange.
“Momentum is a huge thing,” LaGrange head coach Matt Kates said. “Obviously, it’s everybody’s goal. At the same time, we’re not a win-at-all-costs team. We’ll play our tails off against the Mustangs. At the end of the game, we’ll wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season.”
The two teams have plenty in common. At the top of the list: Both teams will be depending on new quarterbacks.
Marble Falls’ Brennen Wooten, a sophomore, is the third underclassman to start for the Mustangs since 2006. La Grange puts its hopes on the legs and arm of Dillon Davis, a player who started at receiver and safety last season and was named all-District 26-3A in both positions, Kates said.[box]GAMETIME
Marble Falls Mustangs at La Grange Leopards
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30
WHERE: Leopard Stadium, 820 S. Vail St. in La Grange
LISTEN: KBEYFM.com or KBEY 103.9 FM with pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. and live broadcast at 7 p.m.[/box]
“He’s an athletic guy,” Dodge said.
Of course, Kates agrees.
“He’s as good a kid as you can get,” Kates said. “He was good enough to start as a sophomore. But we had a three-year starter in Logan Vinklarek, who is now at Blinn College.”
READ The Picayune’s preview of the 2013 Mustangs football team. WATCH KBEY 103.9 FM’s first ‘Todd Dodge Show’ of the 2013 season. WATCH KBEY 103.9 FM’s Pre-Game Interviews with Todd Dodge and senior safety Cody Seelig
The run-oriented Leopards also have returning running back Rodney Filmore, a player who was a 1,200-yard rusher, according to Dodge, as well as Bralon Hutchinson, a 600-yard rusher. Their receiving threat is Cassel Tezeno.
But the player ensuring the Leopards offense hits on all cylinders is offensive tackle Zachary Ledwik, a 6-foot-5, 270 lineman, who committed to play for Texas A&M University in early June.
“He’s an outstanding player,” Dodge said about Ledwik. “They don’t offer scholarships to guys at Texas A&M unless they’re great players, a guy that’s been recruited to play in the Southeastern Conference, recruited by just about everybody in this state, every surrounding state. He is big, physical and real mobile. The thing that really caught the attention of the college recruiters is how well he moves for a large man.”
That’s why he’s not an athlete who stays on one side of the line, Dodge said. Rather, he’s used as a quick lineman, a player who lines up wherever he is most needed or where the play is designed to go. He also was used as a defensive lineman last year.
Defensively, the Leopards utilize a 3-4 front with the secondary playing a man-to-man defense led by safety Ty Beseda and linebacker Garrison Mueller.
“Looks like they’ve gone with a little more speed on defense,” Dodge said. “They … brought a lot of heat last year. Anytime you go into any game, but definitely an opening game, you better be prepared for somebody to blitz you, and we were last year.”
Marble Falls has senior running back Keith Jerome, a player who had almost 1,000 yards from scrimmage and senior receivers J.T. Watson, Ty Coffey, Aidin Parnell and Garrett Gray, who committed to play for the University of Texas in early June. Combined, the Mustangs caught more than 200 balls last season, the most of any group coached by Dodge, he said.
After losing to the Mustangs in 2012, the Leopards went on an eight-game winning streak that ended with a 21-13 setback to Cuero in the last game of the regular season and a 35-21 loss to El Campo in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.