Longhorns set for road trip to Little Axe

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

As the regular season winds to a close, a squad is either gaining momentum for a strong finish or hoping a late surge puts early struggles in the past.

The Lone Grove High School football team is in the first group, highlighted by three straight district wins that have pushed the Longhorns into prime position for a playoff run.

“Something we’ve kind of gotten in their heads the last couple of weeks is understanding that we work all season to get to this point and we need to be playing our best ball,” said Lone Grove head coach Brad O’Steen. “We felt like we were probably at 60% of our potential. We moved up that ladder last week and we need to move up that ladder again this week. That’s the goal because we sure need to be playing close to 100% of our potential next week.”

The Longhorns look to take another step up the ladder at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 when they travel to Little Axe. The Indians have yet to win a game this year and they’ve only scored 25 total points in seven games.

“Their numbers are down and they’re struggling, but they do some really good things on defense that could cause people problems,” O’Steen said. “Offensively, they’ve really been struggling to score points. But it’s a new coach and (Matt Lane is) trying to build a program, so it takes time.”

Lone Grove still can’t take it as a guaranteed win and waste an opportunity to improve, especially since it’s about taking strides in the right direction at this point in the season.

“We handle the week by going out and just getting better at what we need to get better at,” O’Steen said. “That’s kind of how our attitude is all the time. We go out and worry about us getting better. We have to game plan and adjust our schemes to what they do, but that’s kind of our philosophy.”

That was apparent last week as the Longhorns cruised to a 53-13 win over Madill. The victory was a positive sign after Lone Grove’s offense scored just 15 points the week before in a win over Plainview.

“It was good to see our kids come out (against Madill) and respond after kind of sputtering around against Plainview,” O’Steen said. “Offensively, it was good to be able to move the ball and go score some points. We just worry about what we need to do and worry about us getting better. And I felt like we did that last week.”

The Longhorns should have no problem finding more success Friday night at Little Axe, but there is a bigger game looming in the regular-season finale.

Lone Grove hosts Sulphur 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 and the contest is likely for second place in District 3A-2.

“Next week is a big game as far as getting a home playoff and finishing as district runner-up,” O’Steen said. “… The game next week is something that we’ve talked about since January. We knew that it was going to be a big game and we’ve got basically one more week to get tuned up and get ready to go play that game. We have to handle the task at hand and that’s Little Axe.”