Hendrickson: What to watch for

What to Watch For

What’s the rush? Hendrickson’s rush defense vs. Lake Travis’ run game

Prior to Lake Travis’ win at Dallas Jesuit last week, coach Hank Carter wanted to see the Cavaliers establish their rushing attack. Maleek Barkley and Charlie Brewer combined to rush for 310 yards on 11 carries. While the Cavaliers are comfortable spreading a defense out and letting Brewer throw to a variety of receivers, establishing the run may be job one again. Hendrickson’s rush defense has been hit or miss early on, allowing 345 yards to Belton before holding Manor to just 26.

Barkley, a receiver by trade, is still by his own admission growing into the running back role.

“I like hitting more now,” he said. “I’ve been playing receiver for a while and you don’t really get hit as much, but you’ve just got to play a few games and get the rhythm of it.”

Defensive continuation

Lake Travis’ defense made big strides last week after rough weeks against San Antonio powers Converse Judson and Cibolo Steele. From an athletic standpoint, Hendrickson more closely resembles those teams than did Jesuit, and Carter said the Cavaliers must do a good job of plugging holes to stop the Hawks.

“Last week, when there was a gap, they got 8 or 9 yards,” Carter said. “This week, if there’s a gap that same size, they may get 40 because of how quick they are.”

That effort starts up front, where Lake Travis’ new defensive front continues to come together. Carter hopes another week together helps the group get off to a faster start.

“When we play a little quicker, it’s the difference between [allowing] three to seven yards [per play],” Carter said. “I’d like to see us start out playing fast. We just need to trust what we’re seeing and go play it.”

Kade Langston, Cesar Guzman, T.J. Simien and Kyle Wakefield should get a boost. Reid Bacon, who played linebacker last year and tackle in the spring, has worked his way into the rotation at defensive end, and Carter expects that Sammy Ochoa will play after missing two games dealing with leg injuries.

Self-inflicted wounds

Like the Cavaliers, who’ve averaged about 10 penalties per game early on, Hendrickson’s had its share of issues that have little to do with the opponent. The Hawks have fumbled seven times (losing three) in their first two games, several on bad snaps or botched QB-RB exchanges. Eliminating those blunders could free an explosive offense up, something that’s got Carter’s attention.

“They do a lot of what Steele and Judson did offensively,” he said. “The other thing for me is that they’ve made a lot of mistakes that are on them. Bad snaps, bad exchanges. They are going to try and be sharp for us… “

Despite six fumbles against Manor last week, the Hawks still managed 40 points as Chux Nwabuko rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries with 4 TDs. He also caught a team-best four passes.