Thursday’s 7 p.m. game at Freedom Field in Rosharon represents a different mindset for Lamar Consolidated than last year against Clements.

In 2018, head coach Rick LaFavers was looking to see which young players would step up for the Mustangs. This year, he knows what kind of players he has; he just wants to see them play a smoother game without silly mistakes.

“It’s just about executing and minimizing mistakes and sloppiness that is a part of every game, especially the first game of the season,” LaFavers said.

Lamar has plenty of offensive weapons to use against the Rangers, including Taye McWilliams, who has become the top running back for the Mustangs.

Quarterback B.J. Harris can also have a strong season this year, as his maturation has improved just like his passing skills have over the offseason.

“The game is slowing down for him,” LaFavers said. “He just has to continue to take care of the ball and play within himself. I look forward to watching him play.”

Lamar will face a Clements team that lost a large number of players from its two-win season last year, but the Rangers do have starting quarterback John Perry and running back Pierre Djunga back. Djunga ran for 769 yards and seven touchdowns last season, while Perry threw for 1,363 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“(Djunga) is a good little player who is quick and sudden,” LaFavers said.

Clements will have only six starters back on defense, and that could spell trouble for the Rangers against a high-powered Mustang offense.

Lamar beat Clements 42-14 last year, but LaFavers wants to see if his team can get better from game to game in preparation for a tough district season.

“If we can make sure that we take care of ourselves, then we’ll be fine,” he said.

“I’m more concerned about us improving from Game 1 to Game 2.”

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