At 4-0 to start the season, the Travis football team has played well on both sides of the ball. But as the Tigers begin to face the rigors of District 20-6A play, there are still some things the team has to work on.
Travis hopes to keep things going against Dulles on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Mercer Stadium in Sugar Land. The Tigers hope that their high-octane offense can keep going against a Viking squad that has struggled in the last three games.
The beat goes on for senior quarterback Eric Rodriguez, who leads the district in passing yards (1,300) and passing touchdowns (14). He also is third in the district in rushing with 303 yards on 44 carries with five touchdowns.
While the Travis offense has exploded, the defense has been a bit inconsistent. The Tigers have allowed 898 rushing yards this season and allow an average of 386.8 yards per game.
Travis has given up a lot of big running plays this season, but the defense has stepped up in the second half of games to stop the run.
The Tigers’ defensive line, consisting of seniors J’mani Gibson and Pat Brown, combined for nine tackles in last week’s game against Elkins. Senior linebackers John Henderson and Makel Oliva combined for 12 tackles and two tackles for loss.
“Our kids lock in and play well when they have to,” Travis head coach Trey Sissom said. “And it plays into what the offense is doing because when we get the lead and we’re playing fast, we’ve eliminated the other team’s ability to run because they’re playing from behind.”
Dulles comes into the game on a three-game losing streak, including a 27-22 loss to Austin in which the Vikings allowed two second-half touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Dulles offense managed only one touchdown, coming with two minutes left in the game.
Senior running back Tim Gans leads Dulles with 290 yards on 52 carries with only one touchdown. Senior quarterback Alec Aguillon is 54-for-114 with 507 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions this season.
The Vikings have been susceptible defending the run, allowing 802 yards (200.5 per game). Dulles has held opponents to an average of only 145.3 passing yards, but allowed 265 passing yards to Austin last week.
“(Dulles) has a heck of a tailback (Gans) who is fourth in the district in rushing,” Sissom said. “And on the defensive side, they’re smaller than what we’ve seen, but they’re more athletic. They also do a lot of things like stunting and slanting, and that causes havoc instead of lining up and playing big.
“But on the offensive side, we want to establish the run game. We want to get K.J. (Shankle) and Aundre (Smith) going and running downhill.”