Bulldogs, Bearcats renew old rivalry in Friday battle

An old football rivalry, one that goes all the way back to 1926, is renewed Friday (tonight) in Ballinger when the Bulldogs and Bearcats go at it for their 75th meeting. The non-district game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Ballinger leads the series by a 47-27-1 margin, but one can always bet that the two schools will battle to the end regardless of which is favored. The Bearcats will definitely be the odds on favorite this time. They enter the contest with a perfect 4-0 mark while the Doggies have struggled to attain a 1-2. Ballinger’s wins have been over Breckenridge, Sonora, Llano and Colorado City. All victories have been solid, even against Sonora, the defending Class 2A, Division champions. The Cats’ defeated the Broncos in the second game of the season, 26-7, while Brady lost to Sonora two weeks ago, 34-0. “We are looking at a big challenge,” Brady coach Davy DuBose said Wednesday morning. “It’s a longtime rivalry, and it’s their homecoming, but you never know what will happen in a match-up like this one.” He said his team’s practices have been better after the open date last week. “The kids know they have to step up and accept the challenge. They know they will probably be out-manned, but they also know that they are improving each week,” he added. Ballinger was expected to be undefeated at this stage of the season.The Cats were picked to finish third in District 5-3A behind Abilene Wylie and Sweetwater (something that they still have be), but nobody felt the Bearcats would be as strong as they’ve been this early in the season. “It’s a surprise to me that they are as strong as they are, but the reason is that some of their sophomore players have really played outstanding football so far,” DuBose said. The major factor so far is sophomore running back Antonio Posey, a 195 pounder who has dominated opponents in the first four games. “No one has been able to stop him,” the Brady coach said. “I think he’s even better than Sonora’s William Renfro, who was all-state last season.” Another factor is that Ballinger’s offensive line has been overpowering its opponents, thanks in a big part to averaging between 240 and 250 pounds. “They have a 300-pound sophomore, who moves very well, and the rest of the line is made up of sophomores and juniors,” the Brady mentor said. The Bearcat quarterback is senior Justin Nicholson, and his top receiver is Blake Frerich, a 160-pound senior. “Ballinger will depend on Posey to hurt us up the middle. He rushed for over 100 yards against Ballinger, and they really did dominate the Broncos. So far, they’ve got all the puzzle pieces together,” DuBose said. Defensively, the Bearcats play an aggressive style with their four linemen and three linebackers stunting on almost every down. “One of their top linemen is 260-pound junior Jarrod Clark, who is very quick as are all their big guys. They also have an inside linebacker who moves well,” the Brady coach said. DuBose hopes that the Ballinger coaches and players will take his Bulldogs lightly. “We have no injuries so we’ll enter the game healthy. We have concentrated this past week or so on taking out many of the potentially complicated plays in order to simplify our offense. “We want to be more direct and to run north and south. We plan to run more play-action passes and to executve better than we have in our earlier three games,” he said.

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