A Landmark Win for Coach Rodgers…and many more to come!
By ABN Staff
10 years ago Todd Rodgers moved 10 miles west from Flower Mound Marcus to Argyle High School. He left behind a comfortable role as the defensive coordinator for one of the state’s top class 5A teams. He had already earned one state championship ring and had established himself as one of the top assistants in the area. Surely there were lots of opportunities coming his way soon where Coach Rodgers could have taken the safe route with a head coaching job at an established program.
Instead, he put his career at risk and uprooted his family to take over a fledging Argyle football program. In 2002, the year before Coach Rodgers arrived in Argyle, the Eagles played their first varsity football season in class 2A finishing with a record of 1 win and 9 losses. On that team there were just 17 players suited up on varsity and at best, about 35 kids playing football in the entire district.
Fast forward 10 years and it would be an understatement to say we’re very grateful Coach Rodgers took that risk and came to Argyle. Yesterday, Coach Rodgers celebrated his 100th victory leading the Eagles to another class 3A Area Championship by defeating the defending class 2A state champion Melissa Cardinals 42-14.
Under Coach Rodger’s leadership, the Argyle Eagles advance to the 3rd round of the state playoffs for the 5th consecutive year and look like a team on a mission to once again play deep into December. There are consistently 90-100 kids playing football at Argyle High School not to mention over 60 kids playing in middle school and the 120 or so in youth football all waiting for their chance to play for Coach Rodgers and his staff. Talk about a man who is building a program and making a difference.
“The support we get in the community is a huge part of the success we’ve had”, said Coach Rodgers in the post game celebration. “I’ve been blessed and I’m grateful to have such a strong team of coaches who are so committed to our kids and this program”, he continued.
Coach Rodgers went on to recognize offensive coordinator Jeff Harp, who also came over from Marcus 9 years ago, along with defensive coordinator Greg Mouser, who joined Coach Rodger’s staff 8 years ago. Add to that list of loyal coaches Steve Chancelor (8 years), Grady Roller (8 years), Ricky Griffin (6 years), Tommy Ledford (6 years), Jake Fisher (6 years), Jason Pitts (5 years), Jay McCook (3 years), Scott Styron (1st year), and Daniel Lundy (1st year) and you’ve got a great staff who Coach Rodgers empowers to do their best work.
Yesterday, that coaching experience and expertise paid off for sure.
The Eagles racked up 306 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns on the ground behind Coach Harp’s power running game and creative use of his playmakers. Sophomore running back Nick Ralston went over (literally), around, and through a tough Cardinal defense for 164 yards rushing giving him 1,699 on the season. Credit sophomore left guard Matt Hiter, who is already 6’3 240 pounds, for consistently opening big holes all game. Add in senior right tackle Tanner Fought’s (6’4 and 260 pounds), senior center Jordan Deagan (6’3 275 pounds), and left tackle Trevor Jones (6’3 225 pounds) and you’ve got all the ingredients for a great ground game.
When the Cardinals stacked the line of scrimmage to stop the inside run, Coach Harp showed his creativity going to the Wildcat formation, wide receiver reverses, and the “Bulls” short yardage package. Ian Sadler took full advantage of Coach Harp’s calls to score 3 rushing touchdowns while gashing the Cardinal defense for 92 yards on the ground. Ian also made the Cardinals pay by snagging a pass from quarterback Brandon Boyzuick on the Eagles 2nd offensive play of the game which he turned into a 62 yard touchdown.
That’s 4 more touchdowns from Ian this week. Last week he had 3 touchdowns, the week before he had 4, the week before he had 5, the week before he had 4, the week before he had 3, and you get the idea. Credit Ian’s remarkable speed and uncanny ability to cut at full speed along with some devastating downfield blocks from junior slot back Jon Pucciarello, junior receiver Dalton Ledford, Nick Ralston, and junior slot back Chance Bode.
Yesterday, Chance Bode, who is 6’1 210 pounds, turned his game up another level with punishing runs to break arm tackles, bursts of speed to run past linebackers, and his ability to hurdle defenders to get key first downs. Chance carried the ball 4 times averaging an impressive 10 yards a carry. When the defense keys on Nick Ralston or Ian Sadler, Chance proves he is more than ready to make them pay.
Melissa’s defense gave the Eagles all they could handle in the early going showing why they are one of the top 3A teams in the area. But in the end, Coach Harp’s offense scored 40 or more points for the 10thtime this season and the 6th game in a row.
Give credit also to Melissa’s offense which may be one of the best the Eagles have seen so far this season. The Cardinals QB showed why he’s thrown for 2,000 yards this season connecting with a cadre of big and fast receivers in the early going. After the Cardinals scored 14 points in the first quarter (the most scored on Argyle going back to non-district play) until defensive coordinator Greg Mouser could make some adjustments. As a result, the Eagles shut out the Cardinals the last three quarters to secure the victory.
Senior defensive lineman Wood Speed picked a great time to play his best game so far. Wood was flying all over the field to throttle the speedy Cardinal running backs and finished the game with a team high 15 tackles. Junior defensive lineman Micah Capra once again dominated the interior and on several plays was seen tracking down running backs outside the hash marks showing his tenacious pursuit and speed. Micah also added a huge quarterback sack in the 3rdquarter to end the last scoring threat by the Cardinals. Micah finished the night with 10 tackles.
Junior cornerback Reese Thompson, who is 6’2” 175 pounds proved why he is also one of the state’s fastest defensive backs as he ran stride for stride with the Cardinal’s 6’4” leading receiver to deny completions. Reese broke up two passes last night giving him 18 passes broken up this season. Junior safety Colton Katzen turned up the heat delivering big hit after to hit to break up a pass and cause a fumble. Linebacker Colton Hinnrichs delivered his trademark big plays yesterday while crashing the line of scrimmage all game resulting in 8 tackles and even batted down a Melissa pass to force a punt.
Sam Sizelove, the Eagles 6’4” 220 pound middle linebacker, is a flat out big-hitting machine. Sam finished the game with 9 tackles and continues to lead the team with a remarkable 131 tackles so far this season.
This defense plays hungry and has shown a real appetite for chewing up opposing offenses. It’s no wonder they are called “The Black Swarm”. If you needed any proof that this unit will step up and take the fight to their opponents, you had to look no further than the way they responded to unfamiliar adversity and set-backs with each player stepping up their game up and shutting down Melissa’s very good offense.
Next up is a familiar playoff opponent in the Gilmer Buckeyes. This will be the 3rd consecutive year the Eagles and Buckeyes have met in the playoffs. No team in Texas has won more games in the past 15 years than the Gilmer Buckeyes under head coach Jeff Traylor’s leadership. The Buckeyes come into next Friday’s game with an 11-1 record (same as Argyle) featuring an offense that averages 450 yards and 38 points per game. The Buckeyes have won 10 straight games including last night’s 57-13 demolishing of the Atlanta Rabbits. If their third meeting is anything like the first two, you can expect to see what will arguably be one of the best games in the state next week.
The game is set for next Friday, November 30, at Mesquite Memorial Stadium. Argyle will be the home team and please note the kickoff is set for 7:00PM. Gilmer has terrific community support and is sure to bring a big crowd. So make plans now to load up your vehicle with every Eagle fan you can find and make the relatively short drive to Mesquite. Show up early for the pre-game tailgate party set to start about 5:30PM.
As always, the game will be broadcast live onwww.argyleboosterclub.com with the Northstar Bank pre-game show starting at 6:40PM.