By BRYAN URBACH
That’s what the Palestine Wildcats and coach Lance Angel are hoping for by starting out the 2013 season on the road at Waco La Vega.
After last year’s 24-23 loss at home, Palestine is looking for redemption. One way that it can start that road to redemption is by standing out and out-performing the competition. Angel said he knows of two key components to Friday’s matchup that will make or break the Wildcats’ opener.
“I’ve bragged on them all Fall, so right now I think our offensive line needs to step up,” Angel said. “I think it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever been around, and obviously we need those guys to have a great game and to set the tone.
“Defensively, it comes down to everyone taking care of their assignments,” he said. “There’s some Zone Read Option stuff that’s coming from La Vega, so we have to be where we’re supposed to be. There’s going to be a lot of key moments, and our kids have been working all week on that.”
The best way to set the tone for a team is to have your standout players do exactly that, stand out. Palestine will be looking to the arm of quarterback Gee Clark and the legs of running back Ben Luckett to help lead the squad to victory.
Angel said his key players can make that adjustment well because this week is on the road, which provides a sort of cleansing feel about the team to prepare it for week one action.
“Whether you’re preparing for a home game or an away game, each has its challenges,” Angel said. “I don’t mind the first one being on the road. Really, you just kind of get the kids away from the noise and the atmosphere of a home game.
“So, for us, the good thing is that we’ll get on a bus at 2:45 p.m., and it’s a chance for us and the kids to just bond,” he continued. “Our kids have been with us now for four years. They know how to ride on a bus and how to handle the situations. We have to get our minds right, and get off that bus ready to play.”
Waco La Vega has been a tough team to matchup against for anybody the past few years. Since 2006, the Pirates have had a winning record each season, most notably going 11-1 in the 2011 season.
Angel said even though La Vega went 7-4 last season, he expects more or less the same type of team, especially on defense.
“Well, La Vega lost a lot of quality that they had on defense last year,” Angel said. “That’s what everybody is talking about. You watch them on film, though, and it looks like the same La Vega.
“They’re going to be the same sort of team they put out every year, very good,” he said. “They’re very athletic defensively and fast. Offensively, they have a quarterback who can run the ball well, a few good receivers, a good runningback, a solid offensive line... all in all, it’s a good team that is going to be a good test for us.”
Palestine will definitely have its work cut out for it against Waco La Vega this week, but it should be a fun one to watch. Expect a similar score to the 24-23 final of last season, as both teams are evenly matched.