Belton head coach Bob Shipley said there has been excitement in the air this week as his team prepares to host district unbeaten Waco Midway tonight with a chance to clinch a playoff spot.
But whether or not that matters even Shipley himself doesn’t know.
“It just depends on if the first-half team against Ellison shows up or if the second-half team against Ellison shows up,” Shipley said with a laugh.
Belton (6-3, 2-3 12-6A) is coming off perhaps its biggest win of the season, in which it erased a 21-0 halftime deficit to win on the road against Ellison and keep its playoff hopes alive.
Against Midway, however, Shipley hopes to see his team clean up the mistakes that put it in a hole early against Ellison.
“In all our drives last week the first half, we either had a turnover or we had penalties on every drive,” he said. “The first drive we had the interception and then we had penalties that killed drives that we weren’t able to overcome.
“So, we’ve got to come out, obviously, we’ve got to start strong. You can’t get behind against a team like Midway.”
Quarterback Peyton Mansell was big against Ellison, accounting for 205 total yards and two scores, as was receiver Olajuwon Taylor, who reeled in Mansell’s only touchdown toss and set up the game-winning score with a 96-yard kickoff return.
Both will be expected to contribute largely again, but Shipley said the defense, led by last week’s hero Hunter Garrett, will be just as important against an explosive Panther team.
“We’ve looked at all the game film and they’re a team that is loaded at every position it seems like,” Shipley said. “I don’t see an apparent weakness anywhere. So, we’ve got to play inspired football. We’ve got to play with a lot of enthusiasm. We’ve got to play with very few mistakes and make some big stops on defense.”
Yet coming off of arguably its biggest win of the season, and going for what will certainly be its biggest if it emerges victorious, Shipley said he mainly wants to see his team put its best foot forward and do it for four quarters instead of two this time.
“I just want us to go out and just play like I know we can play and just play to the best of our ability,” Shipley said. “If the scoreboard works out it works out. If it doesn’t I just want us to go out and play four solid quarters and leave it all out there and let the chips fall where they may.”