LAMPASAS — Jason Murphy does not simply want to win, he feels Lampasas needs to win.
On the heels of three consecutive losses, the Badgers look to end the skid tonight in their nondistrict finale at Fischer Canyon Lake.
While a victory is welcome for obvious reasons, the senior tight end believes it is especially critical for the team to change it fortunes considering its bye week awaits.
“Getting a win would mean a lot,” Murphy said. “If we can come out of this game with a win, we would go into our layoff with a lot of momentum.
“Then, we could come back with a lot of confidence. So, I think this game is very important.”
Lampasas first-year head coach Troy Rogers echoes the sentiments.
“There is no question we don’t want to be dwelling on another loss for two weeks,” he said. “We want to go into that bye with a win, and we need to get back on track.
“There have been times when the offense played well, times when the defense played well and times when special teams played well, but we haven’t been playing well as a whole. So, we really need to put a complete game together.”
In their three defeats since opening the season with a 33-12 victory against Fredericksburg, the Badgers have committed eight turnovers and managed to fall into early, double-digit deficits against both Wimberley and Lorena despite averaging 475.3 yards of offense.
Although Lampasas (1-3) has displayed the potential to compete with most teams, it has not performed when it mattered most, according to Rogers.
“We need to learn how to finish,” he said. “The guys never quit, but we’ve got to start displaying some leadership.
“Somebody at some point in time is just going to have to take over the game and tell everyone else, ‘Just follow me, and lets get this thing done.’ Until that happens, we’re going to see a lot more of what we’ve been seeing.”
Senior quarterback Cohen Cockburn is perhaps the most qualified candidate.
Serving as the Badgers leading passer and rusher, Cockburn has accounted for 1,338 total yards and 16 touchdowns this season, completing 68.8 percent of his passes and averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
While Cockburn has also thrown an interception in three of Lampasas’ four games, Murphy believes the benefits of having a dual-threat quarterback outweigh the negatives.
“He’s getting a lot more work than he did in the past when this was a run-heavy offense,” Murphy said. “He’s not just handing off over and over again, and that gives us a lot more options.”
The balanced attack has also allowed a number of receivers to flourish after serving minimal roles in previous seasons.
Harrison Gillespie, Nathan Keese and Murphy, who are all seniors, have each caught at least 20 passes this season and will look to maintain the high volume against the Hawks’ 4-3 defense, featuring fast linebackers and a tall, athletic secondary, according to Rogers.
Offensively, Canyon Lake (2-2) runs a slot-T offense capable of producing time-consuming drives, which could put a premium on each of the Badgers’ possessions.
In the end, however, to be successful tonight and moving forward, Rogers believes the Badgers must consistently deliver in all aspects.
“We’ve seen sparks of good things on all sides,” he said, “but we have to tie it all together.
“We’ve been playing the game in spurts, so I’m looking for the guys to start complementing each other.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com