By Tony Altobelli
Killeen Daily Herald
Never have the Killeen Kangaroos been more eager to get back to the football field.
Finally able to take the bad taste out of their mouths following last week's blowout loss to Copperas Cove, the Roos again take to the road to face Austin LBJ tonight at 7:30 at Nelson Field.
"This group is anxious to get back out on the field again," KHS coach Sam Jones said. "After our solid scrimmage against Leander, we really made a ton of mistakes against Cove. That game helped give us a little reality check.
"We're glad we're getting another chance to play to show that we're better than that."
The Roos will be without the services of starting fullback Donald Fulbright, who sprained his ankle in the Leander scrimmage and saw limited action against the Bulldawgs.
"The X-rays were negative so hopefully, we'll get him back next week," Jones said. "But the bright side of that is Jamel Jackson, who played great against Cove. He'll be starting for us and I know he's ready to go."
It will be the season opener for the Jaguars, who went 3-7 overall last season, 3-3 in District 26-4A.
"From what I've seen, they're big up front and they like to run the ball," Jones said of LBJ, which hasn't faced the Roos since 1995. "LBJ is always known for its speed and we know that it's going to be a great challenge for us."
The Jaguars will be led offensively by running back Joseph Turner. The 6-foot, 205-pound, all-district returner rushed for 1,089 yards and 11 TDs on 184 carries.
Blocking in front of Turner are three 300-plus pound lineman who will take up loads of room on the line of scrimmage. That hefty three-pack includes Michael Morgan (6-5, 320), Maxwell Aarons (6-5, 300) and Alfred Bradford (6-0, 304).
"That will put some additional pressure on our defensive line, but they're looking forward to the challenge," Jones said. "This week, we really went back to basics, working on good technique. Last week, we missed a bunch of tackles so we worked on our form a lot the past few days."
The key for the Roos' success will come from the ability to turn LBJ's bulk into a detriment instead of a positive.
"If we can get some of those bigger guys spread out, we'll be able to use our biggest strength, which is our speed," Jones said.
The Roo quarterback tandem of Columbus Givens and Trey Debose combined for 156 yards, with Juaquin Iglesias and Chandos Daniels the primary targets.
"I'd like to see us be a little more patient in the pocket," Jones said. "I felt that we were able to move the ball well until we got close to the end zone, so we've been trying to improve our goal-line offense and our red-zone offense."
Whatever the outcome, just returning to the gridiron will help the Roos move on.
"I know it was tough for the kids to walk the halls in school and take some grief from the Cove loss, so we're definitely looking forward to another opportunity."
Contact Tony Altobelli at firstname.lastname@example.org