These are not last year’s Shoemaker Grey Wolves and Temple Wildcats.

Those teams combined for just one win in 2010 — Temple’s 11-6 win over Shoemaker. But the teams that meet at 7 tonight at Leo Buckley Stadium are led by two new head coaches who are driving their respective teams in a new direction.

“I think there are some real similarities in our two football teams. You can’t get caught up in records and all of those kinds of things,” first-year Temple head coach Mike Spradlin said. “I don’t get all into streaks — we haven’t talked about that a bit — what we know is we’re facing a good football team and that’s the one we’re preparing for.”

Temple (3-4, 2-2 12-5A) is currently locked in a four-way tie for third place in the District 12-5A standings after back-to-back wins over two of the teams it is tied with, including last week’s 23-8 win over Belton, the Wildcats’ first over the Tigers since 2008.

“Honestly, we put that to bed real quick,” Spradlin said. “We’re in that mode right now where everything for us is to stay focused on what we’re doing. You can enjoy those kind of wins when the season’s over.

“It was a big win for us, but more than anything, it was a big win that kept us in the hunt to possibly be a playoff team.”

The Grey Wolves (0-7, 0-4) lost their 29th straight game last week, but even more disappointing than their 37-0 loss at district co-leader A&M Consolidated was that they could’ve entered that game on a two-game district win streak. Before the stumble against the Tigers, Shoemaker lost to both Belton and Bryan by a total of four points.

“Basically what happened was we were playing some pretty good football two weeks prior to A&M Consolidated and I felt like we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot once again ... and we just couldn’t bounce back from it,” Shoemaker first-year head coach Channon Hall said.

“For anyone saying ‘It’s the same ‘ol Shoemaker,’ probably doesn’t know a whole lot about football, I can tell you that because we’re going in the right direction,” Hall added. “We don’t spend a lot of time on previous games, whether it be the losses to Bryan and Belton or Consol, we just move on and make sure we’re in grind mode and that we continue to get better is what we’re focussed on.”

With an offense based around junior running back Johnny Jefferson (475 yards, five touchdowns rushing through six games) and the district’s No. 4 defense, the Grey Wolves, not their record or their losing streak, have Temple’s attention.

“He’s a very good football player and I’ll say it again, Coach Hall’s done a great job of being creative and figuring out ways to get him the football,” Spradlin said of Jefferson. “I can tell you this, we’ve got a ton of respect for what they’re doing and you can rest assured that Temple High School, we’re not overlooking anyone and we’re certainly not overlooking these guys.”

With junior running back Gaylon Sanders (953 yards, 14 touchdowns rushing) and junior quarterback Zach Allen (1,425 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions passing), the Wildcats are plenty loaded in their backfield as well. But offense hasn’t been Temple’s problem this year — the Wildcats have the district’s No. 1 offense (475.5 yards per game) — it’s been the defense that has struggled. Until last week, that is.

The Wildcats were giving up a district-worst 503 yards and more than 42 points per game before holding Belton to 346 yards and a single touchdown in the rivalry game.

“I think it’s the same team. I think what’s happening with those guys is they’re starting to feel the groove, they’re getting the momentum right now,” Hall said of the Wildcats. “The main thing is we’re at home and we play good at home and you need to protect home as best you can. You need to come and be ready for a fight at home and that’s what we expect to do.”Contact Kevin Posival at or (254) 501-7562.


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