Still a fight for 1A football playoff spots

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

There are two weeks left in the Class 1A regular season. Falkner, as expected, currently sits in one of Division 1-1A’s two home playoff spots.
Thrasher will need some help to get in but isn’t mathematically eliminated from contention.
Thrasher’s climb to playoff relevance has earned coach Lamart Harvey and the Rebels (5-3, 3-3) respect from the rest of the division.
The Rebels were tied with the Eagles (8-1, 5-1) on Thursday night before Falkner won on a late drive.
“These boys play hard. They played our tails off and we knew they would,” Falkner coach Ben Ashley said. “Thrasher and Falkner have played a bunch. It’s a rivalry. These kids know each other and like to hit each other.”
Thrasher has games left against Smithville and at division-leading Vardaman. Falkner visits Byers and Smithville to close the regular season.
Harvey, in his first year as Thrasher’s head coach, said a tough halftime message and a resulting pickup in effort led to his team’s comeback from a 14-0 deficit.
“Whether you win or not, success is defined as doing the best you can and that’s what we did in the second half,” Harvey said.
Room to improve
Ashley’s team isn’t glued into a playoff spot yet and there are still areas Ashley wants to get straight before the regular season ends.
Four players on his 32-man roster were out Friday. Junior defensive back Ethan Prather hobbled off the field Friday with likely a high ankle sprain.
Sophomore tight end Tyler Windsor, junior guard Jesse Jones and freshman linebacker Cody Rodriguez were out with injuries as well. Two of them are starters but all four play key roles on special teams.
Their absence was clear as Thrasher’s Logan Dobbs returned one kick for a touchdown and Luke Walden nearly had another on Thursday.
“It’s a matter of us taking care of the football and playing good defense,” Ashley said. “We’ve got to win next week to be in. It’s a grind and at this point in the season, it’s tough.”
brandon.speck@journalinc.com