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Marble Falls football looks to get back on track against brand new Killeen Chapparrel

CAPTION: Getting stops is the key for the Marble Falls High School defense when the Mustangs welcome Killeen Chaparral, a new high school that opened this semester. Photo by Juan Gonzales/Visual Concepts Sports Photography

The Marble Falls High School football team will be facing a mirror image of itself when it welcomes Killeen Chaparral at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive.

That’s because the Bobcats (0-2, District 11-5A Division II) run the slot-T offense, a system head coach Alan Haire learned from some familiar coaches to the Mustangs.

“He was at Lago Vista when I (and former Marble Falls assistant coaches Clay and Zane Bode were) at Liberty Hill (in the early 2000s),” head coach Brian Herman said. “They weren’t having a whole lot of success. He started coming to all of our playoff practices. He started taking us to dinner and learning. He wanted to learn more about our slot-T. When he settled in Salado, they had some good runs.”

When Herman scheduled Chapparrel, Killeen Independent School District officials hadn’t yet named a head coach, which happened after realignment was announced in February. At the time, Haire was the head coach Salado, his alma mater, where he posted a 49-23 record in six seasons and won the district championship in 2017 and 2020 and finished second in 2021 behind eventual Class 4A Division II state champion China Spring. Since then he assembled his staff and waited to see which students committed to playing football. A list was expected to be given to him in early June. Chaparral’s location borders Florence and Salado Independent School Districts’ boundary lines in “a large rural area,” Herman said.

“Their building opened a few weeks ago,” he said. “I can’t speak to their summer workouts or when. From what I’ve observed, they’ve opened all four grades. Ninth- and 10th-grades were zoned in. Eleventh- and 12th-graders were given the option to stay (at their old high school) or transfer if they live in that zone. When I scheduled them, I anticipated us playing a heavy sophomore group. But when I look at their roster, they have more seniors than we do. They’re much more mature than I expected. They’re very athletic.”

The Bobcats feature 21 seniors, 23 juniors, five sophomores and a freshman. Chaparral lost to Killeen Shoemaker 52-0 Sept. 2 and to Killeen High 42-6 Aug. 26 and players are still learning the specifics of the playbook. While the Bobcats have athletes similar to what Leander Glenn fielded during the first scrimmage between the Grizzlies and the Mustangs Aug. 12, Glenn was in its second year of operating the slot-T offense.

“Coaches are all coming from different places,” Herman added. “There’s no fundamental basis of a program yet. Everything is new. They’re trying to get their foundation laid. They haven’t left Killeen yet. This will be their first road trip. They’re not content in their shoes yet. What they don’t have is the preciseness of the (slot-T) yet. Their quarterback is a good thrower, and he’s done a decent job. It’s been more controlled stuff. They have the ability. I believe coach Haire will get them going. They have size and speed and ability.”

Defensively, the Bobcats are in an odd scheme where the center isn’t covered.

“They have athletes who weigh 275 pounds, 280.” Herman said. “They have speed and athleticism. We’ve seen Glenn and Brownwood who are super physical across the whole line coming off the edge. We have to play like we did against (Pflugerville) Connally.”

In that 52-7 win, the Mustangs limited offensive penalties and recorded defensive stops.

As for the 55-16 loss to Brownwood Sept. 2, Herman said he believes it’s a setback that will benefit the Mustangs.

“It was a very useful learning tool for us,” he said. “We got a lot out of it. We expect to see growth from it.”

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