Yoakum goes on offense toward playoff berth

Yoakum's Keith Ratley makes a diving catch as he is tackled by a Refugio defender during a scrimmage last Thursday. The Bulldogs are hoping their offense can move the ball enough to help them reach the playoffs.
  • ZERO WEEK: at Columbus

  • 7:30 p.m. Friday

    RADIO: KYKM, 92.5 FM

  • YOAKUM AT-A-GLANCE

  • COACH: Brent Kornegay (fourth year at school)2011 RECORD: 6-4, 3-3 district, missed playoffsLAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2009 Class 3A area round

REFUGIO - Willie Hights is better known for his blocking and tackling than his running.

But few Yoakum fans have forgotten the 5-foot-9, 335-pound Hights' 1-yard touchdown run that was the decisive score in the Bulldogs' 25-21 win over Cuero last season.

"You're going to see that later on this season," Hights joked.

Hights' run helped Yoakum claim its first win over Cuero since 2001, but it wasn't good enough to get the Bulldogs into the playoffs.

Yoakum opens the season Friday at Columbus intent on making the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

"I don't know if you know where that is, or where you're supposed to be," said Yoakum coach Brent Kornegay, "but we feel good about what we did in the last two scrimmages."

The Bulldogs displayed their versatility and ability to move the ball in scrimmages against Bellville and Refugio.

"The offense was always good, we just made a few little adjustments," said wide receiver Keith Ratley. "We've just got to work fundamentals in practice and execute them in the game."

Ratley gave a preview of what is possible in the Refugio scrimmage when he leapt high in the air to catch a pass from quarterback Chase Hermes and held on to the ball despite being hit by a defender.

The catch allowed the Bulldogs to keep their first scoring drive alive.

"We do what we do and we're going to throw the football because we have some kids who can catch the ball," Kornegay said. "We also have some kids who can run and we feel like we have a good offensive line."

Hights is a member of the offensive line and likes what he's seen in the scrimmages.

"I think we're ready," Hights said. "We've just got to work on the little things. We need to get the little things all together because little things add up to big things and big things can hurt us."

Ratley knows its up to him and his fellow seniors to make sure the Bulldogs are prepared for every game.

"There's little things we need to improve on," he said. "We need to improve our leadership roles and workmanship. We've just got to play hard and play like we're capable of and we'll make the playoffs."

Kornegay isn't taking anything for granted but has been pleased with his players' approach.

"Our kids have been in the system," he said. "This is the fourth year now and it's a confidence factor because the kids understand what they're supposed to be doing."