Gobblers putting big emphasis on little things

Aug. 1, 2011 at 3:01 a.m.

Head coach Rick Owens runs a drill during football practice at Cuero High School on Monday morning.

Head coach Rick Owens runs a drill during football practice at Cuero High School on Monday morning.

CUERO - Doing up-downs in near 100-degree heat is not anybody's idea of fun. Neither is turning the football over.

Turnovers played a critical role in Cuero's season-opening losses to Wimberley and Liberty Hill last season, resulting in the end of a 33-game winning streak at Gobbler Stadium.

Anytime a ball hit the turf in Monday's first practice, the Gobblers followed.

"We talked today about taking care of the ball quite a bit because we feel like that's what cost us the first two ballgames last year," said Rick Owens, who begins his second season as head coach. "We will make it a big emphasis on that right off the bat."

Cuero will spend a lot of time working on the little things this season.

The Gobblers open the season with games at Wimberley, Liberty Hill and Bellville before playing their home opener against Calhoun.

Cuero is likely to do so without all-state running back Trent Jackson, who was not at practice Monday and won't return to the team until his legal issues are resolved.

The Gobblers are also without returning starters at quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker.

"We lost a big player so we have to fill that," said senior wide receiver/defensive back Darius Mathis. "Everybody sees that. The few seniors we do have got to be leaders because they've been there and they have to show the young ones what they need to do."

Mathis knows Cuero will have to execute and play mistake-free football to be successful.

"Doing the basic stuff right," Mathis said. "The fundamentals we're working on the first week of practice is real important to what we do in the playoffs."

The Gobblers have made the playoffs the last nine seasons, which includes a state final appearance and five trips to the semifinals.

"We have what we have and we're going to do everything we can to make it work," said senior tight end/defensive end Colton Jacob. "We're just going to come together like we always do and work hard and go at it."

Owens was pleased with the Gobblers' effort Monday and refuses to underestimate this year's team.

"The first thing I told our guys is our expectations really haven't changed," Owens said. "We're going to get to that point. Today, we're not going to win a state championship, but we're going to get better and better every day.

"We've won nine consecutive district championships and that's our goal just like it is every year and make the playoffs. No matter what our situation is people can't leave a place like Cuero out."



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