FOOTBALL: Cougars Look to Ground Eagles Tonight at McNair

Weston Ranch football will hit the road to take on McNair High School tonight at McNair. The Cougars (2-4 and 0-3 in SJAA) will look to snap a three-game losing streak tonight against the Eagles and hope their victory will build momentum heading into the season’s final three games.

“Tonight’s game against the Eagles of McNair again places us against a very familiar team,” said head coach Ron Waymon. “It seems that every game this season has been a battle, and this one is no different.”

Wayman will need the Cougars to battle back again after a loss.

Weston Ranch lost to Stagg, 26-13, last Friday. Although they ran the ball effectively, they struggled to put points on the board. The Cougars had the football nine times and came away with only 13 points. Weston Ranch got TDs from De’antae Lavan (102 yards rushing) and Joshua Mellion, but Stagg’s defense intercepted the Cougars QBs twice, forced one fumble, one punt, and two turnovers on downs.

Interceptions and fumbles have plagued Weston Ranch the past three weeks, and the Cougars will make a change at QB tonight, hoping it will jumpstart an offense that began the year positively and one that could put up points in a hurry. So, Weston Ranch will turn to SR. Christopher Buttram to take over for Sophomore Fernando Vargas to shake things up.

“Chris will take over the QB responsibilities as we wait for the return of Jose Aguilar next week against Chavez,” said Wayman. “Chris has really stepped up to the challenge and will do a great job tonight leading our offense.”

The Eagles may be just what the Cougars need to get back on track offensively. McNair, 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the SJAA, has given up 134 points in four SJAA games, and if the Cougars have been slow and sluggish the past few games, the Eagles’ defense might just be the remedy. However, McNair has a fierce passing attack (1018 total yards and 10 TDs) led by Freshman sensation Skyler Bell (617 yards and 2 TDs). In addition, the Eagles have struggled to run the football effectively (155 yards and 2 TDs), so if the Cougars, who play very good run defense, can stop Bell’s passing, tonight may be an excellent opportunity for Weston Ranch.

“They run a similar offense to ours, but they are more pass-heavy and operate more out of a trips formation than us,” Wayman said. “Our defensive backs will have to be ready for the challenge, and our defensive line will have to establish the pressure on their Freshman QB from the start of the game.”

Weston Ranch will need to get back to the things there were doing well during the season’s opening weeks. Lavan’s rushing has been the one thing the Cougars’ offense can rely on and has been their identity. However, the change at QB and simplifying a complex offense should help the Cougars get back to basics in the other parts of the offense that has struggled as of late.

“This week, we have been working on a very simple game plan for tonight,” Wayman said. “The plan is to establish our size and strength early in the game with our O-line and D-line. Defensively, we want to develop pressure on their QB to make mistakes and need Namir Brown-Sanger to lead our defensive backs corps to control and stop their passing game. We need to protect our QB so Chris can establish our game with the talent and speed we possess with the Lavan twins and our receivers. Finally, we need to eliminate the turnovers that plagued us in the last three games.”

With four games remaining, the Cougars need to post a win tonight to secure a shot at their first winning season since the 8-2 team of 2005. Although there have been two 5-5 seasons in the program’s history, this year’s team does have a reasonable shot at a winning record. However, to get on a winning streak, you need to win, and the Cougars are in a good position tonight. If they return to who they were before entering SJAA play, tonight could be the first of a string of victories.

The Cougars and Eagles will kick off at 7 pm. The JV will play at 5 pm.